FTE APEX Virtual Expo Daily Experience – December 1, 2020

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Expo Daily Experience

LET’S GET DIGITAL Your preview of FTE APEX Virtual Expo

On Volocopter’s Flight Path

Leader in the Air: Ed Bastian

Exhibitor Answers to Pandemic Problems

Read more on page 19

Read more on page 21

Read more on page 27




GX+ North America Inmarsat and Hughes bring you unrivalled inflight Wi-Fi When it comes to onboard connectivity, you no longer need to compromise. With GX+ North America, you can offer your customers superior broadband with greater speed, reliability, availability and capacity over North America than anyone else. Plus excellent global coverage. So, they get better Wi-Fi, richer inflight experiences and every reason to fly with you again.

Find out more


It is in the most challenging moments where we demonstrate our greatest resolve. The first-ever FTE APEX Virtual Expo, which includes the IFSA Onboard Hospitality Virtual Expo, is a testament to the aviation industry’s undefeatable determination. Across APEX and IFSA’s almost 100-year combined history, we have never before seen such incredible attendance for a single event. As I write this, a few days before the event goes live, we have over 170 airlines, 159 airports, hundreds of valued suppliers and thousands upon thousands of registered attendees. These companies and individuals are unified in their intent to make the coming year one of rejuvenation and reinvention for our industry. Virtual Expo will include 48 hours of inspirational and insightful content from leaders illuminating the path forward with the unifying theme of “Transforming Air Transport Post-COVID-19.” Our team members around the world have worked tirelessly to recreate a virtual expo that mirrors as closely as possible the in-person event we have so craved. I encourage you to not only savor every moment but also to discover what you may have missed by catching up with the lectures, sessions, expo highlights and insights that will live on for 30 days after the event wraps on December 9. Most importantly, I hope that the inspiration you find at Virtual Expo propels each and every one of you into an incredible restart for the decade ahead.

The APEX Media team is excited to bring you a digital reimagining of Expo Daily Experience, the print magazine APEX EXPO attendees know so well. As you go through the FTE APEX Virtual Expo, we’ll be there as always to provide top trend insights, thought leadership, breaking exhibitor news and session coverage. For the first time ever, we are releasing a preview edition (the one you’re reading now) to help you prepare for the event. We’ll recap all the key moments of the first ‘live day’ with our second issue on December 8 and wrap things up on December 10, where we’ll capture and reflect on everything that happened on Day 2. All three issues will be available within the event environment for 30 days. Find them at the Press Stand or Info Desk, as well as on the APEX website. Come chat with the APEX Media team at the Press Stand during Expo or send us an e-mail between now and December 9 with any event-related news. As a final note, we also want to extend a special welcome to readers from IFSA and Onboard Hospitality, which is part of Virtual Expo’s expanded ecosystem. We hope you will find the digital Expo Daily Experience insightful and a useful resource before, during and after the event. Happy reading!

Sincere best, Sincerely,

Dr. Joe Leader

Maryann Simson





Expo Daily Experience



Virtual Reality

Register for FTE APEX Virtual Expo today!

Your Cheat Sheet to FTE APEX Virtual Expo

By the Numbers:



Transforming Air Transport Post-COVID-19


Virtual Events

FTE APEX Virtual Expo and IFSA Onboard Hospitality Virtual Expo

Entrance Lobby A virtual representation of the real thing! Like at an in-person event, the lobby is your gateway to FTE APEX Virtual Expo. You can access the different zones by clicking on the appropriate signage. 1


Information Desk

Magazine Rack

Have a question about the virtual experience? Just ask. You can click on the info desk in the middle of the virtual lobby and type it in the chat box.

Need something to read between conference sessions? The magazine rack is located right next to the info desk. Here you’ll find the APEX Expo Daily Experience magazine. You can also access the three issues on APEX’s website as they’re published on December 1, 8 and 10.



Asia-Pacific, EMEA, Americas



Session Tracks

Digital and Innovation Airport Commercial Ancillary & Retail Innovation Inflight


Expo Daily Experience



Auditorium Check out live conference sessions, keynotes and case studies by some of the industry’s best and brightest.


Exhibition Hall Log on and search for exhibitors by name. You can also browse for products and services that pique your interest using the linked index or by scrolling through the custom stands. Just click on the stand to check in with the exhibitor.

There is programming throughout the day to ensure attendees in all segments have access to dedicated content. Watching from New York and missed a great session in the Asia-Pacific segment? You can access all content for 30 days once the event wraps up.

3 Exhibitor’s Stand Where attendees can find all the need-to-know information about an exhibitor including links to external websites, supporting documents and other resources. Attendees looking to learn more simply need to click on the chat buttons or video call to speak with a company representative.

OnDemand Speaker Zone Hours upon hours of pre-recorded in-depth presentations on a wide-range of topics available to you whenever you want.

*Accessible to premium pass holders only.

Networking Head to the networking lounge to liaise with other industry members throughout the event. There is also one scheduled virtual networking session per segment per day. Just like with an onsite event, you’ll meet old friends “face-to-face” and discover new ones. *Accessible to premium pass holders only.

*Accessible to premium pass holders only.

Expo Daily Experience



On the Record In advance of FTE APEX Virtual Expo, leaders from six of the event’s sponsors/exhibitors sat down with APEX Media for a series of video interviews to discuss the future of air travel and digital evolution in the wake of COVID-19. Here’s what they had to say:

We’re Getting Engaged! Engagement and ancillary are one thing, says Thierry Carmes, COO of Display Interactive, a provider of IFE software solutions. “But there is another key component here, which is the portal interface itself. If that’s not appealing to your passengers, if it’s not enticing them, if there is no call to action, then there is no click, and no engagement.” Throughout 2020, Display fine-tuned its engagement platform to drive more clicks and deeper exploration, which leads to stronger brand experiences and greater revenue opportunities. Carmes, who is confident the industry is in recovery, said that by being flexible and cutting variable costs wherever possible, the company was able to support its customers on that path. Watch Thierry Carmes’ full video interview.

