EXPO Schedule

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Saturday 22 September 2018

Pre-APEX EXPO Lufthansa FlyingLab
APEX CEO Joe Leader, and Lufthansa Systems CEO Olivier Krüger, will welcome APEX EXPO attendees on board the LH424 from Munich to Boston as part of this year’s Lufthansa FlyingLab.

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Sunday 23 September 2018

15:00 – 18:30

APEX Registration
Boston Convention and Exhibition Center (BCEC), SE Lobby C, Level 1

17:30 – 19:00

APEX Welcome Reception
Join us for appetizers and drinks to kick off the EXPO. Say hello to your old friends, connect with colleagues and make some new contacts. You have the rest of the night on your own to continue your conversations and enjoy Boston.
Westin Boston Waterfront Hotel, Outdoor Pavilion
Sponsored by: Global Eagle

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Monday 24 September 2018

07:30 – 18:00

APEX Registration
BCEC, SE Lobby C, Level 1

07:45 – 08:45

BCEC, Ballroom Pre-function, Level 3
Sponsored by: FTE Asia EXPO

08:45 – 12:10

General Educational Sessions
The Education Day kicks off with keynote addresses focusing on the passenger experience from a range of aviation and technology executives all working to improve the industry and experience.
BCEC, Ballroom, Level 3
Educational Day & Wi-Fi Sponsored by: Panasonic Avionics
Breaks Sponsored by: Encore Inflight Limited
Emcee Sponsored by: BBC World News
2018 Opening Video Sponsored by: Global Eagle

12:10 – 13:30

BCEC, Ballroom Pre-function, Level 3

13:30 – 16:15

Breakout Educational Sessions
Afternoon sessions are divided into specific tracks enabling attendees to learn more about a certain area of interest.
BCEC, Rooms 252-253, Level 2

17:45 – 19:15

APEX Awards Ceremony
The industry's best-of-the-best are awarded at this evening awards ceremony. The APEX Awards recognize the best airlines and vendor partners in passenger experience, from ticket purchase to final arrival, and were selected by industry peers and experts. This red carpet event will include cocktails and light appetizers.
BCEC, Ballroom, Level 3
Sponsored by: Spafax; Thales
Bar Sponsored by: Terry Steiner International, Inc.
Presentation Sponsored by: Global Eagle

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Tuesday 25 September 2018

07:30 – 18:00

APEX Registration
BCEC, SE Lobby C, Level 1

07:30 – 08:45

Airline Breakfast
Westin Boston Waterfront Hotel, Otis
Open to Airline Members Only

09:00 – 18:00

BCEC, Exhibit Hall C

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Wednesday 26 September 2018

08:00 - 09:00

APEX Annual General Meeting
The Annual General Meeting (AGM) is held each year at the EXPO for the purpose of receiving the annual reports from officers, directors and committees, and for the transaction of other association business. Meet the new Board of Directors, voted on by members online prior to the EXPO. All APEX members are strongly encouraged to attend and participate in the highly interactive discussion about the future of the industry and the organization.
BCEC, Room 160 B, Level 1

08:00 – 18:00

APEX Registration
BCEC, SE Lobby C, Level 1

09:00 – 18:00

BCEC, Exhibit Hall C

19:30 – 22:30

APEX Networking Event
After building relationships and strengthening partnerships on the EXPO floor, meet your industry colleagues for a night of networking.
Seaport World Trade Center, Headhouse Concourse
Sponsored By: SmartSky

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Thursday 27 September 2018

08:00 – 15:00

APEX Registration
BCEC, SE Lobby C, Level 1

09:00 – 17:00

BCEC, Exhibit Hall C

Educational Sessions

All Educational Sessions Will Take Place Monday 24 September

Educational Day & Wi-Fi Sponsored By: Panasonic Avionics
Emcee Sponsored By: BBC Studios World News
2018 Opening Video Sponsored by: Global Eagle

07:45 – 08:45             Breakfast
Sponsored by: FTE Asia EXPO

08:45 – 09:00             Welcome & Introduction
• Katie Goshgarian, Executive Director, APEX
• Aaron Heslehurst, Presenter, Talking Business, BBC World News
• Joe Leader, CEO, APEX / IFSA
• Brian Richardson, President, APEX; American Airlines

09:00 – 09:30 
            KEYNOTE ADDRESS: American Airlines
Presented by: Doug Parker, Chairman & Chief Executive Officer, American Airlines

09:30 – 10:00             KEYNOTE ADDRESS: Aer Lingus
Presented by: Stephen Kavanagh, Chief Executive Officer & Executive Director, Aer Lingus

10:00 – 10:30            KEYNOTE ADDRESS: Aeroméxico
Presented by: Dr. Andrés Conesa, Chief Executive Officer, Aeroméxico

10:30 – 11:00              Networking Break
Sponsored by: Encore Inflight Limited

11:00 – 11:30             KEYNOTE ADDRESS: LATAM Airlines Group
Presented by: Claudia Sender, CEO, LATAM Airlines Brasil; Vice President of Customers, LATAM Airlines Group       

11:30 – 12:00             KEYNOTE ADDRESS: Air Canada
Presented by: Calin Rovinescu, President & Chief Executive Officer, Air Canada 

12:00 – 12:10             Think Outside the Box. Differentiating the Experience = More Revenue
Branded fares and differentiation is only growing more in popularity, but is the industry doing enough with upselling its offerings? Hear why we must go beyond bags when marketing offers to customers, get real insights from data never revealed and learn how a better experience translates to more revenue for your airline.
Presented by: Jonathan Savitch, Chief Commercial Officer, Routehappy by ATPCO

12:10 – 13:30             Networking Lunch

13:30 – 16:15              Breakout Sessions

13:30 – 14:15            KEYNOTE ADDRESS: Spirit Airlines (B1)
Presented by: Robert Fornaro, CEO, Spirit Airlines

13:30 – 14:15            BREAKOUT 1 (A1, C1, D1)

14:15 – 14:30             BREAK
Sponsored by: Encore Inflight Limited

14:30 – 15:15            BREAKOUT 2 (A2, B2, C2, D2)

15:15 – 15:30            BREAK
Sponsored by: Encore Inflight Limited

15:30 – 16:15            BREAKOUT 3 (A3, B3, C3, D3)

TRACK A. Content
Take a look at world-class entertainment options featuring the latest movies, TV shows, hottest games, handy apps, and more. Explore ways to take progress relationships with airlines, CSPs and content providers. Take an in-depth look at programming for the global audience taking various factors into consideration including passenger demand, BYOD, streaming, licensing, demographics, and more.
BCEC, Room 253 C, Level 2

13:30 – 14:15                 A1       The Future of IFEC – Building a Personalized Experience
This session will bring together findings of reports addressing the future of IFC, IFE, and IFE content to share a holistic perspective of the IFEC industry today and where it is heading while sharing the opportunities and challenges that lie ahead. Current data and forecasts will be leveraged to offer an overview of key IFEC trends and illustrate what the competitive environment looks like today and how it will change. Additionally, explore how the three areas are converging to create true personalization in the cabin that improves passenger experience.
Presented by:
• Craig Foster, Valour Consultancy, Senior Analyst
• Daniel Welch, Valour Consultancy, Senior Analyst

