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2015 Middle East Conference
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2015 Middle East Conference

24-25 March 2015 Abu Dhabi, UAE

3/24/2015 to 3/25/2015
When: 24-25 March 2015
Where: Abu Dhabi
United Arab Emirates

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24-25 March 2015
Abu Dhabi, UAE

Aviation's top trendsetters are meeting in Abu Dhabi this March for a one-of-a-kind industry experience at the APEX Middle East Conference. This can't-miss event will feature exclusive access to our industry's most influential players as they discuss strategies, examine the future of air travel and share insights on how they've increased business while infusing luxury into the passenger experience. You'll not only have the opportunity to network with top decision-makers in our industry, but you can also take part in an exclusive behind-the-scenes tour of Etihad Airway's Innovation Centre. You won't want to miss this!


Online registration is now closed. Onsite registration will be available beginning at 8:00am at the ADNEC on Tuesday 24 March 2015.

FREE! - Airline Members
$350 - Vendor Members
$450 - Nonmembers*

Registration for the Etihad Airways' Innovation Centre tour is now closed.

Online Registration Sponsored by: ONBOARD INTERNATIONAL

The following airlines are registered to attend:

  • Air Berlin
  • Air Seychelles 
  • Emirates
  • Etihad Airways
  • flydubai
  • Jet Airways
  • Kuwait Airways
  • Oman Air
  • Pakistan International Airlines
  • Qantas Airways
  • Qatar Airways
  • Saudia Airlines
  • Scandinavian Airlines 
  • Turkish Airlines


Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre

The conference will take place at the state of the art Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre. Guests are invited to stay at the Hyatt Capital Gate. For information on hotel booking, click here.


Tuesday 24 March

8:00 – 9:00 | Registration & Breakfast
Breakfast and Wifi sponsored by: INMARSAT

9:00 – 9:10 | Welcome & Introduction
APEX Board members welcome guests to Abu Dhabi!
Presented by:
Kevin Bremer, Boeing Commercial Airplanes; APEX 
Mary Rogozinski, Gogo; APEX 

9:10 – 9:40 | Keynote Address: Keynote Address: The Future of the Connected Guest Experience
Presented by: Shane O'Hare – SVP Marketing, Etihad Airways  

9:40 – 10:40 | Airline Passenger Experience – Perspectives from the Middle East 
Airlines in the Middle East are growing their reputations for extraordinary focus on “the product”. With increased demand from discerning passengers in this fast growing region and around the world, product development is more important than ever. In this session senior airline executives from airlines in the region will share their expertise and offer insights on how the Middle Eastern tenets of hospitality, generosity and service to guests are now at the core of their product offering worldwide.
Moderated by: Steve Harvey – VP of Global Sales, Global Eagle Entertainment
 Azman Ahmed – GM Product Management, Saudi Airlines
Linda Celestino – Vice President Guest Services, Etihad Airways
 Daniel Kerrison – VP of Inflight Product, flydubai

10:40 – 11:00 | Networking Break
Break sponsored by: KID-SYSTEME

11:00 – 12:00 | 10 Tips for Leading in the Middle East
This must-hear speech, based upon the best-selling 10 tips for Leading in the Middle East, which was voted the #2 best book of 2014 by the Wall Street Journal’s readers’ poll, immediately separates itself by keeping the focus on the applicable nature of leading. Its simplicity highlights what you can expect, which is like having a “Coffee Conversation” with Dr. Tommy who answers, “Would you tell me from your experience and research what does it take to be a good leader here?” Even if you don’t do business in the Middle East, you will gain a tip or two to use where you’re from. 
Moderated by: Steve Harvey – VP of Global Sales, Global Eagle Entertainment
Presented by: Dr. Tommy Weir – Renowned Speaker, Author and CEO Coach