A Vertical Horizon Having entered into an agreement to buy in-flight connectivity provider Gogo’s commercial aviation business this summer, satellite operator Intelsat is focusing on a vertical future, says Frederik van Essen, the company’s vice-president, Aero. “The industry has [historically] been hampered by a business model [that includes] many parties from the satellite operators all the way to the customer. This hasn’t helped in getting to the best economics for the industry. [It’s] also made it more complicated to actually improve products and design them for the future.” Intelsat’s integration model will help to remove barriers between airlines and achieve “the Holy Grail” of free Wi-Fi for all, he tells APEX. Watch Frederik van Essen’s full video interview


Expo Daily Experience


Jack of All Trades For the past 20 years, IFPL has been making some of the most reliable passenger interface solutions on the market. CEO Geoff Underwood shares how the company’s portfolio of in-seat power solutions can help airlines recover from the pandemic by paving the way to a touchless experience (via Bluetooth capabilities) and by generating ancillary revenue. “We’ve developed a device called the AdPower, which is a USB module that allows an airline to run advertising through the unit. Whenever a passenger plugs in their mobile device to charge it up, it automatically launches a webpage or an advert,” Underwood says. Watch Geoff Underwood’s full video interview

We’ve Got Your Back (Office) Jan-Peter Gaense, head of Group and Passenger Experience Solutions at Lufthansa Systems, shares how the company is trimming the IFE content supply chain down from 90 days to just a few hours thanks to state-of-the-art cloud-based technology and partnerships with CastLabs and Touch Inflight Solutions. He also talks about touchless in-flight retail and Lufthansa Systems’ broader focus on flight operations. “It doesn’t really matter if you have ten flights or 100 flights per day, you still need to have a tool that works reliably. The way we produce our systems, we are still able to ensure that all of our customers are getting the same level of service today as they did before the crisis,” Gaense says. Watch Jan-Peter Gaense’s full video interview

The Right Touch Joe Carreira, founder and CEO of Touch Inflight Solutions, and André Valera, director of Business Development, talk content delivery disruption, new content licensing business models and how to keep passengers positively engaged. They also delve into the company’s new Touch Media Centre, an online portal designed to provide airlines and other customers an “e-commerce-like” experience that simplifies content discovery, curation and ordering for in-flight entertainment (IFE) managers. “From an advertiser’s perspective, we’re looking at developing content solutions that are not only in tune with what the passenger or the brand want but also how the airline positions itself in the marketplace,” Carreira says. Watch Joe Carreira’s and André Valera’s full video interview

It’s a Sprint COVID-19 has accelerated the rate of change in the airline industry and Spafax is embracing it, say CEO Niall McBain; Henry Gummer, senior vice-president, Global Content; and Paul Colley, senior vice-president, Technology. The content company shares some insight into the key areas of its digital transformation, including the creation of The Hive, a centralized content library, and the introduction of Sprint, a cloud-based video-processing pipeline at The Hub, the company’s technical facility. Sprint is “a blend of off-the-shelf technology and custom development that enables us to deliver more content in a shorter period of time and have better quality control while keeping costs down,” Colley explains. Watch Niall McBain’s, Henry Gummer’s and Paul Colley’s full video interview

Expo Daily Experience


Bluebox Wireless Solutions Engage. Entertain. Earn.

Bluebox helps move your on-board services into your passengers’ hands – safely, digitally, wirelessly.

Phones, tablets and laptops are invaluable tools for engaging with passengers on board, especially now. Bluebox offers cost-effective wireless solutions for maintaining key elements of your on-board services – informing passengers of safety measures, entertaining them with in-flight magazines and other media, and facilitating on-board retail – delivering these via passengers’ devices. Virtual Seat Pocket delivers your safety information, magazines and menus digitally.

Virtual Trolley enables touch-free retail, allowing passengers to browse items, order, and pay directly from their own device, minimizing interactions with cabin crew. With over a decade delivering award-winning innovation to airlines around the world, Bluebox’s wireless platforms can help you offer on-board services safely. Want to engage, entertain and earn revenue via your passengers’ devices? Contact Bluebox.

Bluebox Wireless Solutions / info@blueboxaviation.com / www.blueboxaviation.com


Share Your Intel Intelsat made headlines earlier this year when news broke that the in-flight connectivity (IFC) provider is purchasing Gogo’s commercial aviation business. The deal is set to be completed during the first quarter of 2021. As Intelsat expands its influence in the IFC sector, the company is looking for feedback from stakeholders in the aviation industry on how the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting trends in passenger demand and airline IFC requirements. Here are some early results:


believe that the quality of in-flight connectivity” is a differentiating factor for their airline.


think that as IFC capital and operational expenditures remain a top concern for airlines, sponsored services (ex: Alibaba, Amazon, Apple, etc.) should be used to offset the cost of IFC.

Passengers’ top concerns with IFC are The largest impediments to increasing IFC take up rates are: Wi-Fi session price Poor experience Ease of getting connected / lack of automatic authentication


shared that lack of available bandwidth is their main concern with IFC moving forward.



believe that reliable Wi-Fi has the greatest impact on their brand’s Net Promoter Score (NPS).

Three IFC innovations respondents would like to see moving forward: 1. Automatic sign-on 2. Cost efficiency 3. Faster speeds

Virtual Expo Connection

The full results will be revealed at FTE APEX Virtual Expo during the panel: “What is the business case for in-flight connectivity advancement post-COVID-19?”