14:30 – 15:15                 A2       Five Things to Consider for Your Next-Gen IFE Content Strategy
Next-Gen AVOD systems and connectivity services with corresponding improved insights from data are quickly changing the traditional IFE experience. A closer look at the data reveals however, that simply replicating the content experience on the ground doesn’t always translate to success in the air. This session will demonstrate why, for example, box-office success is not a direct correlation to passenger engagement on board and how airlines need to look deeper than weekend totals and IMDB ratings in order to develop the right kind of content strategy.
Presented by:
• João de Moraes Chaves Neto, LATAM Airlines Group, Senior Product Manager IFEC
• Andrea Whyte, Spafax, Director of Commercial Content Strategy

15:30 – 16:15                 A3       Content Delivery Methods, Screening & Clearance
Review the impact that new and existing methods have on workflow processes, timelines and costs. The following topics regarding content screening and clearance will be discussed: effects of distributors’ move away from MPEG-1; effects on available recall files; file formats for Wi-Fi streaming solutions; online screeners and streaming content; timeline of release; explanation of hold-backs; impact of digital technologies on global release schedules.
Moderator: Kate Groth, West Entertainment, VP, Content and Client Services
• Alessandro DiGiovanna, Terry Steiner International, Director of Sales and Marketing
• Matt Goldstein, Sony Pictures Releasing, Executive Director, Non-Theatrical Sales Operations
• Roger Grange, Global Eagle, VP Global Sales, Content & Media
• Tal Kalderon, El Al Israel Airline, Content & Media Manager

TRACK B. Technology

Evaluate technologies that play a crucial role in bettering the passenger experience, not only for passengers but also for airlines and the multiple vendors involved in creating this experience. In the rapidly changing aviation market, how can investments and technologies last for the long haul? Technical experts will review and discuss special projects of the APEX Technology Committee including specifications and standards for the airline industry focused upon applying new technologies to the passenger experience.
BCEC, Room 253 B, Level 2

13:30 – 14:15                 B1       Invest in the Guest: Utilization of Technology to Enhance PaxEx
Spirit Airlines will discuss the importance of Wi-Fi and connectivity for LCCs to enhance guest offerings, operational efficiency, and Net Promoter Score.
Presented by:
• Robert Fornaro, Spirit Airlines, CEO
• Joe Leader, APEX, CEO
• Fred Schreiner, Thales InFlyt Experience, Chief Technology Officer

14:30 – 15:15                 B2      Streamlining IFE Content Delivery in the Cloud: A Case Study
While other segments of the entertainment industry have moved into the cloud, IFE has remained in a 45 to 60-day, terrestrial-based content delivery supply chain—except for a handful of companies that have demonstrated a proof-of-concept over a three-year period showing how a cloud-based, highly-automated content delivery supply chain can move IFE out of the 30-day static program cycle, put content onboard quicker and with less expense, enable programmatic advertising, and streamline content delivery utilizing mature technologies. Lufthansa Systems, Amazon Web Services, castLabs and Venera Technologies push back the curtain and reveal the next generation of content delivery in an actual Case Study on cloud computing in IFE.
Moderator: Michael Childers, APEX, Board Member & Technology Committee Chair; Lufthansa Systems, Chief Consultant Content & Media Strategy
• Fereidoon Khosravi, Venera Technologies, SVP Business Development
• Dirk Ottens, Lufthansa Systems, Senior Manager Content & Media Strategy
Michael Stattmann, castLabs, CEO
Mark Stephens, Amazon Web Services, Partner Solutions Architect

15:30 – 16:15                 B3       Connectivity: Status Update and Highlights
This session will offer an overview of the current state of the connectivity market including a review of the APEX Connectivity Working Group’s progress to develop best practice industry guidelines to measure, compare and sustain metrics for inflight-connectivity service quality. The session will shine a spotlight on how connectivity delivers powerful economic benefits and efficiencies to airlines across operations, safety and environmental areas. Discussions will also address revenue generation, based on measurable requirements for satisfactory connectivity service to provide for a great passenger experience.
Moderator: Stephan Schulte, Lufthansa; APEX Connectivity Working Group Chair
• Jack Mandala, Seamless Air Alliance, CEO
• Colin Sage, Viasat, Director of Business Development
• Mariya Stoyanova, JetBlue Airways, Head of Product Development

Airlines and their partners are able to engage with passengers at many stages along their journey. What are some ways that the industry uses these touchpoints as opportunities to enhance experiences and generate loyalty? Assess the multiple ways organizations are using predictive analysis, passenger feedback, demographic and economic growth figures, and travel trends to improve the passenger experience.
BCEC, Room 253 A, Level 2

13:30 – 14:15                 C1       Leveraging the Lounge Experience as Part of the Customer Journey
Lounge access offers many benefits to the passenger, but why do airlines invest in the on-the-ground experience – to build loyalty, offer rewards, or generate brand awareness? Check out some of the world’s best lounges and their relation to the in-the-air experience by addressing content, connectivity, catering, amenities, seating, and more.
Moderator: Tyler Dikman, LoungeBuddy, CEO
• Nick Richards, American Airlines, Director, Premium Services / Customer Experience
• Janis Tse, Plaza Premium Group, Marketing Director
• Ronald Verkaaik, SkyTeam, Director Marketing, Customer Experience and Digital Innovations

14:30 – 15:15              C2       Influence of Biometrics on the Ease, Safety, and Efficiency of Travel
Industry leaders and government agencies have been collaborating to enable international service to benefit from the speed processing of biometric exit, the benefit of biometric entry, and the potential to make travel seamless throughout the travel continuum.  Biometrics are envisioned to facilitate instant passenger recognition enabling boarding without boarding passes and personally serving passengers by name and by preferences anywhere in the air travel experience. This session will explore current initiatives and share an outlook on the future of travel.
Presented by:
John Laughter, Delta Air Lines, SVP Corporate Safety, Security & Compliance
• John Wagner, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), Deputy Executive Assistant Commissioner, Office of Field Operations (OFO)

15:30 – 16:15                 C3       Cabin Concepts
Revenue space maximization, both ticket and non-ticket related revenues, remains the baseline for cabin concepts and airline operations. But it has to cope with changing passenger expectations, adaptions of airline business models and brand recognition. The session will outline key trends shaping new cabin concepts. By questioning the key driver for cabin definitions it will also look into radical new cabin concepts for a longer term future.
Presented by:
• Daniel Kerrison, flydubai, VP of Inflight Product
• Stefan List, Airbus, Head of Product Marketing Cabin Programme

TRACK D. Inflight Services
Identifying passenger preferences and providing a personalized offering is key to customer satisfaction. Today’s savvy travellers not only consider taste and quality, but also environmental impact, physiological benefit and often locality that drive unique experiences. Airlines, caterers, and suppliers collate offerings to provide such experiences while also minimizing waste, achieving ancillary revenue and adhering to regulations from a range of global governing bodies. Explore ways to address these requests and requirements.
BCEC, Room 252 B, Level 2

13:30 – 14:15                 D1       Data Driven Revenue Generation
Take an extensive review of passenger data including transactional information and social cues, sprinkle in predictive analysis and you have the ingredients to create a tailored inflight offering. Such customization derived from this data analysis and trend spotting results in superior inventory control and waste reduction, both of which reduce costs and drive revenue. This session features a case study on these partnering industry players and how their venture meets airline and their own corporate goals.
Moderator: Maryann Simson, APEX Media, Director
• David Bartlett, Panasonic Avionics Corporation, CTO
• Steve King, Black Swan, CEO
• John Moriarty, gategroup, Chief Retail Officer
• Ingo Wuggetzer, Airbus, VP Cabin Marketing

