EXPO Schedule

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Saturday 7 September

12:05 - 15:05

LH 452 MUC - LAX
12:05 – 15:05

APEX + Lufthansa FlyingLab
Key innovators from Lufthansa will join industry and internet partners to share their ideas with you during the in-flight conference on LH 452 from Munich to Los Angeles. Lufthansa, Lufthansa Systems, Lufthansa Technik and zeroG will be present alongside representatives from other industry partners. Leading digital service and content providers will demonstrate advances in digital tools.

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Sunday 8 September 2019

15:00 – 18:30

APEX EXPO Registration

Los Angeles Convention Center (LACC)
South Hall Lobby

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 Los Angeles.

JW Marriott Hotel, The Mixing Room
Sponsored by: Global Eagle

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Monday 9 September 2019

07:30 – 18:00

LACC South Hall Lobby

07:45 – 08:45

LACC Main Level Concourse Hall Foyer


Doors Open for General Sessions
LACC Main Level Concourse Hall

08:45 – 16:00

Thought Leadership Conference
AM Sessions Sponsored by: Panasonic Avionics Corporation
Breaks Sponsored by: Encore Inflight Limited
Emcee Sponsored by: BBC World News
NextGen IFEC Track Sponsored by: Inmarsat Global Ltd.

08:45 – 09:00

Welcome & Introduction
• APEX Executive Director Katie Geraghty-Goshgarian
• APEX President Juha Järvinen; Virgin Atlantic
LACC Main Level Concourse Hall


Introduction of 2019/2020 APEX/IFSA Board of Governors
• Chair: Delta Air Lines CEO Ed Bastian
• Atlantic Airways CEO Jóhanna á Bergi
• Spirit Airlines President & CEO Ted Christie
• Xiamen Airlines Chairman Zhao Dong
• Ethiopian Airlines CEO Tewolde GebreMariam
• JetBlue President & Chief Operating Officer Joanna Geraghty
• Kenya Airways CEO Sebastian Mikosz
• Flybe ex CEO Christine Ourmières-Widener
• LATAM Brasil CEO Emeritus Claudia Sender
• El Al CEO Gonen Usishkin
• Virgin Atlantic CEO Shai Weiss
LACC Main Level Concourse Hall

09:00 – 09:15

APEX/IFSA Board of Governors Chairman Address
Climbing Beyond Customer Expectations to Better Serve Our World
• Delta Air Lines Chief Executive Officer Ed Bastian
• Interviewed by: APEX/IFSA Chief Executive Officer Dr. Joe Leader
LACC Main Level Concourse Hall

09:15 – 09:30

Driven by Values of Safety, Caring, Integrity, Passion & Fun
• JetBlue President & Chief Operating Officer Joanna Geraghty
• Interviewed by: BBC World News Talking Business Presenter Aaron Heslehurst
LACC Main Level Concourse Hall

09:30 – 09:45

Creation & Delivery of a Passenger Experience with Personality & Heart
• Virgin Atlantic Chief Executive Officer Shai Weiss
• Interviewed by: APEX/IFSA Chief Executive Officer Dr. Joe Leader
LACC Main Level Concourse Hall

09:45 – 10:00

Reaching El Al’s Higher Calling in Service, Experience, Connection, and Care
• El Al Chief Executive Officer Gonen Usishkin
• Interviewed by: BBC World News Talking Business Presenter Aaron Heslehurst
LACC Main Level Concourse Hall

10:00 – 10:15

How Airlines Can Operate at the Speed of High Tech Companies
• Kenya Airways Chief Executive Officer Sebastian Mikosz
• Interviewed by: BBC World News Talking Business Presenter Aaron Heslehurst
LACC Main Level Concourse Hall

10:15 – 10:40

Networking Break
Sponsored by: Encore Inflight Limited

LACC Main Level Concourse Hall Foyer

10:40 – 10:55

The Importance of Investing in the Guest with Comfort & Ease
• Spirit Airlines President & Chief Executive Officer Ted Christie
• Interviewed by: BBC World News Talking Business Presenter Aaron Heslehurst
LACC Main Level Concourse Hall

10:45 – 10:55

Investing in the Guest with More Comfort & Ease
• Spirit Airlines Chief Executive Officer Ted Christie
• Interviewed by: BBC World News Talking Business Presenter Aaron Heslehurst
LACC Main Level Concourse Hall

10:55 – 11:10

What Can We Do to Contribute to Greener Nations and a Bigger World
• Atlantic Airways Chief Executive Officer Jóhanna á Bergi
• Interviewed by: BBC World News Talking Business Presenter Aaron Heslehurst
LACC Main Level Concourse Hall

