FTE APEX Asia Expo made a successful return to the Marina Bay Sands Expo & Convention Centre, Singapore, on 9-10 November 2022 after a three-year hiatus, with 1,800 registrations from 47 countries. Firmly established as Asia-Pacific’s biggest free to attend passenger experience and business performance expo, the event was delivered with the support of headline partners Changi Airport Group, Singapore Airlines, Star Alliance and Onboard Hospitality.
It truly was the comeback show for the region to demo the very latest products and services, share learnings and ideas, and for those from further afield to better understand the APAC market, which will see the fastest growth in the coming years.
The event featured a free to attend end-to-end exhibition of the industry’s most progressive companies, a high-level Premium Conference Stage, complimentary Expo Stage sessions, the Onboard Hospitality Forum Asia, expanded ‘Innovation & Tech Briefings’, an FTE Baggage Innovation Working Group meeting, guided tours of the renovated T2 at Changi Airport, and the FTE Airline/Airport Transformation Power Lists Asia-Pac 2022 and APEX Regional Passenger Choice Awards ceremonies. Here is a selection of the main highlights.
CEOs of Jetstar Asia, AirAsia Malaysia and Star Alliance, plus Changi Airport Group EVP, help to get FTE APEX Asia Expo underway
FTE APEX Asia Expo 2022 got underway with an official ribbon-cutting ceremony performed by Jeffrey Goh, CEO, Star Alliance; Tan Lye Teck, Executive Vice President – Airport Management, Changi Airport Group; Barathan Pasupathi, CEO, Jetstar Asia Airways; Dr. Joe Leader, CEO, APEX and IFSA; Ali Loving, Head of Events, Future Travel Experience; Craig McQuinn, Exhibition Director, Onboard Hospitality Forum Asia; Riad Asmat, CEO, Air Asia Malaysia; Ryan Ghee, Chief Operating Officer, Future Travel Experience; and Daniel Coleman, Founder & CEO, Future Travel Experience.
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Innovative airline and airport solutions – from digital identity to baggage and more
The free to attend exhibition at FTE APEX Asia Expo provided a major showcase of progressive solutions, products and services from technology giants and the most innovative startups from across Asia and beyond. They highlighted innovations created to help airlines and airports improve end-to-end customer experiences, reduce costs, increase revenues and enhance operational efficiency on the ground and inflight.
Among the major companies present was Collins Aerospace, which highlighted its Connected Aviation Solutions business that is uniquely positioned to provide revolutionary digital solutions to its airline and airport customers, enabling them to bring forth their vision of a fully connected digital aviation ecosystem.
SITA similarly had a prominent presence on the expo floor, where it showcased its SITA Flex solution. SITA Flex goes beyond traditional common-use – it is a next-generation platform that facilitates innovation via APIs and gives passengers greater control of their journey.
Snowfall offered demos of Junction – a single, multimodal travel operating platform that unifies access to the travel ecosystem. It means travellers can enjoy greater choice, flexibility and a seamless, personalised experience, from door to door. Airlines and providers can simplify and amplify their distribution and unlock ancillary revenue opportunities.
Automation and self-service technologies have been a continued priority for airports and airlines post-pandemic, and these were prominent on the Expo floor. Visitors to the Gunnebo stand experienced mobile enrolment for passenger boarding with a demonstration of a biometric-enabled boarding gate; they also experienced the complete passenger One ID journey using facial biometrics. Amadeus showcased a complete end-to-end biometric passenger flow from check-in through to boarding. Meanwhile, Elenium presented its Automated Bag Drop with advanced camera-based dimensioning technology.
Among the other innovations highlighted was Airport Dimensions’ Connecta In-Lounge – a one-stop e-commerce and traveller relationship platform that enhances and personalises the airport lounge experience. Baggage was another key focus area, with BAGTAG giving product demos and allowing visitors to try out its Electronic Bag Tags.
Inflight-focused showcase – IFEC, digital engagement, 5G, communications and more
The exhibition featured an impressive line-up of inflight-focused suppliers, including Inmarsat Aviation, AERQ, AirFi, Ditto, Exail, Intelsat, Viasat, and many more.
Visitors to the AERQ booth experienced how the company’s open IT platform AERENA can boost digital cabin innovations throughout the travel journey and facilitate greater passenger engagement onboard the aircraft.
AirFi.aero showcased its ‘In-Seat Ordering’ solution, which is now live on airlines including Scoot, easyJet, Corendon and Binter Canarias, and is the backbone of its ‘Mall in the Sky’ platform. The company also introduced visitors to ‘LEO’ – its innovative, lightweight and low-cost connectivity solution using patented window-mounted antenna technology.