14:30 – 15:15                 D2       Stay in the Know: Government Affairs & Regulatory Updates
Hosted by the IFSA Government Affairs & Education Committee, this session will feature food safety experts who will address topics affecting the airline catering industry ranging from FSMA, food safety plans, preventive controls plans, and labeling. The session will also include current and upcoming regulatory issues within the European Union.
Moderator: Robin Swenson-Moore, Delta Air Lines, Delta Charter Catering Manager
• Jose Ceballos, USDA APHIS, National Policy Manager
Dean Davidson, IFSA Food Safety Consultant; retired Food and Drug Administration
• Amber Drown, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), Senior Agriculture Operations Manager
Bruce Kummer, Food and Drug Administration, Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, Manager, Interstate Travel Program / Retail Food Protection
Susanne Meyer, Kellen Brussels, Association Director; IFSA EU Task Force liaison
Jessica O’Connell, Covington & Burling LLP, Special Counsel
Brett Podoski, Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition / OFS / MCF, Supervisor, Refrigerated and Frozen Foods Team

15:30 – 16:15              D3       Connecting Data: Always-On Customer Service
There is a new category of technology that is emerging across the world, in which a system does complex work on behalf of its user. Low-level artificial intelligence acts as an agent and delivers on the promises of technology more than ever before. Additionally, by stitching together disparate data sources into a cohesive whole, AI systems provide personalized recommendations and return value to the customer. These systems create business value by providing a new revenue platform with opportunities for targeted advertisements from a detailed customer profile. This session will explore how disruptive companies across interconnected industries like airlines, financial services and transportation are leveraging AI to optimize each customer interaction in real-time.
Moderator: Gary Townsend, Black Swan, Chief Innovation Officer
Panelists: Louis Saint-Cyr, WestJet Airlines, Vice President, Guest Experience
Others tbc

*All educational sessions are subject to change


Meet the Speakers

David Bartlett

Chief Technology Officer, Panasonic Avionics CorporationWe are pushing the boundaries of technology to create the next generation of travel experience. I am leading this with a focus on digital strategy and transformation, including everything from IT business strategy and security, to data science and UX led innovation.

I am focused on enabling our customers to win by enabling a Platform approach to open collaboration. For the airline, industry digitization is a high priority, but we must move beyond buzzwords like Big Data, Machine Learning, AI and IoT to practical projects that can engage customers and help airlines achieve the new outcomes they require.

Why Panasonic? I believe Panasonic’s guiding principles apply directly to my work style including cooperation and team spirit, adaptability, an untiring effort for improvement, fairness, and humility. Combine that with the deep engineering talent that you find at Panasonic and there is no place I would rather be.

My work in the transportation sector started with IBM as VP of Industry Solutions. I also served as CTO for GE Aviation and CTO for GE intelligent Buildings where my corporate campus work was nominated along with Facebook and Google. Other recognitions include Top 15 people in the world to watch for Intelligent (IoT) buildings, Author of ‘Internet of Things and Data Analytics’, and board member of the Industrial Internet Consortium.

Along with a Bachelor’s degree in Biology and Chemistry and a Master’s program in Computer Science, I hold an MBA from Kenan-Flagler, UNC at Chapel Hill and a Master’s and PMP certification from George Washington. One could say that I am both a computer scientist and a technical-focused ecologist who cares deeply about leaving the world a better place for future generations.

Jose Ceballos

National Policy Manager, USDA APHIS

Michael Childers

Board Member & Technology Committee Chair, APEX
Chief Consultant Content & Media Strategy, Lufthansa Systems

With more than 40 years’ experience in inflight entertainment & connectivity, and non-theatrical distribution, Michael has combined 12 years as COO of the first and largest independent content provider in IFE with more than 20 years’ experience in content management and delivery. His current focus is the integration and automation of the IFE content delivery supply chain, content security protocols, and content acquisition and licensing. His specialties include content acquisition and licensing, content management, supply chain integration & automation, and IFEC business modeling and planning.

He has served on the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) PED ARC and was appointed by the U.S. Secretary of Transportation to the Department of Transportation’s (DOT) ACCESS Advisory Committee. Michael has been active in WAEA since 1979, and was COO of the first independent content provider in IFE. In 2006 he became CEO of LightStream Communications Group focusing on automation and integration of the content delivery supply chain. He became an independent IFEC consultant in 2000, was Managing Director, Content & Media Strategy, for The IMS Company from 2006 through 2009, and has been Chief Consultant, Content & Media Strategy, for Lufthansa Systems since 2011. During this time he has also been an industry journalist, including two years as Managing Editor of the APEX Newsletter, and as a contributor to EXPERIENCE Magazine, Aircraft Interiors, and others.

In September 2013 he was honored by the Airline Passenger Experience Association (APEX) with its Outstanding Contribution Award. He was the seventh recipient of the award since the Association was founded; Sir Richard Branson was the first. Michael is a member of the APEX Board of Directors and chair of its Technology Committee .


Dr. Andrés Conesa

Chief Executive Officer, Aeroméxico

Dr. Andrés Conesa was appointed as CEO of Grupo Aeroméxico in 2005. He has been a member of the IATA Board of Governors since 2008 and was elected IATA’s Chairman during the 2015 term. He has served as Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Latin American and Caribbean Air Transport Association (ALTA) and the Mexican Directive Council of the National Chamber of Aviation (CANAERO).

Prior to these appointments, from 1990 through 2005 he held several senior positions in the Mexican government, including Chairman of CINTRA’s Board of Directors (the holding company of Aeroméxico and Mexicana), Deputy Undersecretary of Public Credit with the Ministry of Finance. Mr. Conesa has also been member of the Boards of Directors of several public companies including the Mexican Stock Exchange from 2006 to 2007, Genomma Lab International from 2012 through 2015, Ienova 2013-2017 and since 2016 a member of the Board at Sempra, one of the most important energy companies in the US and currently listed on the NYSE.

Andrés holds a PhD in Economics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and a bachelor’s degree in Economics from the Autonomous Technological Institute of Mexico (ITAM).


Louis Saint-Cyr

Vice President, Guest Experience, WestJet Airlines

Louis Saint-Cyr joined WestJet on November 17, 2015 as the Vice President of Airports and Cargo. In April of 2019, he changed roles and is now the Vice President of Guest Experience. Louis now has responsibility for Inflight, Onboard Service, Catering, Contact Centres, Social Care, Training Design, and Guest Support Teams. The Guest Experience team also works closely with internal constituents to ensure a seamless journey for our guests. This means collaborating closely with our digital and brand teams.
Before joining WestJet, Louis spent twelve years at Hawaiian Airlines. First joining the airline as their Vice President of In-Flight and later as their Vice President of Airports. Louis started his airline career at Air Canada where he held several leadership positions. His last position before leaving for Hawaiian Airlines was General Manager of Cabin Crew Planning and Scheduling.
A native of Ottawa, Louis holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science from the University of Concordia (Montreal) and a Master of Science in industrial relations from the University of Quebec.
He and his wife live in Calgary with their three teenage children.


Alessandro DiGiovanna

Director of Sales and Marketing, Terry Steiner International

Alessandro DiGiovanna is the Director of Sales and Marketing at Terry Steiner International in New York City.  He manages all aspects of short subject and documentary programming including acquisitions, sales, marketing and operations.