11:10 – 11:25

Delivering a Superior Airline Experience of China to the World
• Xiamen Airlines Chairman Zhao Dong
• Interviewed by: APEX/IFSA Chief Executive Officer Dr. Joe Leader
LACC Main Level Concourse Hall

11:25 – 11:40

Enabling a Touch of Business Class to Every Passenger in the Sky
• Etihad Airways Vice President Product & Guest Experience Jamal Al Awadhi*
• Interviewed by: BBC World News Talking Business Presenter Aaron Heslehurst
LACC Main Level Concourse Hall

11:40 – 11:55

Building Air Travel Experience Across a Continent
• Ethiopian Airlines Chief Executive Officer Tewolde GebreMariam
• Interviewed by: APEX/IFSA Chief Executive Officer Dr. Joe Leader
LACC Main Level Concourse Hall

11:55 – 12:10

Collaboration to Benefit Passengers & Advance the Industry
• Star Alliance CEO Jeffrey Goh
• Interviewed by: APEX/IFSA Chief Executive Officer Joe Leader
LACC Main Level Concourse Hall

12:10 – 13:30

Women Leaders in Aviation Networking Lunch
Sponsored by: Viasat
LACC Main Level Petree Hall
Moderated by: Viasat Senior Vice President and CFO Shawn Duffy
• American Airlines VP of Global Marketing, Janelle Anderson*
• Atlantic Airways CEO Jóhanna á Bergi*
• Etihad Airways Vice President Guest Services and Delivery Linda Celestino
• JetBlue Airways Director Product Development Mariya Stoyanova
• LATAM Brasil CEO Emeritus Claudia Sender
• Oman Air SVP Guest Experience and Branding Xia Cai
• Qantas Loyalty Chief Marketing Officer & Qantas Group Hotels Executive Manager Jo Boundy*

13:30 – 16:00

Thought Leadership Conference - Breakout Sessions

13:30 – 14:10

Breakout 1 Sessions
A1 - LACC Second Level Room 411
B1 - LACC Second Level Room 408A
C1 - LACC Second Level Room 408B
D1 - LACC Second Level Room 404AB

14:10 – 14:25


Sponsored by: Encore Inflight Limited

14:25 – 15:05

Breakout 2 Sessions
A1 - LACC Second Level Room 411
B1 - LACC Second Level Room 408A
C1 - LACC Second Level Room 408B
D1 - LACC Second Level Room 404AB

15:05 – 15:20


Sponsored by: Encore Inflight Limited

15:20 – 16:00

Breakout 3 Sessions
A1 - LACC Second Level Room 411
B1 - LACC Second Level Room 408A
C1 - LACC Second Level Room 408B
D1 - LACC Second Level Room 404AB

16:10 – 16:45

APEX Annual General Meeting
LACC Second Level Room 411

17:45 – 19:15

APEX/IFSA Awards Ceremony
LACC Concourse Hall
Sponsored by: gategroup, Spafax, Thales
Bar Sponsored by: Paramount Pictures

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Tuesday 10 September 2019

07:30 – 18:00

APEX Registration
LACC South Hall Lobby

07:30 – 08:45

Airline Breakfast
JW Marriott Hotel, Plaza Room
Open to Airline Members Only

09:00 – 18:00

LACC South Hall HJ

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Wednesday 11 September 2019

08:00 – 18:00

APEX Registration
LACC South Hall Lobby

09:00 – 18:00

LACC South Hall HJ

19:30 – 22:30

APEX EXPO Networking Event and 40th Anniversary Celebration
After building relationships and strengthening partnerships on the EXPO floor, come celebrate APEX EXPO’s 40th Anniversary with your industry colleagues for a night of networking.

Conga Room
800 W Olympic Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90015
Sponsored By: SmartSky Networks
Registration Required

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Thursday 12 September 2019

08:00 – 15:00

APEX Registration
LACC South Hall Lobby

09:00 – 17:00

LACC South Hall HJ

Track Sessions

Track A. NextGen IFEC

LACC Second Level Room 411

Evaluate technologies that play a crucial role in bettering the passenger experience in the rapidly changing aviation and content market. Analysis of big data enables personalization, creates efficiencies, and facilities a better experience. Sessions will also address the global impact technology has on the way airlines source content and connectivity solutions to present to their passengers.

1:30 – 2:10

A1.       Building the Business Case for Inflight Connectivity

  • Amazon Web Services Transportation Leader – State and Local Government Phil Silver
  • Inmarsat Aviation President Phil Balaam
  • Qatar Airways Vice President Marketing, Sponsorships and IFEC Babar Rahman

2:25 – 3:05

A2.       Dynamic Content and Connectivity

As bandwidth to the aircraft increases, both the quality of connectivity and the ability to offer viable video streaming experiences to passengers is becoming a reality. A panel of experts looks at how new delivery paths can enable dynamic content delivery alongside connectivity.

