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December 16, 2021



Today's Top Stories


Qantas to Switch Domestic Fleet From Boeing to Airbus

Qantas has announced it will replace its domestic fleet of Boeing 737-800s and Boeing 717s with aircraft from the Airbus A320neo and A220 families. The carrier has signed an in-principle agreement for up to 134 orders and purchase rights over a span of 10+ years, with deliveries set to begin in 2024. “A firm commitment for 40 aircraft – 20 A321XLR and 20 A220 aircraft – is expected to be placed with Airbus by the end of FY22,” Qantas said.  




KLM Orders Up to 160 Airbus A320neo Family Aircraft

The Air France-KLM Group has ordered 100 A320neo family aircraft and has options for 60 more. From late 2023, the A320neos and A321neos will begin replacing Boeing 737NG aircraft used by KLM, Transavia Netherlands and Transavia France on European routes. KLM’s CEO, Pieter Elbers, commented, This fleet renewal is an important new step for KLM in achieving our objectives in terms of sustainability, customer experience, comfort and efficiency.”

KLM | Related Air France KLM redeems 500 mln euros worth of debts and may raise new equity – Reuters



Inmarsat Orchestra Activates New LEO Satellite

Inmarsat Orchestra has successfully activated its low-Earth orbit (LEO) satellite payload. The payload is reprogrammable, which will allow Inmarsat to test concepts for LEO-to-ground and LEO-to-geosynchronous orbit (GEO) communications over the coming months. ORCHESTRA’s global network will integrate GEO satellites, highly elliptical orbit (HEO) satellites and a terrestrial 5G network, creating a global multi-dimensional, dynamic mesh network.   

Inmarsat | Related Inmarsat Aviation, GDC Receive FAA STC for Falcon 300 Terminal on Boeing 737s – APEX Media



United Grounds Nearly 100 Regional Aircraft Due to Pilot Shortage

In a Senate hearing, United Airlines’ CEO Scott Kirby shared that its regional partners have grounded nearly 100 regional aircraft due to a pilot shortage. The carrier decided to end regional service to 11 cities earlier this fall for the same reason. As a long-term solution, Kirby proposed redirecting Essential Air Service funding to pilot training to ease individual training costs for prospective pilots, whose fees often amount to upwards of $100,000 before they’re ready to work for airlines.

The Points Guy | Related [LISTEN] How Scott Kirby Ensures Staff Take Pride in United Airlines – APEX Media



IAG Scraps Plan to Buy Air Europa

International Airlines Group (IAG) has announced the termination of its acquisition of Spanish carrier Air Europa. Plans to purchase the group for $1.13bn were hatched in 2019 and renegotiated to half the price due to COVID-19. Competition authorities were assessing whether the merger would reduce competition in the British and Spanish air travel markets, since IAG already owns Spanish flag carrier Iberia and low-cost carrier Vueling. IAG is expected to pay around $53m to exit the deal.

The Guardian | Related BA and Qatar Airways to expand joint business – BTN Europe



CLEAR and Uber Partner on App Integration

Uber has announced a partnership with CLEAR that will see its ride platform integrated directly into the CLEAR app’s “Home to Gate” feature. The app tracks traffic data, security screening wait times and walking distances in airport terminals to tell users the best time to leave their homes, and will now include Uber ride reservations to improve the experience. Home to Gate adds to CLEAR’S existing offerings, including expedited airport lanes, biometric boarding and lounge access, and a Health Pass.

PR Newswire | Related CLEAR Brings Expedited Security Screening to Columbus Amid Spike in Holiday Travel – PR Newswire



HMSHost Uses AI to Cut Food Queues at Eight Airports

HMSHost is installing 60 AI-powered Mashgin Touchless Self-Checkout Systems in food and beverage outlets across eight US airports to eliminate queues. The systems are 100% touchless, using cameras and artificial intelligence (AI) to ring up food items placed on the Mashgin kiosk tray. Transactions are completed using a credit or debit card or mobile pay. It removes the need to scan barcodes and is 400% faster than traditional point-of-sale systems,” said HMSHost’s VP Digital, Neil Thompson.    

Moodie Davitt Report | Related HMSHost International opens first outlets at Manchester Airport’s ‘super terminal’ – Moodie Davitt Report





A Qatar Airways Boeing 777 reflecting the sunlight. Captured by @kolnamrhein

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

> Tweet of the Day

Say hello to the newest member of the family! Our 123rd A380, the final to be delivered by @Airbus , is on the way to its new home in Dubai. https://emirat.es/jrfezh

Emirates Airline @emirates


Association News

APEX/IFSA Board of Governors Unanimously Support Four New 2021-2022 Initiatives

The APEX/IFSA Board of Governors meeting recently took place onstage for the first time at the 2021 APEX/IFSA EXPO event, with CEOs joining both in-person and virtually. During the meeting, the board voted to prioritize four initiatives over the next year. These included vaccinating their workforce to the fullest extent possible as long as COVID-19 remains a threat to global air travel and sharing ‎disruptive passenger data lists with one another in accordance with the law. Find out more.


> Quote of the Day

“Carriers can now use excess capacity to carry cargo for as long as they need without the multi-million-dollar investments and long lead times required to convert passenger aircraft into traditional freighter aircraft.”

George Smallhorn, Inflight Canada
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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