Having launched his career at TSI nearly eight years ago after graduating from Babson College and interning in entertainment PR, Alessandro has spent his time at TSI growing the short subject business from the ground up.  Having fostered relationships with existing and new clients to pushing forward innovative ideas and products into the IFE space, he continues to eagerly find ways to make the inflight experience an exciting one for passengers.


Tyler Dikman

Co-Founder and CEO of LoungeBuddy

Tyler Dikman is the co-founder and CEO of LoungeBuddy — a global platform that elevates your airport experience by making it a memorable chapter of your journey.  Millions of travelers rely on LoungeBuddy’s comprehensive global airport lounge content and access rules, along with an industry-leading inventory management platform to discover, book, and access their premium airport experience in seconds.

Tyler co-founded LoungeBuddy to solve a problem he experienced while flying over 2 million miles.  Airport lounges were designed to cater to travelers flying in first and business class and those with elite status, yet airport lounge information was generic and confusing.  Travelers didn’t know where to go or what to expect inside these exclusive spaces.  For travelers without access, the options available in an airport that offer a premium experience are limited or non-existent.  The LoungeBuddy platform was created to provide the most accurate resource for airport lounge information in the world while helping airport lounges to generate ancillary revenue by selling their excess capacity to travelers who don’t have access only when space permits.

Prior to LoungeBuddy, Tyler started a technology consulting company at the age of 15, co-founded a consumer-focused startup at the age of 23, and was in charge of partnerships for a technology infrastructure startup.  Tyler has appeared in hundreds of media sources around the world including Fortune, WSJ, NY Times, Reuters, CNBC, NPR, LA Times, and was named a Top 25 Entrepreneur under the age of 25 by Businessweek — two years in a row.  Tyler has accepted numerous awards on behalf of LoungeBuddy including Concur’s “Best Innovation for Business Travelers”, Airline Information’s “Ancillary Revenue Innovation of the Year”, and Expedia’s “Travel Innovation of the Year”.


Amber Drown

Senior Agriculture Operations Manager, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP)

Robert Fornaro

Chief Executive Officer, Spirit Airlines

Robert Fornaro was appointed as the Chief Executive Officer of Spirit, the largest Ultra-Low Cost Carrier in the United States, Latin America and the Caribbean, in January 2016. He became a member of, and will continue to be a member of, the Spirit Airlines Board of Directors in May 2014.

Prior to his appointment as CEO of Spirit he served as President of Parkview Partners LLC, an Orlando-based transportation and travel industry advisory firm. Mr. Fornaro retired as Chairman, CEO and President of AirTran Holdings, Inc., and its subsidiary, AirTran Airways in May 2011. Fornaro joined AirTran in March 1999 as President and Chief Financial Officer, was named Chief Operating Officer and elected to the board of directors in 2001, and became Chief Executive Officer in 2007.

Fornaro has more than 35 years of marketing, planning, finance and general management experience. Bob also has substantial experience in financial turnarounds and operational restructurings. During his tenure at AirTran, the Company transformed itself from a regional to an international airline and experienced a near seven-fold increase in revenue to nearly $3 billion. AirTran achieved the unique position of being the lowest cost provider of any major U.S. airline as well as achieving industry – leading service metrics.

Prior to joining AirTran Airways, he operated a successful aviation consulting practice. From 1992 to 1997, Fornaro served as senior vice president – planning for US Airways where he directed the company’s route planning, pricing and revenue management and overall corporate strategy. From 1988 to 1992, Fornaro held the position of senior vice president – marketing planning at Northwest Airlines. His responsibilities included strategy and planning as well as managing Northwest’s international alliances and regional airline partner relationships.

Fornaro holds a Master’s degree in City & Regional Planning from Harvard University and a Bachelor’s degree in economics from Rutgers College.


Craig Foster

Senior Consultant and Co-Founder, Valour Consultancy

Craig Foster is the co-founder of Valour Consultancy, a leading provider of market intelligence and consultancy to the aviation community. He has extensive experience covering a wide variety of technology markets including the Internet of Things, M2M, smart home, smart grid, home energy management, maritime VSAT and in-flight entertainment and connectivity. Foster has been an industry analyst for seven years and is based in Leicester in the United Kingdom.

Prior to establishing Valour Consultancy, he was a principal analyst at ABI Research and a market analyst at IMS Research. At ABI, he launched a new research area devoted to the home automation market, before focusing his efforts on expanding the research portfolio of the company’s M2M service. At IMS, Foster’s research focused on the power transmission and low voltage products markets, after which he moved on to take responsibility for the company’s then-nascent aerospace research group. Foster also engages in some freelance analytical work and has completed projects for the likes of Datamonitor, Gigaom Research, Futuresource Consulting, Navigant Research and Tractica.

Foster is a regular participant in panel discussions and webinars and has been widely quoted in trade journals, magazines, and other forms of online and print media, most notably Forbes and The Sunday Times. He holds a BA in economics from the University of Leicester.


Federico Germani

Chief Commercial Officer, gategroup

Federico Germani joined gategroup as Chief Commercial Officer in October 2017. Mr. Germani is a seasoned aviation industry expert with more than 14 years of experience in the Latam Group where he held the position of Corporate Senior Vice President for Services and Innovation, and several corporate global leadership roles first based in the U.S. and later in Brazil. Before joining Latam Group, Federico held leadership roles in McKinsey, Goldman Sachs and IBM. Mr. Germani holds an MBA in marketing and finance from the Kellogg School of Management and an MSc in Industrial Engineering from Instituto Tecnologico of Buenos Aires.


Matt Goldstein

Executive Director, Non-Theatrical Sales Operations, Sony Pictures Releasing

Matt Goldstein is the Executive Director of Operations for the Sony Pictures Worldwide Non-Theatrical & Repertory Sales department. Having worked at Sony for 19 years, today Matt oversees non-theatrical operations, including the confirmation of legal rights and release dates, providing screeners and language information, and maintaining an efficient workflow. His team does whatever is necessary to ensure Sony content makes it onboard the aircraft each month.

Customer service has always been an important part of Matt’s career. His aim is to provide consumers with a more enjoyable life through entertainment. Before moving to California, Matt worked in television at WYZZ in Illinois and was on the air as a D.J. at radio station WIHN.

Roger Grange

VP Global Sales Content & Media

Roger has worked in the IFE industry for over 25 years. He has overall responsibility for content and media sales worldwide within Global Eagle including CSP services, games and apps. Roger has worked in a number of key roles including Managing Director of IFP Singapore, VP Content and Acquisition and VP Account Management. Previously Roger worked at BBC Radio as a Studio Manager and BSkyB as Presentation Director.


Kate Groth

VP, Content and Client Services, West Entertainment

Kate is passionate about airlines and entertainment, and is leading the fly and cruise teams with the same high level of enthusiasm that you all know and love. She has much success in building successful CSP businesses while also having the privilege of working with a global network of clients. With an emphasis on delivering content strategies on brand and in style, she builds successful teams that deliver on promises.


Aaron Heslehurst

Presenter, Talking Business, BBC World News

Aaron Heslehurst is one of the main faces on BBC World News. He’s been a high profile BBC business news presenter since February 2002.

In May of 2017 he launched his own named show Talking Business with Aaron Heslehurst, a daily half hour global show delivering the big business stories and the latest innovations in technology, cutting through the jargon with top CEO interviews.