  • Moderator: BBC World News TV Presenter Aaron Heslehurst
  • Panelists:
    • BBC World News Head of Insight Hamish McPharlin
    • Delta Air Lines*
    • Stellar Entertainment Director of Partnerships Amanda Walsh

3:20 – 4:00

A3.       Data Analytics to Drive Content Selection

Today’s passenger experience, including inflight entertainment, is becoming increasingly personalized and relevant. Data analytics that measure passengers’ preferences as to content not only impact what content is licensed for the future, but new content delivery methods—including cloud-based delivery—promise to disrupt the 30-day exhibition cycle and 45-to-60 day content delivery cycle. And the same databases that drive content recommendation engines also drive targeted advertising and ecommerce. A panel of experts discusses data-driven dynamic content in IFE.

  • Moderator: Lufthansa Systems Chief Consultant, Content and Media Strategy Michael Childers
  • Panelists:
    • Amazon Web Services*
    • Panasonic Avionics Corporation CTO David Bartlett
    • Spafax Global VP of Technical Sales Kevin Birchmore
    • TAP Air Portugal IFEC Manager Miguel Ferreira
    • Touch Inflight Solutions Director of Business Development André Valera


Track B. PaxEx 2020

LACC Second Level Room 408A

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.

1:30 – 2:10

B1.       The Airport of the Future Today: Biometrics, Intelligence, Seamless Airline Experience

  • Moderator: Future Travel Experience Head of Strategy, Engagement & Content Ryan Ghee
  • Panelists:
    • IATA Manager, Passenger Experience & Facilitation Hasse Joergensen
    • Turkish Airlines Customer Experience Supervisor Mustafa Mucahitoglu
    • PriestmanGoode Senior Project Manager Phil Bailey
    • Los Angeles World Airports Chief Operating Officer Justin Erbacci*
    • Thales (previously Gemalto) Director of Field Marketing, Identity and Biometric Solutions Nicole Williams

2:25 – 3:05

B2.       The Personalization of 2020 and Beyond

  • Joe Leader, APEX

3:20 – 4:00

B3.       The Aircraft Interiors Renaissance

  • Moderator: Airbus Head of Cabin Market Insights Stefan List
  • Panelists:
    • JetBlue Product Manager, Aircraft Interiors + Inflight Technology Andrew Litavis
    • Valour Consultancy Senior Consultant and Co-Founder Craig Foster

Track C. Driving Ancillary Revenue

LACC Second Level Room 408B

Airlines invest incredible funds into their products and services to entertain and engage their passengers. How can revenue be generated from that investment to cultivate an attractive ROI? Sessions in this track will outline opportunities for ROI throughout the entire travel thread, while also addressing technical solutions and personalization.

1:30 – 2:10

C1.      NextGen Payment Solutions for Airline Customers

  • Case Study: Norwegian Air Shuttle
    • Norwegian Air Shuttle Head of Customer Experience & eCommerce Thomas Leary*
  • Case Study: ApplePay / Southwest Airlines / Global Eagle
    • Global Eagle Senior Project Manager Kuan Chin
    • Southwest Airlines Assistant Manager, WiFi/IFE Brittany Brunson

2:25 – 3:05

C2.      Driving the Next Generation of Airline Passenger Loyalty

  • Moderator: ThePointsGuy CEO & Founder Brian Kelly
  • Panelists:
  • Aeroméxico SVP Marketing and E-Commerce Andres Castañeda
  • American Airlines Customer Experience and Onboard Products, Managing Director Erwan Perhirin
  • Flybe ex CEO Christine Ourmières-Widener
  • Virgin Atlantic EVP Commercial Juha Järvinen

3:20 – 4:00

C3.      Ancillary Opportunities & e-Commerce

  • Moderator: Global Eagle V.P. Advertising, Partner Marketing Kimberly Creavan; APEX Airline Advertising and Ancillary Revenue Working Group Chair*
  • Panelists:
    • Etihad Airways Manager Ancillary Revenue Strategy Abigael Wanjiru
    • Spafax Media Sales Director, U.S. Mary-Rae Esposito*
    • TD Link Technology (Hong Kong) Co. Ltd., A BlueFocus Company CEO Max Xia


Track D. In-Flight Service of the Future

LACC Second Level Room 404AB

Identifying passenger references 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.