Ditto offered live, cross-platform, real-time demos of its Intelligent Edge Platform, with use-cases such as real-time meal order, cabin crew collaboration, maintenance collaboration, and baggage scanning. Meanwhile, Inflight Dublin highlighted Everhub – a one-stop-shop for airlines, incorporating content, design, hardware and software into a single wireless IFE offering.
Inmarsat Aviation launched its ‘APAC Passenger Experience Survey 2022’ during FTE APEX Asia Expo. David Coiley, Asia Pacific Regional Vice President, Inmarsat Aviation, shared details of the survey as part of his presentation in a conference session focused on ‘Successfully digitalising the aircraft cabin’. He explained that the new research among 4,000 APAC airline passengers finds that 74% value inflight Wi-Fi, and 83% would rebook with an airline if high-quality connectivity was available on the flight. “Passenger demand for fast and reliable Wi-Fi has never been higher, so providing access to such services is absolutely essential for airlines,” said Coiley.
Onboard Hospitality Forum Asia – a showcase of inflight catering, customised cabin essentials, well-being and sustainability
The Onboard Hospitality Forum Asia once again took place as part of FTE APEX Asia Expo 2022. Onboard Hospitality invited inflight catering, well-being, design and innovation specialists to meet within a dedicated, free to attend zone in the exhibition, with a strong focus this year on sustainability onboard. The forum combines targeted inflight hospitality, peer to peer networking, and conference sessions.
A number of leading inflight wellness and catering companies showcased their latest products and services, including SATS, Bayart Innovations, Coffee Planet, FORMIA, Global-C, Linstol, Unilever, Zibo Rainbow Airline Appliance, and more.
During the two-day Onboard Hospitality Forum Asia, attendees also had the chance to hear inspiration from a number of leaders in the hospitality sector, such as SAUDIA, En Route International, Aviation Sustainability Forum, APEX and IFSA.
Startup Zone and Startup Pitch Session – a hotbed of innovation
The Startup Zone at FTE APEX Asia Expo 2022 was a hotbed of innovation, featuring progressive companies such as Ariadne Maps, Shabstec Limited and ubiZense Limited.
Ariadne Maps presented its advanced, real-time passenger analytics enabled with award-winning accuracy and certified privacy compliance. Shabstec offered demonstrations of its TagForLife technology – a very low-cost permanent bag tag. Using all existing international standards, passengers will be able to purchase the tags from Amazon, airlines and airports. ubiZense Limited – an AIoT company – showcased how it leverages IoT sensors to monitor operations and uses AI to provide management insights. ubiZense turns existing sensors, such as CCTV or GPS modules, into real-time tracking devices.
The Expo Stage conference agenda also featured the ‘Startup Pitch Session Powered by the FTE Digital, Innovation & Startup Hub’. This showcased a diverse range of startups with a selection of pioneering products and services – from advanced artificial intelligence (AI) solutions through to the latest inflight concepts – including Airsiders, Ariadne Maps, Avvinue, Ditto, Shabstec, ubiZense, and Virspatial Technologies.
‘Innovation & Tech Briefings’ and One-to-One Meetings
The popular ‘Innovation & Tech Briefings’ on the exhibition floor returned bigger and better this year. Attendees had the opportunity to join guided tours and meet exhibitors with relevant products, services and concepts across six areas: Airport Technology, Airline Technology, Baggage, Automation & Self-service, IFEC & Inflight Innovation, and Sustainability in Action Onboard.
Attendees were also able to use the One-to-One Meeting system prior to and during the show to connect with companies and individuals and arrange meetings. The system again proved a great success.
Inspirational keynotes by Fiji Airways, Capital A, SAUDIA, Changi Airport, Trip.com, and much more
The theme of FTE APEX Asia Expo 2022 was ‘Transforming Tomorrow’s Journey’ and was reflected throughout the agendas on both the Premium Conference and Expo stages, which highlighted the transformative and collaborative approaches being taken for the benefit of the industry.
Daniel Coleman, Founder & CEO, Future Travel Experience, and Dr. Joe Leader, CEO, APEX and IFSA, opened the Premium Conference Stage before moving into the Opening Keynote Panel featuring Barathan Pasupathi, CEO, Jetstar Asia Airways; Jeffrey Goh, CEO, Star Alliance; Tan Lye Teck, Executive Vice President – Airport Management, Changi Airport Group; Sumesh Patel, President, Asia Pacific, SITA; and Riad Asmat, CEO, Air Asia Malaysia. They shared their perspectives on successfully scaling back up, attracting, empowering and retaining workforce, collaboration, innovation, passenger experience, digital transformation, sustainability, lessons learned from the pandemic, and post-pandemic health and travel requirements.
The Expo Stage opened with two keynotes from Yudong Tan, VP, CEO of the Flights BG, Trip.com Group (a global travel services company that owns and operates Trip.com, Ctrip, Skyscanner and Qunar) and Colin Currie, President (Commercial), Capital A.