Aaron has also interviewed some of the world’s biggest corporate leaders and leaders, from the World Bank, the IMF, the European Union and the World Trade Organisation. His passion and specialty lies in the global aviation industry. Aaron has interviewed the heads of most of the world’s largest and leading airlines.

In 2018 Aaron was named in the top 120 of the World’s Most Influential Business Journalists list by Richtopia, and in 2009 he won “Best Industry Commentator of the Year” , voted by the British Public in the Daily Telegraph Wealth Management Awards.

Over the past 16 years Aaron has presented across the BBC, including on the 24 hour News Channel, the BBC Travel Show and as part of the presenter team on BBC Breakfast, the acclaimed morning program on BBC One in the UK.

Prior to joining BBC World News, Aaron was a Senior News Anchor with CNBC Nordic, a branch of NBC America, based in Denmark. He was the European Bureau Chief for Paramount Pictures and Real TV News in the USA and later in London. Aaron graduated first in his class from university in California with an honours degree in Broadcast Journalism and Media Studies.

Aaron is a native of Sydney, Australia.


Tal Kalderon

Content & Media Manager, El Al Israel Airline

Tal has worked in the Content & Media field for more than 25 years.

He began as a television producer and director, and in 2006 was invited to be El Al’s consultant for upgrading its IFE user experience.

He has since developed several concepts for entertainment platforms, the latest of which is for the eX3 on El Al’s Dreamliners.

During the years and as much that he got in to the IFE industry he was asked from EL AL to become the IFEC manager and to build and develop the content concept for all kind of platforms.
The digital generation opened a wide range of options on the content side and it was a challenge for him to recognize and develop all methods to exploit the technology.
Keeping the process of evolution and development Tal continue to lead the IFEC sector for EL AL.


Stephen Kavanagh

Chief Executive Officer & Executive Director, Aer Lingus

Stephen Kavanagh was appointed as Chief Executive Officer and executive director with effect from 1 March 2015. Prior to his appointment as Chief Executive Officer, Stephen had served as Chief Strategy & Planning Officer since early 2014 and before that Chief Commercial Officer from 2009. Stephen joined the Company in 1988; he undertook a number of analytical and management roles in fleet scheduling and business planning departments before being appointed Operations Planning Manager in 2003. He joined the senior management team in March 2006 as Planning Director and was appointed Corporate Planning Director in November 2007. He is a graduate of University College Dublin.


Daniel Kerrison

Vice President, INFLIGHT Product

Since joining flydubai’s start-up team, Dan has led the strategic development of the airline’s inflight experience. His responsibilities include the evolution of the cabin interior and award-winning inflight entertainment product, and management of inflight retail and catering operations. Dan has overseen the introduction of the Boeing Sky Interior, Lumexis IFE and most recently Geven’s “COMODA” Business Class seat, in each instance as the launch customer.

Dan joined the Guest Service Systems division at Virgin Blue during the airline’s start-up in 2000, then Emirates Airline’s Service Delivery and Cabin Crew Management team in 2006.

Dan has a Master of Aviation Management degree from Griffith University.


Steve King

CEO and Co-Founder, Black Swan

Steve King is the CEO and Co-Founder of Black Swan, the fastest growing start up in the UK, which combines cutting edge data science and software development to accurately predict trends in consumer behaviour. Since reading Cognitive Science the 90s, Steve has applied his tech, coding and visualisation skills to solving his clients’ challenges, helping them work out what will be important tomorrow by arming them with products that transform the way their brands create value from data. Black Swan works with some of the world’s leading consumer-faced brands including PepsiCo, Panasonic, npower and Disney.


Fereidoon Khosravi

SVP Business Development, Venera Technologies

Fereidoon has been leading the Business Development for Venera Technologies (www.veneratech.com) for the Americas region since 2010. He is a 30+ year veteran in the Information Technology, Business Development, and Digital Media, with specific emphasis on all aspects of digital content, workflow and delivery for the last 18 years. Fereidoon was the CIO of one of the first digital video delivery platforms in the US and has extensive experience working with Hollywood Studios and US production and post production houses. He has been instrumental in introducing Venera’s various QC products to the Media companies in Americas. He works closely with technology partners and specialized industry organizations such as Apex and various IFE system providers. Fereidoon holds a Master of Science degree (with distinction) in Information Systems from University of Michigan, USA.


John Laughter

SVP Corporate Safety, Security & Compliance, Delta Air Lines

John Laughter is Senior Vice President – Corporate Safety, Security and
Compliance for Delta Air Lines, responsible for supporting all Delta
departments in achieving the highest levels of safety, security, quality, and
environmental performance.

John began his career in 1993 at Delta as an aircraft structural engineer and
held various leadership positions in the Engineering group, including interiors
engineering and new aircraft acquisition. He also led the TechOps
materials and planning organization as well as directed Delta TechOps’
worldwide maintenance operations.

Currently, John chairs the Georgia Tech Aerospace Engineering School
Advisory Board, and serves on the board of the Delta Flight Museum, Atlanta Habitat for Humanity, and Board of Visitors of the Monastery of the Holy Spirit.
John holds a bachelor’s degree in Aerospace Engineering from the Georgia
Institute of Technology and a MBA from Emory University’s Goizueta
Business School.


Joe Leader

Chief Executive Officer, APEX (Airline Passenger Experience Association) and IFSA (International Flight Services Association)

As CEO of APEX (Airline Passenger Experience Association) and IFSA (International Flight Services Association) Joe Leader has initiated strategic collaborations for the associations with key industry organizations to advance the interests of participating groups, their members, their customers and their passengers. Partnerships include Aircraft Interiors EXPO, Future Travel Experience, SKIFT, and Global Connected Aircraft Summit. Leader continues to work with members and working groups to improve universal standards, key industry research, and regulatory advocacy.

As passenger experience becomes a growing profit center for airlines, Leader works with senior executives at all of the world’s leading airlines, top industry suppliers, government organizations, and major media groups, to expand APEX’s global industry leadership. A forerunner in aviation and technology, Leader has been a leading executive for more than two decades across technology and aviation companies. Leader holds undergraduate and graduate degrees from Emory University, MBA in technology management, and conducted his business Ph.D. research on accelerating technology adoption in aviation.


Stefan List

Head of Product Marketing Cabin Programme, Airbus

Stefan is leading the trend- and market research team within Airbus Cabin Programme, dedicated to explore the future for cabins and testing innovative concepts with lead users. Before of that he was in charge for the cabin innovation strategy within Airbus, developing futuristic cabin concepts as well as cabin products flying today. With the Concept Cabin 2050, a disruptive consumer centric approach to design aircraft cabins, he and his team created a vision well known in the industry. Before joining Airbus, Stefan spent 12 years at the Daimler Future Research Think Tank in Berlin, Palo Alto and Kyoto. He was involved in the development of various car concepts, concepts for autonomous driving as well as new forms of mobility.


Jack Mandala

CEO, Seamless Air Alliance

Jack Mandala serves as the Chief Executive Officer of Seamless Air Alliance, an organization founded by Airbus, Delta, OneWeb, Sprint and Airtel tasked with ushering in a new era of innovation to make in flight connectivity fast, reliable and easy-to-access. Previously he was with Qualcomm for 12 years most recently as their Director, Global Market Development. In this role, he executed strategy to commercialize products, develop new markets and grow revenue. He drove technical and business discussions, recruited partners for industry alliances and technology trials. Prior to this position, he served as Lifecomm’s Chief Financial Officer. In this role he developed and funded Qualcomm’s 1st wireless health services venture that launched in May 2010.