1:30 – 2:10

D1.      Driving Airline Sustainability: Making Environmental Advancements Real

  • Moderated by: Skift Senior Aviation Business Editor Brian Sumers
  • Panelists:
    • Airbus Head of Cabin Market Insights Stefan List
    • Etihad Airways Vice President Guest Services and Delivery Linda Celestino
    • InterContinental Los Angeles Downtown General Manager Niles Harris*
    • Spiriant Product Manager for Leisure and Smart Solutions Vladislav Voron
    • United Nations
    • Xiamen Airlines

2:25 – 3:05

D2.      Future Government Initiatives Driving Industry Change

  • S. Food and Drug Administration Assistant Commissioner for Food Safety Integration Donald Prater*

3:20 – 4:00

D3.      Using Data to Optimize Products & Minimize Waste

  • Case Study: BlackSwan / gateretail
    • Black Swan CEO Steve King
    • gategoup CEO Xavier Rossinyol*


*to be confirmed

Meet the Speakers

Ed Bastian

Chief Executive Officer, Delta Air Lines

As CEO of Delta Air Lines, Ed Bastian leads a team of 80,000 global professionals that is building the world’s premiere international airline, powered by a people-driven, customer-focused culture and spirit of innovation.

Under Ed’s leadership, Delta is transforming the air travel experience with generational investments in technology, aircraft, airport facilities and, most importantly, Delta’s employees worldwide. A 20-year Delta veteran, Ed has been a critical leader in Delta’s long-term strategy and champion of putting Delta’s shared values of honesty, integrity, respect, perseverance and servant leadership at the core of every decision.

Since being named Delta’s CEO in May 2016, Ed has expanded Delta’s leading position as the world’s most reliable airline while growing its global footprint and enhancing the customer experience in the air and on the ground. During his tenure as CEO, Delta has become the world’s most awarded airline, having been named the Wall Street Journal’s top U.S. airline; Fortune’s most admired airline worldwide; the most on-time global airline by FlightGlobal; a Glassdoor Employee’s Choice company and more. Delta has returned to sustained profitability, regaining its investment-grade credit rating with all three major ratings agencies and paying out more than $1 billion in profit-sharing to employees every year over the past four years. In 2018, Fortune magazine named Ed among “The World’s 50 Greatest Leaders,” and in 2019, he was elected to the membership of the Council on Foreign Relations.

When asked to sum up his job in five words, Ed’s response is: “Taking care of our people.” The answer reflects his leadership philosophy, which is based on the “virtuous circle” – if you take care of your people, they take care of your customers, whose business and loyalty allows you to reward your investors.

Ed joined Delta in 1998 as Vice President – Finance and Controller and was promoted to Senior Vice President in 2000. He left Delta in 2005 and became Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Acuity Brands. He returned to Delta six months later to become Chief Financial Officer, and in 2007 was appointed to serve as Delta’s President.

Prior to joining Delta, Ed held senior finance positions at Frito-Lay International and Pepsi-Cola International. Ed started his career with Price Waterhouse where he became an audit partner in its New York practice.

Ed grew up in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., and graduated from St. Bonaventure University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration. He lives in Atlanta, and is deeply involved in his faith, family and community.

Follow Ed on LinkedIn for his thoughts on leadership, culture, aviation and more.

Jóhanna á Bergi

Chief Executive Officer, Atlantic Airways

Jóhanna will be speaking during Conference Session 2 from 15.30 – 17.00, “Leading and inspiring our dynamic industry into the twenty-twenties.”

Jóhanna á Bergi has extensive leadership and board experience. For the past nine years she has been CEO of the shipping company Faroe Ship. She has a degree in leadership from Robert Gordon University, Scotland, and has also studied sales and marketing at Den Danske Eksportskole. Formerly Jóhanna á Bergi was sales manager at JFK, which is both a ship owner and runs fish processing plants that produces and exports fish products from the Faroes. At one point she was sales manager for the fish exporter Faroe Seafood in France. In addition to her leadership positions, she has held diverse board positions over the past several years.

Ted Christie

President and Chief Executive Officer, Spirit Airlines

Ted Christie is the President and Chief Executive Officer at Spirit Airlines, the largest Ultra Low Cost Carrier in the United States, Latin America and the Caribbean. Christie joined Spirit in April 2012 as Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer. In January 2017, Mr. Christie was promoted to Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, and was promoted again to President one year later. In his various roles, Christie has overseen responsibility for the finance and commercial functions of the business, as well as operations, IT and human resources.

Prior to joining Spirit, Christie served as CFO of Pinnacle Airlines Corp, an airline holding company with subsidiaries flying as Delta Connection, United Express and US Airways Express. Christie began his airline career at Frontier Airlines in 2002. He was appointed Vice President of Finance in 2007 and promoted to Senior Vice President and CFO in 2008. During his tenure at Frontier he helped the carrier to restructure and to achieve a competitive cost structure. 

