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December 16, 2020



Today's Top Stories


United Asking Customers to Provide Contact Info to Assist Tracing

In a bid to help the CDC with contact tracing efforts, United Airlines will begin asking customers on all flights to voluntarily provide their contact information at check-in during the next few weeks. This includes e-mail addresses, phone numbers and the address where they will be staying; such info was not immediately accessible to the CDC in the past, making rapid contact tracing and follow-up more difficult. Delta Air Lines began asking international passengers arriving in the US for similar data this week.

Business Travel News | Related Delta launches industry’s first contact tracing for travelers returning to US – Delta Air Lines



UK Supreme Court Overturns Heathrow Expansion Denial

The legal battle for the right to build a third runway at Heathrow Airport reached a conclusion after the UK Supreme Court ruled in favor of the airport, overturning a previous decision by the UK Court of Appeal that found the $19 billion expansion plan to be incompatible with the government’s climate change commitments. Before the pandemic, Heathrow was operating at full capacity. The new runway would allow 700 additional planes to land at the airport each day, which a Heathrow spokesperson said would allow “Britain as a sovereign nation to compete for trade and win against our rivals in France and Germany.”

Politico | Related UK’s top court gives go-ahead to Heathrow expansion – Aljazeera



Testing Is Key to Revitalizing Air Travel, says Aviation Panel

Airlines and airports are striving to get to a point where passengers and crew are no longer anxious about the risk of contracting COVID-19 during travel. Testing is the catalyst that will facilitate that objective by screening out contagious passengers, according to a panel at FTE APEX Virtual Expo featuring representatives from Cathay Pacific, Cebu Pacific, Hamad International Airport and Volocopter. This article originally appeared in Expo Daily Experience. Read the full issues and register for FTE APEX Virtual Expo — the platform will remain open as a resource until January 8.

APEX Media | Related Cebu Pacific supports Philippine government contact tracing effort – Cebu Pacific Air



PIT Prepares COVID-19 Testing Clinic

Starting Monday, arriving and departing travelers at Pittsburgh International Airport (PIT) can opt to be tested for COVID-19 on-site. The airport partnered with TACKL Health to set up a testing center in the central Airside Terminal that has capacity to administer up to 500 tests per day. PCR tests, which cost $125, and rapid antigen tests costing $95, will both be offered daily by appointment, and walk-in visitors will be accepted as well. “We want travelers to know that public health, safety and security are always our top priorities,” said April Gasparri, SVP Public Safety, Operations and Maintenance.

Globe Newswire | Related These US and International Airports Have COVID-19 Testing Facilities – Afar



Suggested Viewing from FTE APEX Virtual Expo’s OnDemand Speaker Zone

With the FTE APEX Virtual Expo platform remaining open until January 8, attendees can still engage with a range of panels, interviews and presentations available via the event’s OnDemand Speaker Zone. Must-watch items chosen by APEX Media include YVR’s session on innovating during COVID-19, about the creation of its automated border control kiosk, BorderXpress; SimpliFlying CEO Shashank Nigam’s guide to creating an “antifragile brand”; and CAPA’s outline of the state of the aircraft Interiors and IFC markets, to name just a few. This article originally appeared in Expo Daily Experience. Read the full issues and register for FTE APEX Virtual Expo.

APEX Media | Related OnDemand Speaker Zone Agenda



Aeroplan Adds New Earning and Spending Options

Air Canada recently revamped the Aeroplan loyalty program. Major updates include removing fuel surcharges on award flights and changing the number of points required for certain routes. Now travelers have the option to use their points to buy in-flight Wi-Fi passes. Furthermore, US residents will be able to collect Aeroplan points thanks to an exclusive partnership between Air Canada and Chase. In 2021, the bank will issue an Air Canada credit card on which users can convert Chase Ultimate Rewards points to Aeroplan points.  

Paxex.Aero | Related You'll be able to transfer Chase points to Air Canada in 2021 – Business Insider



Bucher Group Wins Ninth Airbus Customer Support Award

Aircraft interior solutions company Bucher Group was honored at the Airbus Customer Support Awards, winning the Excellent Customer Support prize in recognition of its high standing among global airline customers. This marks the organization’s ninth win. In a statement, Bucher CEO Beat Burlet highlighted the company’s “outstanding” management team and said, “as a niche player, our agility and proximity to our customers enables us to maintain our customer focus year after year.”

Aviation Pros | Related Winners announced for the Decade of Airline Excellence Awards – Flight Global





Two Airbus A330s sitting pretty. Captured at Ciudad Real International Airport by @bdpspotter (via Instagram).

Use #APEXPOTD for the chance to be featured in the APEX Daily Experience newsletter!

> Tweet of the Day

At Alaska, we love safety so much, our employees made a music video about it. Visit our blog to learn more about the #AlaskaSafetyDance and find out how to safely get back out there in spring and summer 2021. 🕺🌴 Book now. Mask up. Let’s go.

Alaska Airlines @AlaskaAir


Association News

In Case You Missed It: APEX Releases Official Airline Ratings

During FTE APEX Virtual Expo, airlines from around the world were honored with four-and five-star APEX Official Airline Ratings for their commitment to elevating the passenger experience. Ratings are based on survey results by TripIt from Concur, which APEX then verifies, validates, and independently certifies. "Our 2021 recognized airlines demonstrate exemplary dedication and innovation to advancing the passenger experience even in these unprecedented COVID-19 times,” said APEX CEO Dr. Joe Leader. View the list here.


> Quote of the Day

"During the recovery ... carriers able to offer an in-the-air experience that resembles the one on-the-ground will be at a significant advantage."

Philip Balaam, Inmarsat Aviation
Read the article


Until tomorrow



The Airline Passenger Experience Association (APEX) encompasses a network of airlines, businesses and professionals that are committed to providing a world-class airline experience for passengers around the globe. Every day, APEX members are improving every aspect of the airline experience, from designing, building and installing seating, entertainment and communications systems on commercial aircraft, to airport lounges and in-flight dining. Visit apex.aero for more information. APEX is professionally managed by Kellen Company, the premier global association management firm with offices and representation in the United States, Europe, China, the Middle East, India and Southeast Asia.


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