APEX Association ceo, Joe Leader, reported a record 2600 delegates at this year’s Expo in Long Beach, California, and with 141 exhibitors and the co-location of AIX and IFSA expos, a total of 5000-plus attendees were drawn to the event.
The Education Day kicked things off with a welcome from APEX president
Brian Richardson before Sir Tim Clark, president Emirates, spoke about Emirates' development into a leading brand. He insisted it was vital to be courageous, saying: "Enhancement to the passenger product, in technology areas and in the cabin, must be done. Be ready and brave enough to take those decisions."
Emirates today has 82,000 staff flying 50-70 million passengers to 157 destinations. Looking ahead, Clark imagined moves towards windowless planes that could fly higher, faster and more efficiently, with virtual windows showing anything, from the outside view, to destination previews, to IFE. He predicted future airports will have check-in and security done by biometrics.
Spencer Wang, vp finance and investor relations at Netflix, gave delegates another view of the future. Netflix Inflight, currently flying with Virgin, Aeromexico and Qantas, makes the huge Netflix catalogue available to passengers on their own devices at no extra cost to subscribers. It is attractive to airlines as it is free to airlines, is a well-liked brand and enables a significant saving in bandwidth. Netflix claims to be the number one favourite brand in the UK and Brazil, and third favourite in the U.S. Wang said Virgin America boosted bookings
33% in Economy and 58% in Business by adding the service. "It's great news for airlines. As they improve their connectivity, they can partner with us, use the new encodes, and improve the offer without having to do anything else."
Robin Hayes, president and ceo JETBLUE, talked about the evolution of the airline's Mint premium product revolutionising the transcontinental U.S. route. From Jetblue's origins as a one-class airline through to ancillary charging for extended legroom, then priority boarding, he explained how Mint became so profitable and popular that they had to double the frequency of the busiest flights.