Christie has also held the position of Vice President of Finance at a Denver asset-based finance institution and also worked as an Economist for the Arizona taxing authority. 

Christie earned a Bachelor of Business Administration in Finance from the University of Arizona in 1992.


Zhao Dong

Chairman, Xiamen Airlines; Chairman, Hebei Airlines

Mr. Zhao Dong is the Chairman of Xiamen Airlines and the Chairman of Hebei Airlines.

Mr. Zhao Dong is a senior management leader with 33 years of experience in civil aviation. He graduated from the Civil Aviation University of China with a major in air traffic control and from the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT) University with an MBA degree. He also completed the Executive Development Programs (EDP) of School of Management in Xiamen University.

1986-1989, he worked on aeronautical information in the Flight Department of the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC). 1989-2000, he worked in the General Flight Operation  Department of Xiamen Airlines and served as Director of the Information Office and Manager of Flight Operation Center. He joined in the establishment of Xiamen Airlines Flight Operation Center, and established a dispatching-centered system for guaranteeing organizational operations. In terms of for ground-cabin services, Mr. Zhao stressed the importance of ground handling and efficiency, laying a solid foundation for flight safety.

2000-2006, he assisted Wu Rongnan, the first General Manager of Xiamen Airlines in ensuring security, operations, management, services and external relations.

2006-2016, he served as the Deputy General Manager of Xiamen Airlines to manage marketing, network planning, revenue management, international business, air cargo, cabin-ground services, and brand promotion to vigorously advance the “integration of marketing services.” During this period, Xiamen Airlines delivered an impressive business performance, with its Operating Profit Ratio ranking among the top 10 airlines in the world. It successfully joined the SkyTeam Airline Alliance and had been rated as the “Chinese Airline with the Best Service” in mainland China for four consecutive years. Mr. Zhao led and participated in the application for the highest honor in China’s quality field, i.e. “China Award for Quality”.

December 2016-2019, he served as the General Manager of Xiamen Airlines. Under his leadership, Xiamen Airlines continues to maintain a sound momentum of growth. It currently owns over 200 airplanes, 2 subsidiaries of Hebei Airlines and Jiangxi Airlines, and branches and offices in 45 cities across Asia, Europe, North America, and Oceania, with nearly 500 routes in operation globally. It is the only airline company in China with profitability for 32 consecutive years, which is also a rarity in the world. Chinese President Xi Jinping commended Xiamen Airlines as the “epitome of the development of China’s aviation industry for its good performance.

In February 2017, Mr. Zhao promoted the signing of an SDGs agreement between Xiamen Airlines and the United Nations. Hence Xiamen Airlines becomes the first airline in the world to work with the United Nations on SDGs.

February 2019-present, he serves as the Chairman of Xiamen Airlines

Tewolde GebreMariam

Group Chief Executive Officer, Ethiopian Airlines

Mr. Tewolde GebreMariam was appointed as Group Chief Executive Officer of Ethiopian Airlines in January 2011. He began his career at Ethiopian in 1985 as Transportation Agent and has held a number of senior leadership positions in different divisions in the Airline including; Ethiopian Cargo, Area Offices and Sales & Marketing.

Mr. Tewolde serves as a member of the High-Level Advisory Group on Sustainable Transport (HLAG-ST) with United Nations. He also serves as Chief Executive Board member of Star Alliance, Board member of International Air Transport Association (IATA) and Airlink Advisory Council.

Mr. Tewolde is also Executive Committee member of the African Airlines Association (AFRAA); a member of Board of Directors of Africa Travel Association (ATA); and a member of the Board of Directors of Ethiopian Tourism Organization (ETO).

In July 2013, he became the first CEO of an African airline to receive “The Airline Strategy Award for Regional Leadership” in the award’s 12 years’ history.

In December 2015, he won “Most Gender Focused CEO Award 2015” from the Leading Women of Africa (LWA). In February 2019, he received “Most Influential People of African Descent” Award by Most Influential People of African Descent (MIPAD), a global civil society initiative in support of the United Nation’s International Decade for People of African Descent. He was also inducted into The African CEO’s Hall of Fame during the African Leadership Magazine’s Persons of the Year ceremony which took place in Johannesburg.

In June 2019, he was hailed as High Flyer among one of the 100 most influential Africans in AFRICA REPORT’S INAUGURAL RANKING OF THE TOP AFRICANS who control the levers of power across politics, business and the arts.

In June 2019, he has been Re-appointed to IATA Board of Governors for a three-year term at the 75th annual general meeting held in Seoul, Republic of Korea

Mr. Tewolde graduated from Addis Ababa University with B.A. Degree in Economics. He earned his Master’s Degree in Business Administration from the Open University in the United Kingdom.

