Insight | Another big year at APEX, as the event turns forty


Another big year at APEX, as the event turns forty


APEX EXPO celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2019 with an action-packed event - here’s our round up

APEX EXPO brings together more than 3,000 of the industry’s finest each year to listen to experts and influence decision-makers who are focused on the continuous improvement of the worldwide airline passenger experience.

This year, the four-day premier event took place in Los Angeles and naturally included the usual topical conference sessions and exhibition of airline related technologies, products and services. However, it was extra-special because APEX EXPO was also celebrating its 40th anniversary.

A shared birthday

Coincidentally, Inmarsat is celebrating 40 years since our company was formed too. We knew this would be a big year at the event and we were right. 

Monday, 9th September

The first day of the event was the ‘Thought Leadership Conference’, with Inmarsat sponsoring the popular NextGen IFEC Track. This kicked-off with a welcome and introduction by APEX Executive Director Katie Geraghty-Goshgarian and President Juha Järvinen (Virgin Atlantic).

The APEX Board of Governors 2019/2020 were then introduced, consisting of senior executives from Delta Air Lines, Spirit Airlines, Xiamen Airlines, JetBlue, Flybe, LATAM Brasil, Virgin Atlantic and JSX.

In a conversation with APEX CEO Joe Leader, Delta Air Lines CEO Ed Bastian talked about ‘Climbing Beyond Customer Expectations to Better Serve Our World'. He explained that the two most important topics for the aviation industry are technology and sustainability.

Another major highlight was the ‘Building the Business Case for Inflight Connectivity’ session, which featured Inmarsat Aviation President Philip Balaam, Qatar Airways Vice President Marketing, Sponsorships and IFEC Babar Rahman, and Amazon Web Services Transportation Leader – State and Local Government Phil Silver. It was standing room only, with over 300 attendees.

To coincide with the session, Inmarsat released the big news that chapter three of the Sky High Economics report by the London School of Economics (LSE) report was out

The report contains incredible insight into the potential of inflight connectivity for airlines, indicating that there are 450 million passengers globally who are not committed to any airline’s loyalty scheme. Not only this, but they are willing to switch allegiance, leaving $33 billion of market share up for grabs to airlines.

Monday came with more exciting news, as SITAONAIR announced that they were now live on the first Aircalin aircraft with their advanced inflight connectivity solution for passengers and crew, powered by our award-winning #GXAviation.

And finally, APEX did a little reminiscing on social media, looking back at photos from years gone by: 

Tuesday, 10th September

Connectivity was yet again a hot topic on Tuesday. Emirates VP, Patrick Brannelly discussed the future of inflight entertainment and connectivity, stating that he believes it will be an Alexa-like experience. 

Inmarsat made another big announcement, as inflight broadband powered by GX Aviation became available to customers onboard the first of Virgin Atlantic’s brand-new Airbus A350 aircraft.

Spirit Airlines' CEO Ted Christie presented the airline’s new passenger seats, with additional legroom for increased comfort.

The new seats caused quite a stir as visitors tested them for space, pitch and comfort.

Attendees also addressed how being connectivity affects their travel experience and how having an Ipad hangable factor onboard is crucial.

APEX continued to celebrate 40 years of success with 40 stories of success:

One journalist found a bit of downtime to joy ride around LA:

And Inmarsat ended the day with a fabulous networking event at a rooftop bar with a view of downtown LA – not a bad way to end day two.

Wednesday, 11th September

The big news just kept coming, as All Nippon Airways announced a Wi-Fi upgrade for its fleet of Boeing B777-300ER aircraft in partnership SITAONAIR, powered by our award-winning GX Aviation inflight broadband solution.

Airbus VP of Marketing, Ingo Wuggetzer discussed megatrends for the future, believing that the mobile and IoT revolution that is happening in people’s car and homes, will also appear in aircraft.

There was even a space shuttle and an astronaut at the show.

Thursday, 12th September

The activity didn’t slow on the last day, and we were still meeting and talking with lots of people until the very end of the show. 

What a great event. And just like that, people started to leave sunny LA to make their way home.

We’ll leave you with a short video as Inmarsat Aviation’s VP Marketing and Communications, Dominic Walters takes us through our experience at APEX EXPO 2019.