This week, C-suite executives from Delta Air Lines, Spirit Airlines, Xiamen Airlines, JetBlue, Flybe, LATAM Brasil, Virgin Atlantic, JSX, and Star Alliance headlined APEX EXPO, the most comprehensive and exclusive passenger experience marketplace and thought leadership conference for the airline industry. Co-located in Los Angeles 9-12 September with IFSA (International Flight Services Association) EXPO and AIX (Aircraft Interiors Expo) Americas, this four-day premier event saw more than 5,000 industry decision-makers from over 125 global airlines.
Celebrating 40 years of APEX EXPO, this year’s C-Suite keynotes, emceed by BBC World News’ Aaron Heslehurst, set the industry’s priorities for the next decade in regard to the complete end-to-end passenger experience:
Delta Air Lines CEO Ed Bastian discussed how Delta has made sustainability a core value, with each of their aircraft reducing their fuel footprint by 25% while enhancing customer experience.
JetBlue President & COO Joanna Geraghty shared the airline’s commitment and focus to elevating travel-related stress with biometric solutions for the entire traveling public.
Spirit Airlines CEO & President Ted Christie unveiled two new seating products: updated Big Front Seats with a 2-2 configuration and feature an ergonomically designed headrest, memory foam, and new economy seats that will provide an additional two inches of passenger knee space within the existing space. In addition, Spirit’s new middle seat will benefit from an extra inch of width compared to window and aisle seats.
Virgin Atlantic CEO Shai Weiss announced their new fleet of Airbus A350s taking flight this week proudly with the 2020 APEX Five Star Global Airline rating at the entryway of the aircraft in addition to their focus on special touches that are reflected in their customer satisfaction.
JSX (formally JetSuiteX) CEO Alex Wilcox proudly shared that JSX is the fastest growing airline in North America, flying 2,400 flights per month compared to 1,000 flights per month just a year ago. In addition, he committed to over 4,000 flights per month by APEX EXPO 2020.
Star Alliance CEO Jeffrey Goh focused on the potential of passenger biometric data interchange between its airlines using single token biometrics. In addition, he shared that Star Alliance is working to interchange frequent flyer information more seamlessly for a more rewarding travel experience.
Xiamen Airlines Chairman Zhao Dong highlighted his airline’s leadership in advancing United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to drive the long-term positive development of the aviation industry. Following the Chairman’s keynote it was announced that Etihad Airways, Ethiopian Airlines, Aeroméxico, LATAM, and Virgin Atlantic would be the next to collaborate with the UN on the SDGs.
In addition to keynoting APEX EXPO, the CEOs convened for the APEX/IFSA Board of Governors, chaired by Delta Air Lines CEO Ed Bastian. This exclusive group of airline executives unanimously identified sustainability and biometrics as priorities for the industry.
As part of the 40th Anniversary activities, APEX was proud to host its first-ever APEX EXPO Women Leaders in Aviation Networking Lunch, with LATAM Brasil CEO Emeritus Claudia Sender, Oman Air SVP Guest Experience and Branding Xia Cai, Viasat Senior Vice President and CFO Shawn Duffy, JetBlue Airways Director Product Development Mariya Stoyanova, Etihad Airways Vice President Guest Services and Delivery Linda Celestino, APEX Executive Director Katie Geraghty Goshgarian. In what was once a strongly male-dominated industry, these groundbreaking female executives discussed how they are shaping aviation through technology and innovation and leadership.
Attendees of APEX EXPO also took part in world-class thought leadership seminars that covered topics such as connectivity, cloud services, biometrics, content, personalization, in-flight entertainment, and artificial intelligence. APEX EXPO was also happy to host chief executives from Air Tahiti Nui, Kuwait Airways, and Air Italy.
“APEX is honored to have served a record number of our global airlines and key suppliers across APEX EXPO, IFSA EXPO, and AIX Expo Americas,” APEX CEO Dr. Joe Leader stated. “APEX takes its role in accelerating the airline industry and advancing passenger experience for the next decade ahead as our central mission driving the end-to-end future travel experience.”
APEX also celebrated the top airlines and vendors who, over the last year, have elevated the passenger experience at the inaugural APEX/IFSA Awards Ceremony. The Points Guy CEO and Founder Brian Kelly proudly hosted the event for his third year in a row. The industry’s best-of-the-best received awards in the following categories:
APEX/IFSA Awards: Airline and vendors who have successfully implemented new programs and services this year were honored. Click here for the 2020 winners.
The Official Airline Ratings™: Four- and Five-star airlines were recognized as part of the only airline rating program based solely on verified, validated, and certified passenger feedback. Click here for the 2020 Four and Five Star airlines.
Passenger Choice Awards: Airlines who provide excellence in seat comfort, cabin service, food and beverage, entertainment, and Wi-Fi. Click here for the 2020 recipients.
APEX also honored Brinder Bhatia, a leader from Panasonic Avionics who worked tirelessly to push the in-flight entertainment and connectivity (IFEC) technology industry forward in building both custom and customizable systems that made IFEC central to the passenger experience for virtually every airline.
In addition to its annual global EXPO, APEX hosts multiple industry gatherings around the world. Click here for a list of all upcoming events. For more information about APEX, please visit apex.aero, sign up for the APEX Daily Experience e-newsletter, or follow APEX on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
About The Airline Passenger Experience Association (APEX)
APEX encompasses a network of businesses and professionals that are committed to providing a world-class airline experience for passengers around the globe. As a non-profit, APEX reinvests all of its resources to better serve its members. Every day, APEX members evaluate the passenger experience through an influential community and 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. APEX works to strengthen the industry and enable business opportunities through education, innovation, networking and recognition. For more information, please visit apex.aero.