Of all the hardships 2020 and the pandemic presented to us as an industry, the lack of events and networking opportunities struck a personal chord.
However, the Onboard Hospitality-Inflight Services Association (IFSA) Virtual Expo, co-located with the Future Travel Experience (FTE)-Airline Passenger Experience Association (APEX) Virtual Expo, did at least offer the chance for us to all engage, learn, and network together once again.
On December 8-9 2020, over 4000 global delegates logged on to the virtual expo environment to peruse the exhibition hall, tune into conference sessions and reconnect in the networking lounge. Clever graphics and interactive functions made it easy for attendees and exhibitors alike to become immersed in the expo environment – all from the comfort and safety of our own desks.
Transforming air transport
The key theme for the expo was ‘transforming air transport’. Attendees had the opportunity to tune into presentations, key note speeches and panel discussions from leaders in the aviation and hospitality sector including IFSA, dnata, LSG Group, Airline Catering Association (ACA), FORMIA and more. Among topics discussed were inflight catering, onboard innovations and sustainability priorities post-COVID-19.
Some of the biggest names in air transport joined the speaker line-up to share their perspectives on transforming air travel, the global industry recovery and leadership in times of crisis. CEOs from Qatar Airways, Delta Air Lines, Airbus Americas, Star Alliance, Atlantic Airways, IATA, Air France-KLM and Virgin Atlantic (amongst others) offered critical insight and updates on strategies, global industry recovery and sustainability.
On Demand Speaker Zone
The On Demand Speaker Zone delivered high-level content with an array of pre-recorded contributions specially prepared for the show, allowing the speakers to dive deeper on key topics and case studies.
Onboard Hospitality was pleased to host two On Demand sessions, exploring the future of Onboard Catering with Fabio Gamba, president of the Airline Catering Association, and sustainability strategy with Sarah-Klatt Walsh, for FORMIA, and Wander Meijer, MD of sustainability consultancy GlobeScan.
The 80+ exhibitors ranged from IFEC and onboard content suppliers to inflight catering, comfort and amenity providers, and aircraft manufacturers. Among the exhibiting companies were AirFi, Astronics, FlightPath3D, Inflight Dublin, Collins Aerospace, Inmarsat, Intelsat, AERQ, Airbus, Axinom, Burrana, Global Eagle, Kontron, Touch Inflight Solutions, West Entertainment, and many more.
Leaders in the inflight catering, comfort and amenities sector exhibited within the Onboard Hospitality-IFSA expo, including Buzz Products, FORMIA, Global Inflight Products, Monty’s Bakehouse/SATS and Plane Talking Products.
“In a year like none other, the Virtual Expo provided our industry with a valuable chance to reconnect,” says Craig McQuinn, Onboard Hospitality’s exhibition director. “The importance of in-person events cannot be overlooked, but the opportunities given by the Virtual Expo to network, learn and inspire one another were just the tonic we needed as 2020 drew to a close.
“Many thanks to all who exhibited, participated in the conference sessions, and engaged with exhibitors and delegates alike. We can’t wait to see you all again soon, be it in Hamburg, Singapore, or on Zoom!”