? How has the pandemic affected IFC trends? Fill out Intelsat’s survey by Dec. 8 and you could win one of five $50 Amazon gift cards.

Dec. 8, 1:30 p.m. GMT Expo Daily Experience



Contemporary Retrofit Boeing is adding something new to its suite of aircraft modification solutions: A wireless IFE and digital services platform with plenty of tricks up its sleeve. by JUSTIN MULFATI

Boeing’s maintenance and engineering staff are adept at carrying out interiors and performance upgrades on the company’s more than 10,000 commercial jets in service. Now the airframer is offering a wireless in-flight entertainment (IFE) solution that non-Boeing operators can access as well. Boeing Digital Direct can deliver IFE to passengers in the form of video, reading material and games, regardless of the aircraft. It also includes a COVID-19 channel where airlines can share safety guidelines and updates. In-flight retail integration for in-seat food and beverage ordering, destination experience sales, sponsorships and targeted advertising are all possible, along with analytics, a remote management system and 24/7 support. Passengers are not required to download an app to access Boeing Digital Direct offerings: All content is stored on a server and distributed via wireless access points throughout the cabin. Boeing Global Services installs the hardware in the overhead bin

as a retrofit. It is powered by the aircraft, making it a suitable option for those interested in moving away from rechargeable batteries. It comes with a cellular modem, but airlines with existing in-flight wireless network infrastructure can request a digital-only version of the product. Boeing spokesperson Brian Rantala says the solution came about because the company was interested in improving the passenger journey and addressing IFEC pain points. In February, it invested in in-flight digital services and entertainment provider Immfly via its HorizonX venture arm and the companies became partners. “Boeing Digital Direct is uniquely built upon Immfly’s digital creativity, media sales and advertising strength, bringing true ancillary revenue generation to our customers,” Rantala says. He notes that Boeing is in talks with several potential airline customers.

Virtual Expo Connection

Check out a demo of Boeing Digital Direct at the Boeing stand in the Exhibition Hall.


Seamlessly innovative and boldly green. KID-Systeme is a market-leading supplier of electronic cabin systems for passenger and corporate aircraft, based in Germany. With their mindset geared towards innovations in technology, sustainability and customer experience, KID counts the most renowned airlines worldwide as their valued customers. Our product range encompasses customizable in-seat power solutions, cabin and cargo safety features, as well as an open hosting platform for applications and entertainment. www.kid-systeme.com

We’re all ears. Industry feedback is critical to the advancement of our Inflight Connectivity community. Take this brief survey and tell us how you really feel. To say thanks, we’ll enter you to win an Amazon gift card. Be sure to stay tuned as we compile results and share them with you.

Take the survey at www.intelsat.com/fte-survey

intelsat.com linkedin.com/company/Intelsat twitter.com/Intelsat facebook.com/Intelsat youtube.com/user/IntelsatMedia


The Hands-Off Passenger Journey As airlines and airports work to ensure customer and employee safety amidst the coronavirus pandemic, they’re finding new ways to stay connected to customers by removing the touch from touchpoints. by MARISA GARCÍA

Apps Get it Right From the Start Airlines have been promoting their digital platforms for years as a way to book travel, pay for ancillary services and obtain paperless boarding passes. With COVID-19, they’re expanding these digital interfaces to inform customers about pandemic-related travel restrictions and new travel requirements in real time. Innovations like the SITA Flex cloud service help travelers and airport staff interact with airport touchpoints using their smartphones to print bag tags and check in luggage. Airlines and airports are also adding new biometric identification features and trialing digital health passports that will allow passengers to document their COVID-19 status electronically as they travel across borders.

A New Cabin Experience Airplanes were designed to create a sense of place and to offer travelers comfort, entertainment and safety through elements like seatback screens, in-flight magazines, amenities and meals. In other words, in the cabin, almost everything is high-touch. Airports Go Touchless Everywhere In response to COVID-19, airlines and their suppliers are While digital check-in and baggage drop-off kiosks and electronic accelerating new features that have been in the pipeline like boarding passes were once optional, they’re now becoming touchless faucets, soap dispensers and flush mandatory at airports. Along with biometric controls; antimicrobial surfaces and textiles; identification, these tools allow passengers to clear UV lighting for disinfection; personal devicesecurity and board their flight while minimizing driven digital entertainment solutions; and document exchange. Other innovations meant to specially packaged meals. Amenity kits have been minimize contact include app-based ordering at upgraded for COVID-19 with airlines including airport restaurants and contactless elevator buttons at Delta, Emirates, Etihad, Malaysia and Singapore Abu Dhabi International Airport, which are activated offering items like antiseptic wipes, hand gel with a wave of a hand. To maintain a close connection and face masks. ANA was inspired by touchless with travelers, even customer surveys have gone door innovations at Haneda Airport to trial an touchless. The Gestures touchless customer feedback elbow-powered doorknob for aircraft lavatories, solutions system, developed by Avius, allows travelers Use your elbow: a touchdeveloped in collaboration with JAMCO. We’ll to rate their experience with a simple “thumbs up or lite way from JAMCO have to wait and see if that flies, but it’s a clever thumbs down” in front of a kiosk at Atlanta Hartsfieldto open an aircraft’s lavatory door. hands-off solution. Jackson International Airport.