Joanna Geraghty

President and Chief Operating Officer, JetBlue

Joanna Geraghty is President & Chief Operating Officer of JetBlue, responsible for JetBlue’s operations and commercial performance including network, brand and marketing and revenue management.
Geraghty’s focus is on delivering a leading customer service experience, enhancing operational and commercial performance while nurturing JetBlue’s unique culture and standing as one of the best places to work.
Prior to being named President & COO, she served as JetBlue’s Executive Vice President, Customer Experience, responsible for Airport Operations, Customer Support, and Inflight Service. She served as Executive Vice President, Chief People Officer from 2010-2014, after serving as Vice President and Associate General Counsel and Director of Litigation and Regulatory Affairs. Geraghty has been with the New York-based airline since 2005.
Geraghty is a member of the board of the JetBlue Foundation and chairperson of the board of Concern Worldwide, an international not for profit. Before joining JetBlue, she was a partner at the law firm Holland & Knight. She received her B.A. from the College of the Holy Cross, her master’s in international relations from Syracuse University’s Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, and her J.D. from Syracuse University College of Law.


Sebastian Mikosz

Group Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Kenya Airways 

Sebastian has over 20 years of professional experience in executive management both in the private and public sectors. Prior to joining Kenya Airways, Sebastian was the CEO of LOT Polish Airlines, and more recently, the CEO of eSky.pl, the leading Central European online travel agent, which specializes in the distribution of travel products. Sebastian is a graduate of the Institute of Political Studies in France with a master’s degree in economics and finance.

Christine Ourmières-Widener

Ex – Chief Executive Officer, Flybe

Christine was Flybe Chief Executive Officer from 16th January 2017 until 15th July 2019.

With extensive international experience across the aviation and travel sectors, immediately prior to joining the airline, she was Chief Global Sales Officer for American Express Global Business Travel, responsible for developing the company’s strategy and driving business growth in major markets across North America, Europe and Asia with a strong focus on improving the customer experience.

Between 2010 and 2015, Christine was CEO and Accountable Manager with CityJet – becoming the first female CEO of an Irish-licensed airline and one of only 15 across all commercial airlines.  She had overall responsibility for all operations including network, distribution, finance, marketing, communications, quality assurance and airport operations; and she played an integral role in securing investors during the sale of the company to AF/KLM, latterly leading projects for the newly independent airline including its rebranding, re-fleeting and deep restructuring.

She had previously worked her way up through the ranks of Air France to become the airline’s first-ever vice president/general manager of Air France-KLM, USA in New York, having held a number of increasingly senior roles including General Manager (UK and Ireland), Vice President of Air France Global Sales, and Vice President of International Sales. During her tenure as Commercial Director, she was instrumental in the launch of Amadeus in France.

Christine is the recipient of the International Air Transport Association’s (IATA) first-ever Inspirational Role Model Award, featured in the organisation’s inaugural Diversity & Inclusion Awards sponsored by Qatar Airways.

Christine possesses a Masters degree in Aeronautics from the Ecole Nationale Superieure of ENSMA and an MBA from Essec Business School.

Claudia Sender

CEO Emeritus, LATAM Brasil

Claudia Sender is CEO Emeritus Airlines Group and member of LATAM Airlines Group Executive Committee. She led marketing, airports, on-board services, contact center, the frequent flyer program and customer experience in all the countries where LATAM Airlines Group operates.

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.

Gonen Usishkin

Chief Executive Officer, El Al Israel Airlines

Gonen Usishkin is the CEO of EL AL Israel Airlines, Israel’s national carrier. Gonen stepped into his position in January 2018. Since joining EL AL in 2004 as First Officer in the 747-400 and 747-200 fleets, Gonen held various managerial positions within the Company.

Since 2014, he served as the Head of the Strategy, Planning and Organization Division, as well as the Company’s Commercial Vice President. In this role, he co-led EL AL’s largest-ever acquisition of the Dreamliner aircraft.

Previously, between 2011 and 2014, Gonen served as Director of Revenue Management, overlooking product development, pricing strategy, and tactics, as well as sales/revenue optimization.

Between 2009 and 2011, Gonen served as Director of Scheduling and Distribution Systems, with overall responsibility of mid and short-term fleet and network planning, as well as EL AL’s scheduling activities.

Between 2007 and 2009, Gonen served as Director of Commercial Planning.

Prior to joining EL AL, Gonen co-owned Hermon Laboratories Ltd., a leading Israeli consulting, testing and certification laboratory. In his military service, he served as an Air Force combat pilot.