João de Moraes

Senior Product Manager for IFEC, LATAM Airlines Group

João de Moraes is the Senior Product Manager for IFEC in LATAM Airlines Group. He is responsible for Product and Content strategy for the LATAM Play product.

João has joined the company back in 2011 as IFE Analyst, during the TAM-LAN combination and creation of the LATAM Airlines Group. In 2014 he has transitioned from the Brazilian offices in São Paulo to Santiago de Chile, to be in charge of the IFE product line for Narrow Bodied aircraft’s, where he had the challenge to lead the product design and management for W-IFE project, which contemplated 215 aircraft’s, and it has lead to over 5 million app downloads and an average on board take rate of 15-20%. Now, João is focused on implementing connectivity, which will soon be released in the Brazilian market, and to consolidate the whole LATAM IFEC experience from both Narrow and Wide Bodied aircraft´s under the LATAM Play product concept.

With a Bachelor degree in Advertising and a MBA with emphasis in Marketing

in FGV, João has dedicated his career to work with technology, communication and products.


Susanne Meyer

Association Director, Kellen Company

Susanne, an association director at Kellen’s Brussels office, has been serving European trade associations in the food sector since 2005.  With over 20 years’ experience following EU food policy, agricultural policy, trade policy and regulatory affairs, Susanne has a thorough understanding of the intricacies of the EU decision making process, and has a proven track record of successful advocacy. She also manages consulting projects for food industry clients.  Prior to managing associations she worked as research assistant in the European Parliament in the areas of food safety and consumer legislation.  Susanne holds a Master degree in Modern Languages and Educational Sciences from Leipzig University. A German national, she speaks fluent English and French, good Russian as well as basic Dutch.


John Moriarty

Chief Retail Officer, gategroup

John joined gategroup as Chief Retail Officer in August 2015.  He leads the gateretail Centre of Excellence.  John has a wealth of travel retail experience with over 20 years in the industry, specializing in Strategy, Business Development and Operational roles.  Before joining gategroup, he advanced through several leadership positions with the travel retail company Aer Rianta International overseeing their five airport operations in Russia.  John holds a qualification from London Business School.

Dirk Ottens

Director, Content & Media Strategy at Lufthansa Systems

Dirk Ottens is the Director, Content & Media Strategy at Lufthansa Systems for BoardConnect, where he oversees BoardConnects content management services, develops business models with global content partners, and works with clients across multiple markets to create innovative, data-driven entertainment strategies.

Prior to moving to Hamburg, Dirk was based in Los Angeles as Senior Manager Content and Media Strategy for BoardConnect, developing and establishing studio and partner relationships. He is also responsible to develop and setup automated content delivery processes for Lufthansa Systems.

Dirk started his career at Lufthansa Systems in 2000 as a Project Manager at Lufthansa Systems moving to BoardConnect in 2011 .

Doug Parker

Chief Executive Officer, American Airlines

Doug Parker was named Chairman and Chief Executive Officer in 2013. He oversees American Airlines Group and American Airlines, its principal subsidiary company.

Previously, Parker was chairman and CEO of US Airways. Before the merger of US Airways and America West Airlines in 2005, he was chairman, president and chief executive officer of America West. Parker became the CEO at America West just 10 days before Sept. 11, 2001, and led the carrier through the crisis.

Under Parker’s leadership, US Airways achieved record revenue growth, operational performance and profit margins that outpaced most industry peers. Parker has been a vocal proponent of airline industry consolidation, which provides a more stable and competitive industry for employees, customers, communities and stockholders

Parker’s experience prior to joining America West in 1995 includes four years with Northwest Airlines as vice president, assistant treasurer and vice president of Financial Planning and Analysis. From 1986 to 1991, he held a number of financial management positions with American.

Parker received a Bachelor of Arts degree in economics from Albion College in 1984 and a Master of Business Administration degree from Vanderbilt University in 1986.


Calin Rovinescu

President & Chief Executive Officer, Air Canada

Calin Rovinescu has served as President and Chief Executive Officer of Air Canada since April 1, 2009. Mr. Rovinescu was the Executive Vice President, Corporate Development & Strategy of Air Canada from 2000 to 2004, and also held the position of Chief Restructuring Officer during the airline’s 2003-2004 restructuring. From 2004 to 2009, Mr. Rovinescu was a Co-founder and Principal of Genuity Capital Markets, an independent investment bank. Prior to 2000, he was the Managing Partner of the law firm Stikeman Elliott in Montréal, where he practiced corporate law for over 20 years and was a member of the firm’s Partnership Board and Executive Committee.

Mr. Rovinescu was Chair of the Star Alliance Chief Executive Board from 2012 to 2016 and Chair of the International Air Transport Association in 2014-2015. He is also a Member of the Board of Directors of BCE Inc. and Bell Canada, and of the Business Council of Canada.

Mr. Rovinescu holds Bachelor of law degrees from the Université de Montréal and the University of Ottawa, and has been awarded six Honorary Doctorates from universities in Canada, Europe and the United States. Mr. Rovinescu was named the 14th Chancellor of the University of Ottawa in November 2015. In 2016, Mr. Rovinescu was recognized as Canada’s Outstanding CEO of the Year.


Colin Sage

Director of International Business Development, Commercial Aviation

Mr. Sage is currently responsible for customer success management for the JetBlue partnership where he develops new business and marketing opportunities.

In 2012, he assumed responsibility for business development and strategic partnering for international connectivity programs where he formed partnerships with Airbus Defense & Space, Boeing, Telespazio, and multiple Ministry of Defenses and NATO agencies. In his current role he has been responsible for winning multiple contracts with international allies providing satellite service on ISR aircrafts. He has been an annual guest speaker at the Military Airlift Rapid Reactions & Tanker Conference throughout Europe, presented connectivity solutions at the A330MRTT end user conference at Airbus D&S in Spain, and spoke on a UAV panel at Global MILSATCOM in London.

Since joining Viasat in 2007, he has supported long-term ordering and technology licensing programs for mobile satcom applications within the U.S. DoD and commercial markets.

Previously, Mr. Sage spent eight years with General Atomics facilitating Big Safari’s Predator block upgrade programs and working international sales in Turkey and Italy.

He holds a B.S. in Organizational Behavior with minors in business and sociology from the University of Southern California.

Jonathan Savitch

Chief Commercial Officer, Routehappy by ATPCO

Jonathan Savitch is the Chief Commercial Officer at Routehappy by ATPCO, the industry standard for airline rich content. Routehappy helps airlines and distributors differentiate and better monetize their products

Jonathan leads Routehappy’s business development and sales of Routehappy products with the goal to de-commoditize flight shopping and get the right airline products in front of consumers at the time of purchase.

Prior to Routehappy Jonathan spent 15 years selling in-flight entertainment and connectivity to airlines, previously working as the VP of Bus Dev at Thales.

Jonathan is a reformed lawyer having graduated from Louis D. Brandeis School of Law at the University of Louisville where he received his Doctorate in Law.