Virtual Expo Connection Digital Transformation in Air Travel, a keynote with Mark Sargent, Worldwide Industry Transportation Lead, Apple

Adapting the ‘Smart Airport’ vision in order to thrive in the post-pandemic world Dec. 8, 5:00 a.m. GMT

Dec. 8, 3:30 a.m. GMT

What are the onboard innovations resulting from COVID-19, and changing passenger priorities, that will stand the test of time? Dec. 8, 10:30 a.m. GMT

Expo Daily Experience




WHAT LIES AHEAD ON THE RUNWAY TO RECOVERY? THE AIRLINE INDUSTRY’S BIGGEST NAMES INTERVIEWED BY BBC WORLD NEWS’ WELL-KNOWN FACES. Join presenters Zeinab Badawi and Aaron Heslehurst as they interview airline CEOs during the FTE APEX Virtual Expo. Zeinab will be moderating the opening keynote on Wednesday December 9th at 05:30 GMT, while Aaron will be conducting one on one interviews with several CEOs. For more information about BBC World News, visit our Expo stand or contact outofhome.sales@bbc.com

PG1879 BBC APEX Daily Airline Advert D3.indd 1

19/11/2020 21:46

5x50’ For more details on BBC Studios content email: outofhome.sales@bbc.com Please visit our booth at FTE Apex Virtual 8-9th Dec 2020.

Silverback Fims for BBC One


In Focus: Star Alliance’s Biometrics Platform Enhances Airline and Airport COVID-19 Safety Collaboration by MARISA GARCÍA

Touchless identification is being put to the test at Munich and Frankfurt airports as Lufthansa Group rolls out the Star Alliance biometrics platform to Lufthansa and SWISS Miles & More members. The free opt-in program allows passengers departing from either hub to pass through both security access and boarding gates without removing their masks. Technology, and in particular mobile technology, is at the center of a safer passenger journey amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. To enroll in Star Alliance Biometrics, eligible customers simply take a selfie through the Lufthansa app. The platform’s facial recognition technology then matches the customer’s live image to the boarding pass information and biometric profile on record, even if passengers are wearing a mask. Identity match at airport gates is facilitated by the NEC I:Delight software on dedicated kiosks and personal biometric information is fully encrypted and stored

on the cloud in compliance with EU privacy laws. The kiosks themselves do not store any image data and only serve to process the live identity match. “Biometrics will become increasingly important to the future of travel. Especially during the pandemic, these touchless processes are a big plus,” says Christina Foerster, an executive board member at Lufthansa Group. Passengers can use their biometric identity to travel at any participating airport and with any Star Alliance member airline where the program is in place. They can also opt out and delete their stored biometric identity at any time. “Optimizing travel processes for passengers is our top priority at Frankfurt Airport, and biometric processes offer our customers numerous advantages in terms of comfort, security and reduced waiting time,” adds Pierre Dominique Prümm, who sits on the board at Fraport AG, which operates Frankfurt Airport. Lufthansa Group is the first Star Alliance member to use the biometric platform. The program is first being rolled out at Terminal 1 in Frankfurt, but the airport has plans to extend it to other passenger processing zones, including baggage drop-off, in the near future.

Lufthansa and SWISS Miles & More Members passing through Frankfurt Airport can enroll in the Star Alliance Biometrics program. Expo Daily Experience



Unlocking New Digital Advantages In a recent survey of almost 10,000 respondents conducted during the COVID-19 pandemic, satellite and connectivity operator Inmarsat revealed how people feel about the future of flying. President of Inmarsat Aviation Philip Balaam delves into some of the findings and shares how digitalization is at the heart of aviation recovery. By JASMIN LEGATOS

Your recent Passenger Confidence Tracker study reveals that air travel passengers are most concerned, for instance, when visiting the toilet or when they are in close proximity to others. How does digitalization address these concerns? The findings suggest that passengers feel most comfortable when they are able to maintain social distance. Staggered queuing at security, passport control and when boarding the plane has helped passengers feel more confident when moving around the airport. But those surveyed made it clear that they’d welcome other measures like contactless catering and payment, as well as realtime reallocation of empty seats and news and destination status alerts once on board. That’s where digital innovation comes in: helping passengers stay connected, informed and distracted, while enabling them to minimize contacts and reduce touchpoints. There are obvious interventions around health monitoring and telemedicine, but a lot of this seems to be about renormalizing the experience–transferring traditional services to digital, with the passenger’s mobile device acting as a remote control for their journey.

During recovery, as the battle for market share intensifies, digital services will become a critical brand differentiator. Carriers able to offer an in-the-air experience that resembles the one on-theground will be at a significant advantage.

How has COVID-19 changed passenger expectations around connectivity? The pandemic has changed the way we work, shop, entertain ourselves and connect with friends and family. New expectations on the ground will create new demands in the air. In our survey, 40 percent of global passengers said in-flight Wi-Fi is now more important to their flying experience than ever before. In Europe, we’re seeing take up rates for our EAN service that are three times higher than before the crisis. 16

Expo Daily Experience

On the Roadmap Inmarsat is pursuing innovation on four fronts, Balaam says: Its networks, services, terminal technology and capabilities. The company has recently entered into a strategic collaboration with Hughes Network Systems to bring unrivalled capacity to North America via its new GX+ North America service. It has also announced a new marketleading flat-panel antenna and terminal solution for GX, developed with GDC Technics, as well as its its latest GX satellite (GX-5), designed chiefly to support airline customers, which enters commercial service over Europe and the Middle East imminently.

