This year’s World Travel Catering & Onboard Services Expo (WTCE) and Aircraft Interiors Expo takes place online, hoping to reconnect the global onboard sector as it builds back post-pandemic.
The event will welcome buyers and exhibitors from the aviation and rail industries from around the globe, offering them three full days of insights and debate, plus opportunities to explore products and services relevant to the entire passenger experience.
After a challenging 18 months, there will be three conference streams showcasing ideas and inspiration for recovery and opportunities for debate, including at the Taste of Travel Theatre, in association with Onboard Hospitality; The Passenger Experience Conference and dedicated AIX sessions.
Confirmed exhibitors include Heineken, Foodcase, Snackboxtogo, Love Corn, Coffee Planet and Bayart Innovations. Over 70 speakers are set to speak from companies such as JetBlue Airways, IATA, Cirium, Virgin Atlantic, Singapore Airlines, LSG Group, dnata and American Airlines.
The show will open as insights from industry analysts Cirium show the number of flights now being operated in Europe has reached the highest level since mid-March 2021 as travel restrictions begin to relax on the back of the EU’s new digital travel pass. This allows vaccinated, tested or recovered passengers to travel more freely.
At the same time, Cirium reports travel in the U.S. and China is showing a strong bounce-back.
The inflight catering services market is also forecast to grow by $13 billion between now and 2025, giving some hope and optimism that business will begin to grow fast as flying resumes.
Airlines registered to attend are being offered a bespoke, curated experience at the virtual show and include Air France, Delta Air Lines, Cathay Pacific Airways, Etihad Airways, SAS Scandinavian Airlines and Ryanair, as well as Gate Group and Rail Gourmet.
Face-to-face online meetings can be pre-scheduled ahead of the event, and the event platform will send reminders across the three days to ensure both visitors and exhibitors can make the best use of their time.
David Young, former executive manager, sustainability and future planet at Qantas, says: “WTCE has always been a key event in the travel catering and onboard services calendar, providing an important opportunity for buyers and suppliers in the sector to meet, exchange ideas, catch up on the latest industry trends, learn about ground-breaking innovations and ultimately do business. In the current climate, where the whole aviation sector is looking for ways to accelerate the post-pandemic recovery, it will be more important than ever.”
Polly Magraw, event director at Reed Exhibitions, adds: “Health, wellbeing and sustainability are essential elements in any onboard catering and services offer. We know airlines and rail operators are keen to understand how suppliers are working to meet ever tighter industry standards as traveller expectations of quality, teamed with health and sustainability, are increasingly important.”
These Virtual events replace this year’s in person WTCE and AIX which will be back in Hamburg 14-16 June 2022 at the Hamburg Messe.
Passenger Experience Conference
The Passenger Experience Conference programme will explore passenger engagement strategies that will help grow revenues. The focus will be on innovation and new thinking that support airlines and their supply chains, as well as how to address consumer expectations for future travel experiences.
Experts representing Airbus, Boeing, Panasonic Avionics, Heathrow Airport, Diehl Aviation, Inmarsat, Safran, BlueBox Aviation and the IATA are confirmed to speak, with live Q&As set to follow each session, allowing attendees to gain further insight. Panel discussions will focus on the passenger journey in the digital age; innovation in aircraft interiors; catering for passengers with disabilities; new thinking on materials and manufacturing techniques for interiors, sustainability, digitalisation, new revenue drivers and the role of disruptive innovation.