Gonen has extensive knowledge of the aviation industry and the Company.

Mr. Usishkin holds a BA in Economics and Management and an MBA, both from the Tel Aviv University.

Shai Weiss

Chief Executive Officer, Virgin Atlantic Limited

Shai Weiss is Chief Executive Officer at Virgin Atlantic and an Executive Director of the Virgin Atlantic board.

Shai and the team are keenly focused on Virgin Atlantic and Virgin Holidays together becoming the most loved travel company.

Shai joined Virgin Atlantic as Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer in July 2014 from Virgin Management Ltd, where he had been an Investment Partner since 2012 and was a Founding Partner of Virgin Green Fund. In January 2017 Shai assumed the role of Executive Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer responsible for shaping the airline’s strategic position in the market, driving opportunities for new revenue, and leading the loyalty, alliances and marketing programs that distinguish the airline. Through his role at Virgin Group Shai has been a member of the Virgin Atlantic board from summer 2012.

Shai has extensive financial and operational expertise. Prior to joining Virgin Group, he held several senior management positions at ntl:Telewest (now Virgin Media), the UK and Europe’s largest cable operator. Shai was part of the turn-around of ntl with roles including Managing Director of Consumer Products, Director of Operations, and Director of Financial Planning for the Consumer division. Shai was also behind the merger between Virgin Mobile UK and ntl:Telewest and the re-brand to Virgin Media.

Prior to ntl, Shai established the European office of early-stage technology venture fund JVP and was a senior associate with Morgan Stanley.

Shai also serves as a non-executive director of Checkpoint Software Technologies (NASDQ: CHKP), a leading provider of cyber security solutions to governments and corporate enterprises globally.

Shai holds an MBA from Columbia University in New York and a BBA from City University of New York, Baruch College. He resides in London with his family, attends Arsenal games whenever he can, reads The New Yorker magazine from cover to cover and attempts to play basketball.

Phil Bailey

Senior Project Manager, PriestmanGoode

Phil began his career in Interior Design and obtained a Masters degree in design innovation and business management. He has worked on numerous brand, cabin interior and strategy programs for clients including British Airways and Turkish Airlines, the latter with whom he has led the development of holistic future customer experience for the recently opened New Istanbul Airport.

Kevin Birchmore

Director of Sales Technical Products and Solutions, Spafax

With over 10 years of IFEC tech experience, Kevin takes a customer-focused approach to his role as Global VP Technical Sales at Spafax. Since joining Spafax, Kevin has successfully sold and supported the implementation of a wide range of digital products and services. Airline clients include Lufthansa Group, British Airways, Air Canada and American Airlines.

Kevin’s IFEC tech expertise informs Spafax’s digital product strategy. He works closely across the business to ensure Spafax’s digital products and services are continuously driving value for clients worldwide and deliver top-notch data.

Michael Childers

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.

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 services. He has extensive experience covering a wide variety of technology markets including the Internet of Things, M2M, smart home, smart grid, maritime connectivity, in-flight entertainment and connectivity and cabin technology more broadly. Foster has been an industry analyst for more than a decade and is based in Grantham 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 focussed 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 is a regular speaker and participant in panel discussions and has been widely quoted in trade journals, magazines, and other forms of online and print media. He holds a BA in economics from the University of Leicester.

Aaron Heslehurst

TV Presenter, 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.

Hasse Joergensen

Manager, Passenger Experience and Facilitation International Air Transport Association – IATA

Hasse graduated from the Danish Design School, Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Copenhagen in 1994 holding a major in Airport Planning.

He began his career at Copenhagen Airports in 1995 and held numerous positions over his 21-year career with the airport. Besides a long career as airport planner he spent a decade as Head of Passengers Department responsible for the overall customer experience on ground, including customer surveys, wayfinding, check-in, security screening, border inspection, boarding and arrival.

Over the past five years his insight on passenger touch points and processing technology has been a leading thread in his ambition to significantly reduce airlines’ operational costs at airports. His dedication to the industry has also given him more than 10 years in various IATA working groups and boards. Among other he held vice chair positions in the Fast Travel Working Group and the Facilitation Working Group in 2009-2016.

He joined IATA in Montreal in August 2016 to continue pushing the aviation industry to improve the passenger experience throughout the entire journey – ultimately reducing costs for all parties involved.

Stefan List

Head of Cabin Market Insights, Airbus Commercial Aircraft

Stefan heads the Cabin Market Insights department, covering trend research, passenger and airline-related market research and innovation concept testing with customers. He and his team constantly collaborate with customers in order to guide cabin developments and to support the definition of operator’s next cabin experience. Before this activity, Stefan was in charge of the cabin innovation strategy within Airbus Commercial Cabin & Cargo, 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 worked 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.