And how will digitalization and connected technologies help the industry recover from COVID-19? A sustainable economic recovery for airlines will only be achieved through a combination of increased operational agility, improved operational efficiency, enhanced competitiveness and unlocking new incremental revenue streams – all of which depend heavily on a spectrum of connected technologies, on and off the plane. Realtime aircraft operations data will be vital in enabling more accurate analysis and better-informed decision-making. Live data, streamed to and from the aircraft, will help reduce fuel use, minimize nonperformance costs, enable effective aircraft health monitoring and facilitate cost-effective predictive maintenance programs. But connectivity also opens up opportunities to innovate and develop new revenue streams. Connected ancillaries – access fees, sponsorship, premium services, e-tail, affiliate sales and digital advertising – represent both the most significant, and the least-well exploited, opportunity. New in-flight digital media platforms will offer opportunities for premium personalized content, promotions and advertising. Airlines need to think like travel retailers and adopt a digital mindset.

What will attendees learn by tuning in to your panel at FTE APEX Virtual Expo? They’ll learn about how high-quality, reliable connectivity underpins digital transformation on the aircraft – and how we’re helping our partners to realize this ambition through the adoption of connected services. We’ll also share how we can help them monetize connected services more effectively, how we plan to invest in breakthrough technology and about our long-term roadmap.

Expo Daily Experience

Virtual Expo Connection

Philip Balaam speaks on the panel: “Digitalisation of the inflight experience as an accelerator for recovery”. Dec. 8, 5:30 p.m. GMT


Visit our virtual booth

Building your digital cabin now The BoardConnect Digital Experience Platform (DXP) Unlock the power of customer engagement and insight, and enhance the true customer experience with unlimited capabilities.

Lufthansa Systems GmbH & Co. KG | Marketing & Communications | Am Messeplatz 1 | 65479 Raunheim | info@LHsystems.com | www.LHsystems.com


Volocopter’s Flight Path Takes Shape With its electrically powered air taxi, the German company says it’s building an urban air mobility business that will bring affordable air taxi services to megacities around the world. by PAUL SILLERS

Volocopter is getting its electrically powered, zero-emission VoloCity air taxi ready for takeoff. The company has plans to test and eventually deploy flying taxi services in Paris, says Hon Lung Chu, head of Volocopter for Singapore and Southeast Asia. The initiative is partly motivated by the upcoming 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games – the VoloCity would be a complementary mode of travel during the event. It’s one reason Volocopter, after successfully performing a test flight over Singapore’s Marina Bay in 2019, is focusing on getting commercial certification for the VoloCity from the EASA (EU Aviation Safety Agency), Chu adds. If all goes to plan, the aim is to achieve certification by the end of 2022 or early 2023. In preparation, Volocopter set up a test site at the Pontoise airfield, 20 miles northwest of Paris. The successful commercial launch of the two-seater VoloCity, which is equipped with 18 propellers, can carry a 440-pound payload and is inaudible from a distance of around

400 feet, would bring the promise of urban air mobility one step closer. With its green credentials and low noise profile, Chu says Volocopter hopes the electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) vehicle will gain acceptance in cities. Currently the VoloCity can carry one passenger plus a pilot, but the company is looking at pivoting to a self-flying model three years after piloted launch, which would also give the public time to embrace the concept, Chu explains. This means the VoloCity would be able to carry two fare-paying passengers, improving on the unit economics, though it’s still too early to anticipate the likely cost to the consumer. He does however say that the company “expects it to be competitive with premium [ground-based] taxi prices.” Beyond the proposed deployments, Volocopter is looking at interfacing with airports. This presents challenges in terms of airspace integration and planning with the airport operators. “There’s a required distance of separation that’s really going to Expo Daily Experience

determine where the takeoff and landing pads are located,” Chu says. Volocopter is considering connecting the main air flight with the VoloCity journey by means of “trains or trolleys.” Longer-term, Volocopter has short crossborder flights in mind. This could mean flights from Singapore to Malaysia and to Indonesia. “Those are very busy checkpoints. [Our flights] would be significantly faster [than traditional air travel], and offer a better experience for the business traveler.” Immigration, customs and quarantine would be handled within the VoloPort, the company’s name for its vertiport. “The good news is that in Singapore the security agencies and immigration authorities are already looking into more humanless, touchless interfaces, so that the entire passenger process can all be mechanized using retina and fingerprint scanners,” Chu says. The pandemic has actually accelerated the adoption of these technologies, which means that a VoloPort could be managed with minimal staff. “Human intervention would only be required when there’s an error or the passport has an issue.”

Virtual Expo Connection

Hon Lung Chu discusses urban air mobility on the panel: “Reimagining the end-to-end guest experience to deliver a safe, seamless and touchless journey”. Dec. 8, 6:30 a.m. GMT 19

Wireless Charging Answering the call for contactless connections



E : innovate@ifpl.com


Ed Bastian: Leader in the Air Dignity, service and community inclusiveness are the values that the Delta CEO and 2020 APEX Lifetime Achievement Award recipient hold close to his heart. by JASMIN LEGATOS

Delta Air Lines CEO Ed Bastian isn’t one to toe the line; but then again, good leaders rarely do. As a young auditor at PricewaterhouseCoopers in New York, he uncovered a multimillion-dollar fraud that senior executives had missed. Others in his position might have kept quiet, not wanting to ruffle any feathers – Bastian did the opposite. By the age of 32, he had made partner. “[That situation] taught me that you’ve got to trust your instincts. You’ve got to be fearless with things that are important,” he told the Atlanta Journal Constitution in 2014. He landed at Delta in 1998, first as vice-president, Finance, and controller and then as senior vicepresident. He was climbing the ranks when, in 2004, he quit over strategic differences. In the post-9/11 world, airlines were struggling and looking for ways to stay competitive. Bastian advocated for taking the hard road, which in his view meant filing for bankruptcy protection and starting fresh. Delta’s leadership wanted to bring the company’s airfares in line with low-cost competitors and planned to cut pay, benefits and staffing to do it. “I was vocal internally and left,” Bastian told Bloomberg in 2016. But six months later, at the behest of then-CEO Jerry Grinstein, he was back, now as chief financial officer. The airline did file for Chapter 11, and Bastian led the restructuring, taking over the top job in May 2016. Lifelong Values Bastian’s “stick-to-your-guns” sensibility makes sense when you consider his upbringing and education. Born in 1958 in upstate New York, he is the eldest of nine children and learned from a young age to be independent. He attended Our Lady of Lourdes, a private Roman Catholic high school, and later graduated with a bachelor of Business Administration from St. Bonaventure University in Allegany, New York. Founded in the mid-1800s by Franciscan Friars, the

