We would like to say that we had a plan for this IFExpress but sometimes, plans have a way of writing themselves. Instead, this week we offer an update on many things. Firstly, we thought you might like to get an update on the Inmarsat Global Xpress Ka-band aviation services that come out of a recent Inmarsat get-together in Florida. Next, there are just too many IFEC meetings to keep track of, so we did it for you. Be sure to check out the links. And finally there a couple of bits and bytes for your cogitation.

Inmarsat – The recent Inmarsat Aviation Conference in Miami brought to light a few facts about the upcoming Global Xpress Ka-band satellite set for launch in 2013 and service debut in last quarter 2014. Further the conference outlined the future L-band services as well. We thought our readers might like to take note of some data presented there. For example, did you know some 35 airlines have committed to Inmarsat services with some 16 operational today generating $14 M in revenue. Interestingly, there are some 13,900 active terminals with business aviation revenue almost 3 times that of airliners. The forthcoming world covering Global Xpress (GX) service is expected to add to Classic Aero I, H, H+, and Swift Broadband with the airborne hardware in development by Honeywell . We expect to get a Speakers’ Corner on this $1.2 B subject in the near future. Stay Tuned on this one!

Meetings, Meetings, Meetings!

APEX 2012 EXPO 17 – 20 September, Long Beach, CA – The IFEC event not to be missed is in Southern California once again this year. Airlines and vendors love this show, and so does IFExpress. Once again, the Long Beach Convention Center is host of the expo and with the Queen Mary nearby, what’s not to like? Here is the agenda and with any luck, we will have more on the show in coming issues.

APEX Educational Event, November 7-8, 2012 Santiago, Chile. That’s right, Chile. With Latin American poised for a growth rate of 3.6% (see Boeing Current Market Outlook) versus a world rate of 2.6%, APEX has chosen an excellent location for this event. With fly fishing in the Coyhaique and wine tasting in the Central Valley, you might not get home till December.

Aircraft Interiors Expo Americas, September 25 – 27, 2012. If you are looking for a Seattle vacation, we strongly recommend the Aircraft Interiors Expo Americas, that will have a Latin focus this year. Here is what the the show folks told us; “Latin America is very much one of the bright spots of the air transport scene, with the region’s economy expected to enjoy strong growth into the 2030s.  Air travel is becoming increasingly important, with growth in passenger levels expected to exceed the global average. As a result, Airbus forecasts that the region will need excess of 2,000 new passenger planes of more than 100 seats over the next 20 years, with the overall fleet doubling from 1067 to 2491. Boeing’s prediction for the regional fleet is 3,390 aircraft by 2030. The company forecasts that the majority of deliveries over the coming 20 years will be new single-aisle aircraft for travel within the region. However the precise numbers finally work out, the prospects for the market in Latin America look excellent, with economic expansion creating a new traveling middle class. Since that middle class is predicted to grow by as much as 75% in the next 20 years…” Check out their website for more info.

Audio Books
Whatever happened to onboard book downloads – reading or audible? We predict that the upcoming onboard Wi-Fi revolution will be a new source of reading revenue. Let’s see who gets there first, Amazon, Apple or Audible?

Digiboo
Remember Digiboo… the folks who are making appearances at airports with movie download hubs (Your USB stick and Windows only, please) will now be offering wireless downloads to your portable device (Android coming soon).

– Winners to be honored at APEX 2012 Expo in Long Beach

Long Beach, CA | August 13, 2012– The Airline Passenger Experience Association (APEX) has released the list of finalists for the Passenger Choice Awards, and winners will be announced at the APEX Awards Ceremony at the APEX 2012 EXPO, 17-20 September, in Long Beach, Calif., USA.

With 14 separate categories, the Passenger Choice Awards are designed to let passengers directly recognize airlines for outstanding services, products and innovations. Winners are determined through an online survey available to any member of the traveling public.

The APEX 2012 EXPO offers attendees a unique opportunity to network, learn about industry innovations and recognize colleagues for outstanding achievements. In addition to the Passenger Choice Awards, the APEX Awards Ceremony will honor Leigh Mantle, Chief Operating Officer at Inflight Productions with the Lifetime Achievement Award, and the Avion Awards will be given to airlines and vendors for technological advancements and commitment to the passenger experience.

