May 30, 2024

California calls

As the industry comes together in Long Beach, we preview the first IFSA-APEX Expo since October 2019...

The International Flight Services Association (IFSA) and the Airline Passenger Experience Association (APEX) Expo has returned to California for the first in-person show our industry has seen since COVID-19 took hold.

“It feels incredible to be hosting the show again,” said IFSA/APEX CEO, Dr Joe Leader. “As we just had the doors of the United States reopen for the first time in over 600 days to over 30 countries, the timing of IFSA-APEX Expo will be incredible.”

For three days (November 30 – December 2 2021), the Long Beach Convention Centre will open its doors to suppliers and buyers alike for networking, insightful conference sessions and a chance to preview the new products evolved during the past 20 months. 

The event is slated to be well-attended. “We’re seeing incredible resilience in the number of airlines attending in particular and we’re very appreciative to bring our world back together again,” Leader added.

Sustainability, safety, service

Following feedback from previous attendees, the show has been condensed into three days. The first day will focus on a lively conference schedule, with the following two days opening up to the exhibition. 

The conference agenda aims to bring the industry together to look beyond COVID-19, with sustainability, safety and service at the forefront of discussions. Sessions are scheduled to discuss pertinent topics such as Health & Safety: Preparing for the winter of COVID and beyond. Moderated by SimpliFlying founder and CEO Shashank Nigam, this session will explore how the aviation industry is recovering from the pandemic and is preparing for the coming winter and beyond. Panellists include Clinical Medicine Monica Gandhi MD, MPH; neuroscientist Dr Stathis Kefallonitis, and WestJet chief medical officer Dr Tammy McKnight.

The Creating Genuine Airline Environmental Sustainability session will see Airbus head of cabin market insights Stefan List, Plug and Play MD Amir Amidi, Silverdraft CEO Amy Gilea and JSX CEO and LATAM Director Alex Wilcox come together to discuss how airlines are reducing weight, embracing sustainable aviation fuel, cutting single- use plastics and more.

Other sessions include Technology & Content: The Networks, and keynote addresses from airline CEOs Scott Kirby (United Airlines), Shai Weiss (Virgin Atlantic), Michael Rousseau (Air Canada) & Ed Bastian (Delta Air Lines).

Better together

Whilst in-person attendance is encouraged, there are still barriers in place for international attendees. Therefore selected parts of the conference schedule will be recorded and shared with IFSA and APEX members after the event. 

“We’re doing this out of sensitivity for those in parts of the world where, although they could get into the U.S. quite quickly, to get back into their homes could take as long as three weeks,” Leader said. “Of course we don’t want anyone being away from their families for three weeks just to be in attendance, so we’re going to make certain that we have some of the best content available for our members that are not able to make it.”

Exhibitor highlights

A number of measures have been taken to mitigate the risk of transmission of COVID-19 for all IFSA-APEX Expo attendees. 

The show is only accepting fully-vaccinated visitors. Proof of vaccination will be required to enter the convention centre. Vaccine verification for U.S. citizens will be completed using the CLEAR app, and visitors arriving from overseas will be screened using IATA’s Travel Pass or other similar programmes. 

In line with the state of California’s guidance, attendees to the show will be encouraged to wear masks at all times.

Furthermore, sponsorship from Purell will ensure hand sanitiser is readily available throughout the show floors. UV Hammer will be disinfecting the show floor each night, using UVC disinfection to cover every surface.;