school emphasizes individual dignity, service and community inclusiveness – values that, Bastian says, have informed his career and his life. Giving Back Bastian has sat on the board of Habitat for Humanity and is a champion in the fight against human trafficking. Together with his wife, he founded the Bastian Center for the Study of Human Trafficking at Indiana Wesleyan University and under his leadership, Delta too has taken up the cause. During the pandemic for instance, it donated more than $25,000 in unused assets to organizations fighting human trafficking. “This is not a comfortable or easy topic, and it’s one that many companies would rather not address,” Bastian wrote on LinkedIn in 2017. “But at Delta, we pride ourselves on being different, and recognize that our moral guidebook … obligates us to speak and make an impact.” Forward Thinking Though Bastian didn’t grow up with a particular penchant for aviation (he didn’t step on an airplane until he was 25 years old), you get the sense that the industry or, more specifically, Delta, has morphed into a passion for him. When he returned to the company in 2005, he took a pay cut and a big risk. But Bastian isn’t afraid of risks: “If I could have afforded it, I would have done the job for free.” Virtual Expo Connection

The APEX Official Airline Ratings & Lifetime Achievement Award Dec. 9, 8:30 p.m. GMT

This article has been edited and updated. Read the original C-Suite profile of Ed Bastian in Apex Experience 7.3 21

Join Ed Bastian in a Fireside Chat on “Transforming air transport postCOVID-19” with Dr. Joe Leader Dec. 8, 4:00 p.m. GMT

Expo Daily Experience



Checking in With the Next-Gen The FTE Trailblazer Showcase highlights some of the aviation industry’s most forwardlooking companies. Here is an overview of how five of the winning entries are developing ideas to aid in the recovery from COVID-19 in the short-, medium- and long-term. by STEPHANIE TAYLOR

Welcome Approach How do you restore passenger confidence in air travel? For Panasonic Avionics Corporation, it’s about touching less and caring more. The company’s Welcome Aboard solutions suite does both. With the Companion app, passengers can use their personal electronic devices (PEDs) to control their seatback entertainment systems. Airlines can also integrate PEDs into the in-flight entertainment experience via their mobile applications. To ensure traveler wellbeing, the company has developed the nanoe Air Cleanser, an air purification module that uses hydroxyl radicals to stave off bacteria and doubles as a personalized AI-driven flight planner on when to eat, sleep and how to relax during a flight. Blockchain-Based Identification With more data than ever flowing through different parts of the passenger journey, finding ways to protect personal digital information is paramount. OARO’s facial recognition and authentication solution, OARO Identity, uses blockchain to safeguard data, putting user privacy first, says Mike Maxwell, senior vicepresident, Digital Security Solutions.

To enroll, the user simply takes a video selfie and OARO uses it to create a unique, encrypted and anonymized digital identity on the blockchain. Once enrolled, the user can authenticate their identity by snapping a picture from any device, which is cross-referenced against all the copies in the blockchain in real time. If the system detects an anomaly, the ID is flagged as illegitimate. While blockchain has been a hot topic across the aviation industry for the past few years, Maxwell argues that it “needs to be part of a broader solution to bring true business value,” and believes his company has “that magic combination that sets [it] apart in the digital identity space.” OARO’s facial recognition solution is already being used by staff at two airports to gain access to secure areas, but it hopes to begin public passenger trials in the new year, Maxwell adds.

Panasonic Avionics Corporation’s Welcome Aboard package allows passengers to use their PEDs to control the seatback screen.


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“For coronavirus spread risk detection, we mainly look at carbon dioxide (CO2) and volatile organic compound (VOC) concentrations in the air. Our sensors can measure a lot more, like nitrogen dioxide and carbon monoxide, which are interesting parameters with regards to the fume and smell event detection.” In other words, the sensors could help reassure passengers that the air inside the cabin is clean. “We aim to make this ‘the new normal’ in the travel industry, for instance by implementing a new seal or certification for aircraft cabins that have continuously monitored air quality,” Heinecke says. “This information should be … presented in an understandable way, and this is where we come in.”

Dominating Over Disruptions Following the demise of WOW air, the Icelandic low-cost carrier’s former chief information officer Sveinn Akerlie launched AviLabs and set out to develop a better way for airlines to handle passenger disruptions. The Plan3 is an automated end-to-end disruption management tool that offers an operational overview of the fleet, the ability to communicate with passengers and provide them with alternate travel options, and a method for dealing with compensation claims. “Poorly managed disruptions are the number one reason for passengers choosing not to fly with an airline,” says Akerlie. “With our product, a single employee can manage thousands of passengers within minutes and passengers will be able to select the options to fit them best,” he explains. “We are in the testing phase with two airline partners and in a dialogue with six carriers, two of which are Tier 1. In January, Plan3 will go live with its first customer, and we have the capacity to add five to ten airlines before summer 2021.” Easy Breezy Aircraft Cabins Breeze Technologies co-founder and CEO Robert Heinecke thinks the company’s air quality sensors are tailor-made for the aircraft cabin. Though it recently launched a coronavirus prevention solution for building managers that can be used at airports, it is vying to get them up in the air as well.