Passenger Choice Award Finalists are listed alphabetically:

Best Overall Passenger Experience (UP TO 50 IFE EQUIPPED IN FLEET)
AIR NEW ZEALAND
KINGFISHER AIRLINES
SRILANKAN AIRLINES
TACA INTERNATIONAL AIRLINES
VIRGIN AMERICA
VIRGIN ATLANTIC

Best Overall Passenger Experience (Over 50 IFE EQUIPPED IN FLEET)
AVIANCA
CATHAY PACIFIC AIRWAYS
EMIRATES
GARUDA INDONESIA
SINGAPORE AIRLINES

Best in Region: Africa
ETHIOPIAN AIRLINES
SOUTH AFRICAN AIRWAYS

Best in Region: Americas
AVIANCA
JETBLUE
LAN AIRLINES
TACA INTERNATIONAL AIRLINES
VIRGIN AMERICA

Best in Region: Asia and Australasia
AIR NEW ZEALAND
CATHAY PACIFIC AIRWAYS
KINGFISHER AIRLINES
SINGAPORE AIRLINES
SRILANKAN AIRLINES

Best in Region: Europe
BRITISH AIRWAYS
NORWEGIAN
SWISS INTERNATIONAL AIRLINES
TURKISH AIRLINES
VIRGIN ATLANTIC

Best in Region: Middle East
EMIRATES
ETIHAD AIRWAYS
GULF AIR
OMAN AIR
QATAR AIRWAYS

Best Inflight Publication
AIR ASTANA
AVIANCA
GARUDA INDONESIA
SOUTHWEST AIRLINES
V AUSTRALIA/VIRGIN AUSTRALIA
VIRGIN AMERICA

Best IFE User Interface:
AVIANCA
CATHAY PACIFIC AIRWAYS
EMIRATES
VIRGIN AMERICA
VIRGIN ATLANTIC

Best Inflight Connectivity & Communications
EMIRATES
GULF AIR
NORWEGIAN
OMAN AIR
VIRGIN AMERICA

Best Inflight Video
AIR NEW ZEALAND
KINGFISHER AIRLINES
SRILANKAN AIRLINES
TURKISH AIRLINES
VIRGIN AMERICA

Best Cabin Ambiance
AIR NEW ZEALAND
KINGFISHER AIRLINES
SINGAPORE AIRLINES
VIRGIN AMERICA
VIRGIN ATLANTIC

Best Food & Beverage (in conjunction with the International Flight Services Association)
EMIRATES
SINGAPORE AIRLINES
SRILANKAN AIRLINES LTD.
TURKISH AIRLINES
VIRGIN ATLANTIC

Best Ground Experience
AIR NEW ZEALAND
JET AIRWAYS
KINGFISHER AIRLINES
VIRGIN AMERICA
VIRGIN ATLANTIC

The Avion Awards Finalists are listed alphabetically:

AVION AWARDS: Best in Passenger Experience
American Airlines: Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 for Inflight Entertainment
Brussels Airlines: New Long Haul Cabin
JetBlue Airways: Entertainment Guide
KLM Royal Dutch Airlines: IFE App
Lufthansa Systems: BoardConnect
The IMS Company: EDGE
Virgin America: Virgin Produced

AVION AWARDS: Best Achievement in Technology
Delta Air Lines: Demystifying the Checked Baggage Experience
Panasonic Avionics Corporation: eXTV
Row 44: “Live TV inflight to passengers’ devices”

“We’re happy to announce the finalists for this year’s program and even more excited to reveal the winners at the APEX EXPO next month,” said Dominic Green, senior director of client services for Spafax and chair of the APEX Awards Committee. “The Passenger Choice Awards program really validates the hard work, innovation and level of service each airline brings to the table to elevate the passenger experience.”

While voting for the 2012 Passenger Choice Awards campaign ended on 30 June, the 2013 awards cycle kicked off on 1 July. To take the survey, visit www.passengerchoiceawards.com.

To learn more about the awards and about APEX, or to register for the APEX 2012 EXPO, visit www.apex.aero. Stay updated by liking the Passenger Choice Awards on Facebook and by following us on Twitter.