Hamish McPharlin

Head of Insight, BBC Global News 

Dr. Hamish McPharlin is Head of Insight at BBC Global News. His research team tracks the health and consumption of the BBC News brand worldwide, using the latest in analysis technologies and data visualization techniques. In addition, his audience research programme assists in optimizing Distribution and Advertising strategies for BBC World News and BBC.com. Prior to the BBC, Hamish was Director of Research at award-winning London-based research agency Decipher for 10 years. He has a Marketing Degree and a Ph.D. in Communications Studies from Murdoch University.


André Valera

Director of Business Development, Touch Inflight Solutions

André is the Director of Business Development at Touch, being responsible for the company’s sales strategies, product differentiation and business growth. With a background in engineering and business strategy, Andre started his career in the oil industry but soon embraced the world of aviation, aggregating experience in airport services, engineering services, ground handling, VIP lounges and inflight entertainment over the last 6 years.

Vladislav Voron

Product Manager Leisure & Smart Solutions, Spiriant

Vladislav Voron is the Product Manager Leisure & Smart solutions for Spiriant, where he oversees the strategic development of inflight equipment product portfolios. Voron also provides strategic expert counsel on sustainable solutions while building partnerships with well-known sustainable brands.  Prior to his current role, he served as Packaging Manager and Senior Packaging Manager, where he led the development and realization of packaging products from first design to finished product.

Amanda Walsh

Director Partnerships, Stellar Entertainment

Amanda is responsible for leading Stellar’s global partner relationships with airlines and content providers. She works to ensure airlines not only have the best inflight entertainment experience available now but are confidently prepared with innovative solutions for the future.

She brings 20 years’ experience of digital content delivery and thought leadership with both the BBC and ABC, combining a thorough understanding of product development and content strategy with the technical knowledge necessary to work closely with engineering teams, including a BAFTA nomination for technical innovation in interactive entertainment. 

Abigael Wanjuri

Manager Ancillary Revenue Strategy, Etihad Airways

Abigael Wanjiru is the Manager Ancillary Revenue Strategy for Etihad Airways. In her role, she oversees the development and implementation of ancillary revenue strategy. Prior to this, she served as Manager Upgrades, Manager Projects among other roles with Etihad Airlines.

APEX/IFSA Awards Ceremony

Official Airline Ratings™ Awards


APEX once again partnered with TripIt® from Concur®, the world’s highest-rated travel-organizing app, to gather anonymous passenger feedback based on neutral, third-party passenger feedback and insights. Using a five-star scale, more than one million flights were rated by passengers across nearly 600 airlines from around the world between 1 July 2018 and 30 June 2019. On the same screen, passengers were given the opportunity to provide anonymous ratings in five subcategories: seat comfort, cabin service, food and beverage, entertainment, and Wi-Fi. The single screen rating allows airline passengers to easily rate their flight in less than 15 seconds.

Passenger Choice Awards™

APEX once again partnered with TripIt® from Concur®, the world’s highest-rated travel-organizing app, to gather anonymous passenger feedback based on neutral, third-party passenger feedback and insights for the 2020 APEX Passenger Choice Awards. Using a five-star scale, more than one million flights were rated by passengers across nearly 600 airlines from around the world between 1 July 2018 and 30 June 2019. On the same screen, passengers were given the opportunity to provide anonymous ratings in five subcategories: seat comfort, cabin service, food and beverage, entertainment, and Wi-Fi. The single screen rating allows airline passengers to easily rate their flight in less than 15 seconds.

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.

Best Lounge Innovation

This new APEX Award recognizes achievement in creating a new lounge innovation, idea or offering.

Best Marketing Innovation

This new APEX Award recognizes achievement in creating a new marketing campaign or idea.

APEX / IFSA Best Product or Service

This new APEX/IFSA Award recognizes innovations in passenger comfort, including seats, design, lighting, temperature control, air quality and more

APEX / IFSA Best Cabin Innovation

This new APEX/IFSA Award recognizes outstanding achievement in creating a thoughtful new cabin environment, including galleys, lavatories, and means to increase efficiency for crew.

Newcomer of the Year Award

The Newcomer of the Year Award is for a product or service created by a new member company within the last two years. This award is designed to recognize a specific achievement which an airline has successfully used and implemented in the past year.

APEX EXPO Cool Award

The APEX EXPO Cool Award was created to recognize the innovative APEX spirit showcased each year at the APEX EXPO. In short, you and your fellow exhibitors will be watching for cool innovations out on the show floor, and the exhibitor with the most votes will win! Up to 10 votes can be cast from each member company in attendance to select one exhibiting, trend-setting company that deserves the award.