Seamless Security Airport security processes have long been a pain-point for passengers, but Sequestim, a joint venture between Cardiff University and QMC Instruments Ltd., hopes to remedy this with walk-through security scanners that use next-generation Terahertz imaging technology. Terahertz imaging displays body heat as a light source, while hidden items show up as shadows. Furthermore, machine learning enables Sequestim’s scanners to distinguish threats from ordinary objects, such as mobile phones, and can raise an alarm automatically, eliminating the need for the scanners to be constantly manned. “Our solution allows passengers to be screened walking normally past a checkpoint. A single Sequestim scanner will process more than 1000 passengers every hour,” says Ken Wood, the company’s director of Sales and Marketing. He confirmed that Sequestim is set to carry out final development work at London’s Gatwick Airport next year to be ready for market in 2022.

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Find all the companies featured in the Trailblazer Showcase in the onDemand Speaker Zone: Startups & Future Inspiration. Expo Daily Experience



It’s All About the Stream Paul Harper, director of consulting firm Harper & Co., discusses the future of IFE and why in-flight connectivity will be a critical link for passengers going forward. by MARISA GARCÍA

How has COVID-19 affected content supply to airlines? With many cinemas still closed, studios have been putting their content directly onto streaming platforms, whether owned or third-party. This allows studios to collect a wealth of data and insights that ultimately help guide decision-making and establish return on investment. They know who is engaging with the content and whether the audience likes it. As a result, I think we’re going to see a decline in content that’s available to airlines, with much of it going direct to streaming platforms. Is connectivity then the priority so that passengers can view content on their preferred streaming platforms? Connectivity is undoubtedly important. Customers want a seamless experience as they travel, whether they’re on a train, on a bus, in a hotel, at the mall or on a plane. They don’t want to have to relearn an in-flight device, like we expect them to do now. The industry is clearly going that way and there’s lots of excitement on the horizon with better, low-latency broadband like OneWeb that really enables a seamless ecosystem.

Customers may not want to watch content for several hours on a small five-inch screen or nine-inch tablet. In today’s world, we’re so used to jumping from screen to screen that if airlines can create a seamless, ideally cable-less, way to connect personal devices to the seatback screen, there’s an opportunity for them to deliver an in-flight digital experience we have yet to see. What other consumer trends will affect passenger preference for content consumption onboard? I think binge-watch, which has only increased during the pandemic, is shaping consumer expectations. They may rely on two or three different streaming platforms and are used to accessing content when and how they want it. That’s not always possible with IFE systems due to licensing, technology, supply chain and capacity limitations. But, if you look at the in-flight experience as a truly digital one with high-capacity, low-latency connectivity, then that becomes absolutely possible.

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What about device pairing, which allows passengers to consume their own content but on the larger in-flight entertainment (IFE) screen? If airlines can enable that, that’s gold! That’s how they can continue to make good use of their hardware investments.

Paul Harper moderates: “Navigating Content Disruption.” Dec. 8, 7 p.m. GMT

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w w w . Fu t u r e Tr a v e l E x p e r i e n c e . c o m


These Exhibitors Can Solve Your Pandemic Problems With COVID-19 top of mind, many companies in the FTE APEX Virtual Expo exhibition hall are showcasing innovative products that aim to restore traveler confidence across the entire passenger journey. Meet 11 of them. AE



Touchless Lavatory




Next spring, Collins will finalize and apply for certification of an entire suite of touchless lavatory features, making toilet seats, flush mechanisms, soap dispensers, faucets and trash flaps more sanitary. The company says industrial design is being considered from the get-go, ensuring airlines receive distinctive products that help differentiate their brand.


Orchestra Platform


In July, Vision-Box implemented e-gates at Terminal 1 of Kansai International Airport. They allow travelers to self-scan boarding passes, reducing contact with staff. Biometric identification can be implemented into the system. In October, AirAsia announced a partnership with Vision-Box that will see the company’s identity management technology launch across its network of 152 airports.






Facial Recognition and Thermal Temperature Screening


NEC Corporation of America and its partner company, Infrared Cameras, offer temperature scanners equipped with facialrecognition technology that can help airport staff identify travelers with fever. By the end of this year, the Government of Hawaii plans to implement these solutions at publicly owned airports in the state.


Xovis Sensors


Already adept at manufacturing people flow-management sensors, Xovis is encouraging airports to adopt its technology to oversee social-distancing protocols. Stuttgart Airport is using Xovis sensors already installed in the facility for this purpose.

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MicrobeBarrier Snood and Wellness Kits


Worn around the neck like a scarf, Buzz’s stretchy snood features an antimicrobial fabric treatment and is designed to be pulled up to cover the mouth and nose when in close proximity to others. Etihad Airways began handing them out to its first- and business-class passengers in August. Buzz is also supplying airlines in Europe and the US with wellness kits from names such as Murchison-Hume, C.O. Bigelow, Rohr Remedy and Aromatherapy Associates.


UV Sanitization Wand


The airframer adapted its UVC lavatory light technology to create this handheld unit, which will be manufactured in the US by Healthe and Far UV Technologies. During this year’s ecoDemonstrator tests, the wand disinfected the flight deck of an Etihad Airways Boeing 787-10 in 15 minutes.



In-Cabin Mobility Management (IC2M) To reduce in-flight crowding, PXCom’s new software suite brings four special modules to the IFE system. IC2M facilitates lavatory queue management, regulates access to overhead bins, brings order to the disembarkation process and allows passengers to communicate with crew and other passengers.