Tan shared his insights into the future of travel in Asia-Pac and how Trip.com Group is evolving to serve that. Commenting on the global recovery of flights by region in September 2022, he noted that Asia-Pacific is currently at 40% of 2019 levels compared with 79% in Europe and North America, 86% in the Middle East and 90% in Africa. Currie followed with a fascinating keynote on how AirAsia is transitioning into a digital travel and lifestyle company and revolutionising its commercial activities along the way.
The Premium Conference Stage also featured a truly inspirational Keynote Session on ‘Leadership perspectives in the vibrant Asia-Pac market’. In Part 1, Azman B. Ahmad, GM Product Management, SAUDIA, was interviewed by Dr. Joe Leader, CEO, APEX and IFSA and offered an exclusive look at the airline’s new business class product. In Part 2, Andre Viljoen, Managing Director & CEO, Fiji Airways, then delivered a keynote address on the airline’s journey to success. Viljoen explained that Fiji Airways’ “game-changer strategies” include investment in its leadership and culture transformation, growing its female workforce (currently 41%), modernising its aircraft fleet (Airbus A350 XWBs and Boeing MAX 8s), building “remarkable service quality”, and “a deep commitment to strategic purpose”.
Premium Conference Stage – innovation for airlines and airports
The Premium Conference Stage provided insights into how the world will evolve over the short, medium and long-term, and how effective utilisation of technology, design, hospitality and collaboration can reimagine travel for the better post-pandemic.
Among the many highlights on the Premium Conference Stage was a session focused on ‘Innovative technology utilisation by airlines and their partners’. Moderated by Tomi Maaniemi, Vice President, Snowfall, the session featured two fantastic case studies: Travis Lim, Principal Digital Strategist, Singapore Airlines, delivered a presentation on ‘Singapore Airlines’ digital journey’, while Christine Wang, Managing Director, Lufthansa Innovation Hub, gave a presentation on ‘Pushing the limits of the travel industry’.
Advancing onboard digitalisation efforts to enhance operational, CX and revenue performance was a key focus. Stefan List, Head of Cabin Market Insights, Airbus, moderated a session on ‘Successfully digitising the aircraft cabin’, featuring David Coiley, Regional Vice President Asia Pacific Aviation Sales, Inmarsat; Andre Sousa, Senior Director & Head of Sales and Account Management – APAC, Panasonic Avionics; and Jonas von Kruechten, Head of Strategy and Business Development, AERQ.
Continuing the theme of digitalisation, Carolijn Schoofs, Head of Innovation, Royal Schiphol Group, outlined the steps by which Schiphol will achieve a fully autonomous airside operation by 2050, while Bob Kwik, Global Head of Airports, Amazon Web Services, highlighted the technologies that airports should really be focusing on to transform the passenger experience, operations and revenues.
Focusing on future airports, the transformative approaches being taken to reimagine the ways in which airports are developed, managed, leverage technology and realise potential were addressed by Jayne Wear, Head of Commercial Products & Transport, Auckland Airport, and Jan Michael Wicki, Head Program Development and Coordination, Noida International Airport (by Flughafen Zürich AG).
A prominent theme was airport automation and digital identity efforts, and these were explored by Steven Greenway, President, Commercial, Pangiam; Hideharu Miyamoto, Senior Executive Officer / Deputy Executive Divisional Director of Corporate Planning Division, Narita International Airport Corporation; and Javed Malik, Managing Director APAC, Vision-Box & FTE Advisory Board Member.
Other highlights on the Premium Conference Stage included a special presentation by Gordon Chu, Digital Manager, Conversational Platforms, Cathay Pacific Airways, on ‘Building a strategic mindset in conversational AI driven digital transformation’, plus ‘The FTE Premium Passenger Symposium’ and ‘The FTE Emerging Markets Symposium’.
Expo Stage – free education for all
Attendees benefited from complimentary access to the Expo Stage. ‘The future of e-commerce, ancillaries & loyalty in air transport’ was addressed in a panel led by Apple Ignacio, Director, Ancillaries, Cebu Pacific Air, and featuring Renato Ramos, Director Loyalty, Star Alliance; Jayne Wear, Head of Commercial Products & Transport, Auckland Airport; and Vimal Kumar Rai, EVP Global Sales & Marketing, AirFi.aero.
Highlights on the Expo Stage also included ‘The FTE Self-Service & Biometric Summit’, which heard from Jesse Jalleh, Director Travel Experience, Star Alliance; Jonathan Good, Chief Technology & Marketing Officer, Auckland Airport; Rob Bowring, CCO, Elenium Automation; and Richard Dinkelmann, CEO, ICM Airport Technics, an Amadeus company.
‘Strategic Perspective & Disruptive Approaches’ were explored by Gunardi Minah, GM Marketing, Lion Air, and Member of the FTE APEX Asia Expo Advisory Board; Dr Spencer Dando, VP Middle East & Africa, Snowfall; and Hon Lung Chu, Head of APAC, Volocopter.