Fred Schreiner

Chief Technology Officer, Thales InFlyt Experience

Fred Schreiner is the Chief Technology Officer for Thales InFlyt Experience. He is responsible for leading the Design Office, Research and Technology, Innovation and Product Cybersecurity. These teams consist of highly skilled subject matter experts that guide technology choices for Inflight Entertainment and Connectivity products and services that support business growth, competitiveness and cybersecurity.

Fred is also driving the digital transformation of the business including the development of a unified digital services platform to host data analytics and artificial intelligence applications.

Prior to this role, Fred led the Engineering team that designed and developed the AVANT Inflight Entertainment system incorporating an Android OS and implementing agile development methodologies.

Fred started his 37 year career in aviation at DeHavilland Aircraft of Canada, then worked at McDonnell Douglas and Boeing Space Division in various leadership positions prior to joining Thales in 2005.


Stephan Schulte

Manager Strategy & Business Development, Lufthansa Technik
APEX Connectivity Working Group Chair

Stephan has almost 10 years of experience in the aviation industry, with a focus on inflight entertainment and connectivity, plus several years in other industries. Previously, he served as an engineer for rail vehicles for Siemens’ North American market and was a researcher in the automotive industry at the Institute of Electrical Machines, Aachen University of Technology. His aviation roles include Head of Aircraft Production Inspection for Lufthansa Technik (Hamburg, Toulouse, Seattle, Charleston); Strategy Manager for Aircraft Base Maintenance and Modification for Lufthansa Technik  (Hamburg); Project Manager for Inflight Entertainment and Connectivity, Lufthansa Technik (Hamburg). He serves as Co-Chairman of EUROCAE/RTCA WG99/SC234 on “new guidelines for PEDs on board commercial airplanes” for the Lufthansa Group.

He has authored more than 15 scientific publications including class A/peer-reviewed journal contributions, made various presentations worldwide about simulation methods in electrical engineering as well as design, certification and installation for inflight entertainment and connectivity systems at APEX events and other industry conferences worldwide. Stephan has also served as a Professor for Electrical Engineering at the Hamburg University of Applied Sciences, given lectures in at the aforementioned University as well as Aachen University of Technology, MIT (Cambridge, MA), WEMPEC (Madison, WI) and and KMITNB (Bangkok).


Claudia Sender

Vice-president of Customers LATAM Airlines Group

Claudia Sender is vice-president of Customers LATAM Airlines Group and CEO LATAM Brasil. She leads marketing, services, customer experience and digital areas in all the countries where LATAM Airlines Group operates, besides being responsible for the Holding business in Brazil.

Mrs. Sender joined the company in December 2011, as Commercial and Marketing Vice-President TAM Airlines. After June 2012, with the conclusion of TAM-LAN combination and the creation of LATAM Airlines Group, she became the head of Brazil Domestic Business Unit, and her functions were expanded in order to include TAM’s entire Customer Service structure. She became TAM Airlines’ CEO in May 2013.

The executive dedicated most of her career in consumer goods industry, focusing on Marketing and Strategic Planning. Mrs. Sender was Marketing Vice-President at Whirlpool Latin America and she also worked as a consultant for Bain & Company.

Mrs. Sender has a bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering from the Polytechnic School at the University of São Paulo (USP) and a MBA from Harvard Business School, in the United States.


Maryann Simson

Director, APEX Media

Maryann Simson (@JetwayMJ on twitter) has been active in the #PaxEx media world since 2008. A 2007 graduate of the acclaimed Humber College’s Print and Broadcast Journalism programme (Ontario, Canada), she immediately turned focus to aviation and the passenger experience as Creative Editor and then Managing Editor at PAX International Magazine.

In 2012, Maryann oversaw the update and conversion of 225+ page coffee table book Jetliner Cabins into complex and interactive app. At this time she also began helping companies in aviation create and distribute engaging PR content (Jetway Communications) in addition to writing regular features for Aircraft Interiors International and the APEX Association’s experience magazine – the latter under then-Editor, Mary Kirby.

Continuing to work with Kirby, Maryann became one of the original Runway Girl Network contributors as the popular aviation news site went live in January 2014. She soon shifted away from editorial content and focussed on growing RGN as Director of Commercial partnerships until 2017.

In April 2017, Maryann joined Spafax in London as Director of APEX Media. In her role she guides the very talented APEX Media editorial team and developing new media properties and products to inspire and inform APEX and IFSA member companies, along with the rest of the passenger experience industry.


Michael Stattmann

CEO, castLabs

Michael Stattmann is CEO and CTO at castLabs GmbH, a company specializing in studio-to-screen solutions including processing and delivery workflows for passenger entertainment. With 20 years of technical development expertise, Michael pioneers software and cloud services for businesses to deliver protected premium content to customers online and offline with player technology, DRM licensing, and encoding/packaging services.


Mariya Stoyanova

Head of Product Development, JetBlue Airways

Mariya Stoyanova is Head of Product Development at JetBlue, where she oversees the customer experience from the tarmac to 30,000 feet. Her team is responsible for designing new customer products, including Mint, the airline’s award-winning premium cabin offering.

Before joining JetBlue, Mariya worked on process optimisation in the charter aviation business, where she focused on developing innovative ways of delivering services.


Gary Townsend

Chief Innovation Officer, Black Swan

Gary Townsend is Chief Innovation Officer at Black Swan Data (BSD). He has been in the aviation space for over 20 years and has loved every minute.  Before joining BSD he was Engineering Manager at PAC where he spearheaded the introduction of innovative technologies that helped redefine the passenger experience capabilities of the systems. At BSD he has led the development of the Labs tool set which creates predictive and prescriptive models through the process of machine learning and AI. The combination of both his IFEC and Predictive Analysis experiences allows Gary to bring a very unique perspective to the opportunities and challenges facing our industry.


Janis Tse

Marketing Director, Plaza Premium Group

Janis is the Marketing Director of Plaza Premium Group. She is responsible for driving awareness, demand and advocacy via different communication channels for a portfolio of brands including Plaza Premium Lounge, Aerotel, Allways and the Group’s Airport Dining concepts. She also leads the strategy and development of the Group’s eCommerce capabilities to ensure a seamless, relevant and data-driven online booking experience for consumers. In her role, Janis overseas the global strategy of brand development, channel management, digital marketing, communications, public relations and marketing efficiency.

With more than 16 years of brand building and marketing experience, specializing in Travel and eCommerce, Janis held key roles for reputable travel brands like Tigerair and ZUJI.com. Prior to joining Plaza Premium Group, she was last based in Singapore as the Senior Vice President, Marketing for technology start-up portal GoBear.com. She is now based in Hong Kong at the Group’s headquarter. She is a brand builder, a digital transformer, and most importantly, a travel lover.


Ronald Verkaaik

Director Marketing, Customer Experience and Digital Innovations, SkyTeam

Ronald Verkaaik has served as Skyteam’s Director Marketing, Customer Experience and Digital Innovations since July 2017. From 2012 – 2017 he was based in the US as Air France KLM’s Vice President International Stations North America (Ground Operations and Airport Customer Service). Prior to these roles, he was Air France KLM’s Business Manager KLM Flight Operations  (2005-2011), KLM’s Senior Manager Airport Strategy (2002-2005), Berenschot Business Consultants’ Senior Consultant in Strategy and Marketing (1997-2002). Verkaaik holds a Master Degree in Political Science at Leiden University (The Netherlands).


John Wagner

Deputy Executive Assistant Commissioner Office of Field Operations, U.S. Customs and Border Protection

John P. Wagner has been the Deputy Executive Assistant Commissioner for the Office of Field Operations since April of 2014.

