The Airline Industry Gathered in California for a Historic Record-Breaking EXPO

APEX/IFSA Global EXPO Brought Together 3,000+ Airline Industry Insiders

More than 3,000 of the top airline industry decision-makers, including representatives from nearly 100 airlines, walked the industry’s most comprehensive show floor, APEX/IFSA Global EXPO. Co-located with FTE at the Long Beach Convention Center in California, the three-day record-breaking event saw nearly 250 exhibitors representing the end-to-end passenger experience. 

Attendees experienced the latest airline-related technologies, products, and services such as advanced connectivity, new inflight entertainment screens, incredible assortment of airline food and beverage options, amenity kits focused on sustainability, biometrics, airport robotics, and more. 

“We are thrilled to have hosted our biggest EXPO ever. This truly speaks on the deep commitment of the entire aviation industry and their ongoing efforts to continue elevating the passenger experience,” said Dr. Joe Leader, APEX/IFSA/FTE Group CEO. “Our event exclusively unites the industry as a relentless force and community as we look forward to future innovations, thought leadership progress, and overall end-to-end passenger experience advancements.”

On Wednesday evening, top airline and supplier members honored their peers during the APEX/IFSA Awards Ceremony, an exclusive members-only event, where airlines were recognized for their efforts in enhancing the passenger experience over the last year. The ceremony was co-hosted by Leader, Aaron Heslehurst, BBC World News Talking Business Presenter, along with Mary Kirby, Founder, Editor and Publisher of Runway Girl Network. Outstanding airlines and suppliers innovating and improving the industry received awards and acknowledgment in the following categories: 

  • World Class Rating: Eight airlines were awarded in this premier category of air travel for attainment of international standards of safety well-being, sustainability, service, and inclusiveness. Click here for the awardees and more information on this honor. 
  • APEX Four Star Airline Awards and APEX Five Star Airline Awards: The Four and Five Star airlines were recognized as part of the only airline rating program based solely on verified and certified passenger feedback. Click here for a full list of winners. 
  • APEX/IFSA Awards: Airlines and suppliers who have successfully implemented new programs and services this year were honored. Click here for the full list of winners. 

Click here for more information on the 2024 awards and winners.

During the Ceremony, APEX honored Qatar Airways' Group Chief Executive Officer His Excellency Akbar Al Baker with the 2024 APEX CEO Lifetime Achievement Award for his visionary leadership, setting industry benchmarks, inspiring global trends, and his dedication to the enhancement of the passenger experience.

The last day featured a day-long Thought Leadership Conference emceed by Aaron Heslehurst, bringing together prominent aviation leaders who shared their insight on various topics, such as: 

  • Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive Officer His Excellency Akbar Al Baker took center stage to discuss his management style, the carrier’s approach to the pandemic, sustainability, and challenges airlines face.
  • EL AL CEO Dina Ben Tal Ganancia focused on EL AL’s expanding route network, its recently unveiled partnership with Delta Air Lines, and shared her journey as a female CEO in the aviation industry.
  • Spirit Airlines President & CEO Ted Christie provided his thoughts on the JetBlue merger, the importance of technology for passenger experience, and air traffic control issues. 
  • SAUDIA CEO, Captain Ibrahim Koshy detailed SAUDIA’s post-pandemic recovery and shared insights into the airline’s growth strategy, its commitment to sustainability and reducing environmental impact, and also introduced several innovations and products. 
  • Fiji Airways Managing Director and CEO Andre Viljoen discussed the strategies of overcoming challenges, the leadership and organizational culture changes that were critical in surviving the pandemic and highlighted his personal leadership philosophy. 

On the same day, the APEX/IFSA Board of Governors, an exclusive group of airlines executives including: Dina Ben Tal Ganancia, EL AL CEO; Andre Viljoen, Fiji Airways Managing Director & CEO; Alex Wilcox, JSX CEO; Paul Verhagen, SAS EVP & CCO; Captain Ibrahim Koshy, SAUDIA CEO; Ted Christie, Spirit Airlines President & CEO; and Zhao Dong, Xiamen Airlines Chairman, met to consider key industry priorities placed forward by the APEX Board of Directors and IFSA Board of Directors. Afterward, their top-level strategic guidance was presented to the membership of both associations with actions and accomplishment updates over the course of the year. Attendees also took part in breakout sessions that covered topics such Connectivity, Customer, and Content.

For the full list of multiple industry gatherings APEX hosts around the world, please visit APEX Events. If you’re interested in learning more about APEX, visit, sign up for the APEX Daily Experience e-newsletter, or follow APEX on TwitterFacebookInstagram and LinkedIn.


About the Airline Passenger Experience Association (APEX) 

As a global non-profit and one of the world’s largest international airline associations, APEX advances passenger experience with the backing of nearly every major airline and valued supplier over the past 42 years. In conjunction with both the International Flight Services Association (IFSA) and Future Travel Experience (FTE), APEX serves the full spectrum of the end-to-end travel experience. APEX reinvests all its resources to serving its members, strengthening the worldwide airline industry, advancing thought-leadership, fostering business opportunities via events, developing global initiatives, setting key airline standards, and highlighting well-deserved recognition across our industry. 

About the International Flight Services Association (IFSA)

The International Flight Services Association (IFSA) is a global professional association serving the needs and interests of airline and railway personnel, caterers and suppliers who provide onboard services on regularly scheduled travel routes. Under the umbrella of APEX (Airline Passenger Experience Association) serving every major airline in the world, IFSA is dedicated to the advancement of the art and science of the multi-billion dollar inflight and railway onboard service industry. For more information about IFSA, please visit, or follow IFSA on TwitterFacebook, and LinkedIn.  

About the Future Travel Experience (FTE)
Established in 2006, FTE is an independent online media, events, creative, and industry change leader dedicated to working with airports, airlines and industry stakeholders to enhance the end-to-end passenger experience and business performance. It has become a renowned hub through its in-person and digital events, media, accelerator, working groups, and industry change initiatives where the world’s most progressive airlines, airports, vendors, government agencies, cruise and rail operators, destination partners, and various other travel industry stakeholders share their latest passenger experience and business performance plans and visions, to collectively define the future of this sector. FTE is part of the APEX (Airline Passenger Experience Association) and hosts four annual events around the world – FTE Global, FTE Asia EXPO, FTE Europe and FTE Ancillary. FTE supports the innovation efforts of the most progressive stakeholders in the air transport and travel space. 

Contact Information:
Kevin Mendoza
Manager, Strategic Communications
[email protected]

Robin Applebaum
Director, Marketing & Communications
[email protected]

Original Source: The Airline Industry Gathered in California for a Historic Record-Breaking EXPO
Global Media Coverage