COVID-19 Communication


IFE provider Inflight Dublin is offering a customizable service package consisting of audio, video, digital and physical elements to help airlines communicate COVID-19 protocols to customers. These include multilingual announcements, videos and safety cards.


AirFi Box


In a bid to reduce touchpoints, the AirFi Box is designed to operate autonomously. It switches on and off automatically thanks to built-in technology that interprets data, including location and altitude. An embedded server and wireless network router can provide a variety of digital content to passengers.


Clean Kit


Formia’s basic PPE kit contains a flexible plastic pouch, an EVA foam mask, sanitizing wipe packet and gloves. Premium options include a cotton or jersey mask, a sanitizing gel tube or spray and a sustainable pouch made of washable kraft paper. 28

Read the complete list of “100 Solutions to Pandemic Problems” in the latest edition of APEX Experience magazine.

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Are you an exhibitor with news to share? Get in touch at editor@apex.aero


It Takes Two (or More) How can airlines recover from the largest business model shift in the history of commercial aviation? When it comes to important ancillary revenue streams, industry leaders agree that digital platforms are key. But no company can deliver the promised land alone. Savvy partnerships, on the other hand, just might. by SETH MILLER

The catering arm of dnata will integrate its food and beverage services into the Bluebox system.

With the ongoing need to reduce onboard interactions and a shift in consumer demand for ancillary products due to COVID-19, airlines and service providers have had to reevaluate the in-flight retail experience to meet current and future challenges. That means tapping into the power of digital platforms, industry leaders say. But thus far, digital has largely been absent from the in-flight retail landscape. Several partnerships, inspired or accelerated by the pandemic, are changing that. Portable in-flight entertainment (IFE) company AirFi recently entered into a sales partnership with IFE content provider Spafax that will combine the platform’s passenger and behavioral data with Spafax’s expertise in advertising and media. It’s the key that “will finally unlock the huge growth potential in onboard digital revenues,” says AirFi CEO Job Heimerikx. Together, they’ll be able


to deliver targeted and more personalized digital opportunities that will result in better and higher-yielding conversions, he adds. In October, streaming IFE supplier Bluebox Aviation Systems announced an agreement with the catering arm of dnata to integrate its food and beverage services into the Bluebox system. Providing passengers with a seamless experience and embedding catering logistics into an IFE platform can be quite technically complex, says Duncan Greeney, dnata’s general manager for Retail. “In the present climate our customers need solutions that are simple and quick to deploy. This is an opportunity for airlines to minimize contact and dialogue between passengers and cabin crew but still deliver an excellent service and a full range of food, drinks and retail goods that are such an essential part of the ancillary revenue income.”

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Bluebox had been eyeing this type of partnership for some time. “We’d begun discussions on the integration with several onboard retail providers prior to COVID, but the rapid change of circumstances with the restrictions and safety protocols required by COVID accelerated these conversations. Everyone concerned recognized the significance very quickly. The practicalities and the commercial opportunity expedited the partnerships,” says the company’s marketing director, Catherine Brown. Direct to Consumer Ancillary sales are a key component of easyJet’s business model, contributing just over 20 percent of total revenue for fiscal year 2019. A data-driven approach has allowed it to continually improve that share. In the coming months the airline will take this approach even further by launching a trial of Gategroup’s digital retail solution, ePax, which will allow passengers to order and buy in-flight retail services straight from their personal devices. It’s a significant shift for easyJet, says a Gategroup executive. “We have access to a huge amount of onboard retail data. Combine that with the behavioral and e-commerce data we’re now able to access via ePax, and the data that easyJet is sitting on and we’re able

to generate some really interesting insights to make retail offers smarter and more personalized.” To obtain those insights, Gategroup partnered with Black Swan Data, whose expertise will enable it to go deep on data at levels the airline industry has historically failed to realize. Beyond the straightforward parameters of flight destination, duration and time of day, ePax can identify specific flights and passenger cohorts to deliver more relevant content – a major step forward from the general adverts and in-seat menu cards that the industry has relied on to sell these revenue opportunities until now. Partnerships aren’t new to aviation. They existed before COVID-19, but companies that were once slowly and incrementally improving their products internally now recognize that in order to capitalize on the profitable promise of digital, they’re going to have to look outward. Virtual Expo Connection

Creating new tech-led revenue streams to support new business models Dec. 8, 10:30 a.m. GMT

With Gategroup’s digital retail solutions easyJet passengers can buy in-flight services from their phones.

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Hear & Now Anticipation is building for FTE APEX Virtual Expo. Here’s what you’ve been sharing on LinkedIn.

“Looking forward to meeting you very soon @ the 2020 FTE APEX Virtual show!” Eric Proust, business unit director, LATÉCOÈRE

“The Language Metadata Table (LMT) is just one of many presentations at the upcoming FTE APEX Virtual Expo (Dec. 8 & 9). Come check it out! Thanks Daniel Coleman for letting me share what’s going on with the LMT as the solution for standardized language codes.” Yonah (Hirschman) Levenson, manager, Metadata Strategy and Terminology Governance, WarnerMedia

“Pleased to say I will be speaking at the FTE APEX Virtual Expo, as part of BBC Studios and BBC News support of the event, and discussing the future of streaming services for inflight entertainment.” Jon Farrar, global VOD director, BBC Studios

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Use the official event hashtag #FTEAPEXVirtualExpo

to join the discussion! “Looking forward to speaking at the Future Travel Experience APEX Virtual Expo!” Mohamad Al Agha, head of IT Business Solutions, Digital Transformation, Abu Dhabi Airports

“Excited to meet you soon at our virtual booth at the #FTEAPEXVirtualExpo! Schedule your meeting with us and register for our live sessions!” Stefanie Schuster, chief commercial officer, Axinom