A session focusing on ‘Making Sustainability Work Onboard’ brought together Azman Ahmad, GM Product Management, SAUDIA; Nick Wiley, Global Managing Director, En Route International; and Matt Crane, Group Head, SATS Food Solutions Global Innovation Centre and Founder of the Aviation Sustainability Forum, and provided insights into what each organisation is doing today to make the industry greener, followed by a candid discussion on what steps need to be taken to ensure the industry can improve environmental performance going forward.
The Expo Stage agenda concluded with an insightful session on ‘Strategies to simultaneously better serve the passenger, and the business’, with presentations from Deacon Konc, Director, Innovation & Solutions, United Airlines; Yerzhan Akhmetzhanov, Senior Manager Innovation, FlyArystan (Air Astana Group); and Stephen Hay, Global Strategy Director, Airport Dimensions.
In a fitting finale to the conference, Hay delivered an exclusive research unveiling: ‘Understanding Tomorrow’s Traveller and Shaping the Future Airport Experience’. Among the fascinating insights shared, Hay outlined some key trends for airports, including the need to “embrace, understand and engage the new experiential traveller”, “for more travellers, the lounge will become the heart of the revenue journey”, and the need to “pivot towards more relevant incentives and smarter engagement”.
FTE Baggage Innovation Working Group meeting at Changi, plus FTE Baggage Innovation Summit
Members of the FTE Baggage Innovation Working Group (BIWG) met at Changi Airport on 8 November 2022, where they received an exclusive, guided tour of the airport’s baggage areas before receiving an update on BIWG activities and POCs from Darin Juby, Director Baggage Services, Greater Toronto Airports Authority, and Head of Baggage Transformation, Future Travel Experience.
This was followed by the FTE Baggage Innovation Summit, which took place on the Expo Stage on 9 November 2022. Led by Juby, the session featured fascinating contributions from Jasper Quak, Managing Director, BAGTAG; Paige See, Manager, Customer Experience (Baggage), Star Alliance; David Cho, Senior Manager, Incheon International Airport Corporation; and Dennis van Kleef, Programme Lead Baggage, Royal Schiphol Group.
FTE Airline/Airport Transformation Power List Asia-Pacific 2022 and APEX Regional Passenger Choice Awards 2023 winners announced
The most transformative change enablers within the industry in Asia-Pacific were recognised at the Future Travel Experience Airline/Airport Transformation Power List Asia-Pacific 2022 awards ceremony during FTE APEX Asia Expo. Six winners received ‘Outstanding Achievement’ trophies: Colin Currie, President (Commercial), Capital A; George Wang, Senior Vice President Information Technology, Singapore Airlines; Kenneth Chang, Executive Vice President, CMO (Marketing & IT Division), Korean Air; Jonathan Good, Chief Technology and Marketing Officer, Auckland Airport; Rama Iyer, Head – Innovation, GMR Group; and Hideharu Miyamoto, Senior Executive Officer / Deputy Executive Divisional Director of Corporate Planning Division, Narita International Airport Corporation. Six of the nominees were also presented with ‘Highly Commended’ certificates. View the full report here.
In addition, APEX took to the stage to honour the airlines from across the region that recently achieved 4 star, 5 star, and World Class status in the APEX Official Airline Ratings. Winners of the 2023 APEX Regional Passenger Choice Awards were also announced during the show.
FTE APEX Asia Expo Reception & Awards After Party
The FTE Airline/Airport Transformation Power List Asia-Pacific 2022 awards ceremony was followed by the FTE APEX Asia Expo Reception & Awards After Party, sponsored by Intelsat, which took place on Level 4 of the Marina Bay Sands Expo & Convention Centre. The event provided a perfect opportunity for attendees to network in a relaxed environment following a busy first day and culminated with a viewing of the spectacular Spectra outdoor light and water show.
Women in Aviation International Singapore Chapter – Networking Session
The Women in Aviation International Singapore Chapter hosted an open networking session at the Collins Aerospace booth during FTE APEX Asia Expo 2022.
Changi Airport Terminal 2 tour
FTE APEX Asia Expo 2022 headline partner Changi Airport Group also facilitated guided tours of the renovated Terminal 2. Attendees experienced a refreshed terminal design and gained insights into the T2 Expansion project, newly upgraded facilities, and revamped areas of the terminal, which includes a variety of self-service and automated processes designed to enhance efficiency and the customer experience.
Mark your diary for FTE APEX Asia Expo 2023 – Singapore, 8-9 November
The free to attend FTE APEX Asia Expo will return to the Marina Bay Sands Expo & Convention Centre in Singapore on 8-9 November 2023. Mark your diary today! Find out more information about the event here.