In this role, Mr. Wagner oversees nearly 30,000 employees including approximately 23,000 CBP Officers and over 2,400 CBP Agriculture Specialists that protect U.S. borders.  An annual operating budget of $4.8 billion provides for operations at over 330 ports of entry, and many programs that support the national security, immigration, customs, and commercial trade-related missions of CBP.

In his 25 plus years of service, Mr. Wagner has worked on a wide variety of operational and policy issues.  Mr. Wagner has been a leader in developing many successful transformative efforts for the organization, including the development of the internationally acclaimed Global Entry program and the Automated Passport Control kiosks for international travelers. Currently, one of Mr. Wagner’s main priorities is to advance a biometric exit and entry system across the Nation. Based upon his innovative approach, CBP is deploying facial biometrics into the air travel continuum to secure and enhance the passenger experience. Overall, Mr. Wagner is recognized as a driving force behind many of CBP’s resource saving and time saving initiatives, while simultaneously enhancing security operations at the ports of entry.

A native of Long Island, NY, Mr. Wagner graduated from the State University of New York at Albany, with a Bachelors of Arts degree in Psychology.  He began his Federal law enforcement career in 1991 when he joined the U.S. Customs Service as a Customs Inspector, and has worked at the New York/New Jersey seaport and the land border port of Laredo, TX before being assigned to Headquarters.  Mr. Wagner is a graduate of the Senior Executive Fellows course at the JFK School of Government at Harvard University, and was honored as a finalist for a Service to America’s medal in 2015.


Daniel Welch

Co-Founder and Senior Research Consultant, Valour Consultancy

Dan is Co-Founder and Senior Research Consultant at Valour Consultancy. His background is in consumer to consumer research, having spent 5+ years at Ipsos, one of the largest research organisations in the world. During these 5 years, Dan was responsible for building Ipsos’ mobile research business, both in Asia Pacific and in the UK.

Dan puts this experience to good use by running Valour Consultancy’s custom research business. He regularly carries out passenger-based surveys across the world on behalf of airlines and frequently runs surveys of airlines for one-off custom jobs or to supplement syndicated work. He is also responsible for Valour’s IFC business, producing annual syndicated reports and running the quarterly IFC tracker, which has over 60 airlines and service providers reporting on a regular basis.

Dan moved to Melbourne, Australia in 2014 and is in the process of building Valour Consultancy’s Asia Pacific presence. Since making the move, he has presented at various regional industry events and user groups, most notably moderating two IFEC sessions with expert panels at the In-Flight Asia Pacific event in Singapore.

Prior to moving to Australia, Dan lived and worked in the UK. He has a BA (Hons) Business Studies degree from Leeds Metropolitan University.


Andrea Whyte

Director of Commercial Content Strategy, Spafax

Andrea Whyte is the Director, Commercial Content Strategy at Spafax in London, where she oversees Spafax’s film programming and acquisitions team, develops global content partnerships, and works with airline clients to create innovative, data-driven inflight entertainment strategies that both delight passengers and demonstrate commercial return.

Prior to moving to London, Andrea was based in Toronto as the IFE Programming and Account Manager of Spafax Canada, working with Air Canada to manage film and television acquisitions and partnerships. She also directed the Air Canada enRoute Film Festival, a unique short film festival that supported the next generation of Canadian filmmakers.

After receiving her Master of Arts in Cinema Studies from University of Toronto, Andrea worked for several years in the programming department of TIFF Bell Lightbox, the Toronto International Film Festival’s year round film centre.


Ingo Wuggetzer

VP Cabin Marketing, Airbus

Ingo Wuggetzer, Vice President Cabin Marketing. In this role Ingo is
responsible for the complete coverage of all Cabin Marketing
activities – Customer campaign activities to create value added
solutions by consumer centric approach. Therefore he also drives the
relevant channels to promote cabin advantages, including fairs,
exhibitions and the Sales mock-up centre.

In his former role as Vice President Strategy, Innovation & Design,
Ingo established a consumer centric approach, covering key
upstream services ‘trend and market research’. On this basis, Ingo
set up a cabin product and technology strategy as a guideline for
future cabin innovations – some examples of the major innovations
he delivered are the A350XWB cabin design, the A350 XWB
Customer Definition Centre and the Concept Cabin Vision 2050, both
resulting in a new passenger comfort & service experience as well as a higher airline efficiency.

After studying both aeronautical engineering and business administration, Ingo worked for a top international management consultancy for three years. In 1996 Ingo joined Lufthansa for almost ten years and held several positions. As Senior Manager Corporate Strategy, he was responsible for fleet strategy decisions, business cycle management and the Aircraft Asset Management Team. In
1999 he became General Manager Cabin Development and Product Innovation for Lufthansa’s inflight-products.

In addition to his role at Airbus, Ingo is board member of the APEX Board (Airline Passenger Experience Association) and is chairing the Marketing & Communication Committee. Furthermore he is member of the judging panel for the Crystal Cabin Award and in addition he is lecturing at
different universities in Europe.


APEX Awards Ceremony

The APEX Awards recognize specific achievements that are successfully implemented in the past year (defined this year as July 2017 – June 2018). The achievements should not be just a general improvement or a modification upon an already existing program – they must be innovative and brand new.

APEX + Crystal Cabin Award

The category Best Customer Journey Experience comprises all products that help to improve the customer experience journey (inspiration, planning, booking, purchase, pre-trip, departure, in-flight and post-trip) across airline travel categories. It includes technical end-to-end solutions across categories including applications, artificial intelligence, tools, devices, software, programs etc. The product should offer benefits for airlines, OEMs, and/or suppliers by offering new digital solutions and specific insights about passengers experience for the benefit of on-board technical utilization. The finalists and award winner will provide airlines and their suppliers an inspirational example on how to optimize the cabin for end-to-end travel solutions centered around personalized passenger experience.

Best Video Curation

This new APEX Award is to award airlines and/or their vendor partners who curate a great selection of video programming within the budget provided. In other words, it’s not how much content, it’s the careful assortment of content which is noteworthy.

Best Original Audio

This new APEX Award was created to award airlines and/or their vendor partners for creating an outstanding audio station or audio collection.

Best Original Video

This new APEX Award was created to award airlines and/or their vendor partners for creating a new video – inflight safety video, airline promo video, etc.

Best Cabin Innovation

This new APEX Award was created to award airlines and/or their vendor partners’ innovation in creating a thoughtful new cabin environment either in a new delivery or retrofitted aircraft, as well as a new class of service, i.e. economy, business, first.

Best Passenger Comfort Innovation

This new APEX Award was created to award airlines and/or their vendor partners’ innovation in the world of passenger comfort, including seats, design, lighting, temperature control, air quality and more.

Best Personalization Innovation

This new APEX Award was created to award airlines and/or their vendor partners who have created a personalized passenger experience, including a service application, personalized IFE, catering experience, etc.

Best Inflight Entertainment Innovation

This new APEX Award was created to award airlines and/or their vendor partners who have created a new inflight innovation that is elevating the passenger experience via GUI design, features/applications, streaming, hardware, seat integration, etc.

Best Inflight Connectivity Innovation

This new APEX Award was created to award airlines and/or their vendor partners who have created a new inflight innovation including interactive connectivity onboard, unique WiFi features/offerings, etc.