12:00 – 1:15 | Lunch
Lunch sponsored by: ETIHAD AIRWAYS

1:15 – 1:45 | Cabin Comfort, Trends & Vision
How are the latest consumer lifestyle trends and airlines’ desire to differentiate their inflight offering considered during development of next aircraft generations? The presentation is structured to evaluate 3 crucial chapters: Focus, Trends and Vision. FOCUS. Take an inside look at the customer centric approach utilizing passenger research, segmentation and cabin feature relevancies. TRENDS. Explore airline trends, short-term and long-term, and highlight issues such as ancillary revenue generation and future virtualization opportunities. VISION. Finally, the presentation gives an outlook into how future cabin could look like that would most optimally incorporate both passenger and technology trends!
Presented by: Ingo Wuggetzer – Vice President, Cabin Marketing, Airbus

1:45 – 2:15 | Cabin Design
Passenger expectations are continually rising. How have the latest cabins been designed for Etihad Airways and other airlines to help them satisfy these increasing needs and what opportunities exist for future innovations? 
Presented by: Peter Tennent – Director, Factorydesign

2:15 – 2:30 | APEX Activity Update
This quick session will offer updates on what your association has been up to. Focus on the Technology Committee activities including technologies for disabled passengers such as closed captioning and descriptive text for the blind, onboard payments and future technical trend identification.
Presented by: Jonathan Norris – Technology Committee Member; Vice President Sales, Lumexis Corporation

2:30 – 2:50 | Networking Break

2:50 – 3:30 | Building the Entertainment Product
There is an abundance of content available that each appeal to varied sets of demographics, interests and moods. How does one choose? This session will explore programming options, audience engagement and interaction, changing habits of viewer consumption and strategies for building the ideal entertainment product for your audience in the sky. 
Presented by: Marwan Rahbani – Founder, President & CEO, Rahbani Productions

3:30 – 4:30 | Audio Performance Rights
The rapidly changing music industry and continuous evolution of onboard entertainment systems have caused the music and airline industries to evaluate business arrangements, customer needs and marketing opportunities. This session will offer guidance and share best practices to ensure both vendors and airlines have the knowledge to ensure the proper legal permissions are in place to feature music with a close look at the MENA region.
Moderated by: Al St. Germain – Publisher, Airline Passenger Experience
Presented by:
 Claudius Boller – Vice President Digital and Business Development, Universal Music
 Iain Kemplay – Managing Director, Kemplay Consulting

6:00 – 9:00 | Networking Event


Wednesday 25 March

8:00 – 9:00 | Registration

9:00 – 2:00 | Tour of Etihad Innovation Center
Etihad Airways is offering APEX guests an exclusive tour of their world-class Innovation Centre in Abu Dhabi. This unique facility showcases the airline’s revolutionary cabins and superior product offering, illustrating their dedication to excellence. Explore reconstructions of the new Airbus A380 and Boeing 787 aircraft cabins, including realistic mock-ups of The Residence by Etihad™, the new First Apartments and First Suites, new Business Studios and Economy Smart Seats. The centre also features an Innovation Training Academy, boasting the largest A380 and B787 cabin service and safety trainers in the world. The tour is included with conference registration. Tours are typically available by appointment or invitation only.

Tour, transportation, food and refreshments sponsored by: ETIHAD AIRWAYS

*There will be scheduled batched tours departing the ADNEC beginning at 9:00. Attendees are required to attend the tour to which they are assigned. Food and refreshments will be provided at the Innovation Center.

9:00 – 9:45 | APEX Media: Editorial Workshop Session
Interested in helping to shape upcoming content within Experience magazine? Join APEX editors Terri Potratz and Jessica Sammut in the editorial process by working with your fellow members to brainstorm stories, and then workshop those ideas in a collaborative group setting.

Pre-registration required for this event. If you are in Etihad tour group #2 or #3, you may still e-mail editor@apex.aero to confirm your attendance.

12:30 – 1:30 | Networking Lunch
Lunch sponsored by: DIGECOR

1:30 – 2:00 | Inflight Connectivity Needs for Evolving & Scalable Global Solutions
This session will offer highlights on the current inflight connectivity market and how it will evolve in the coming years. Ben will explain the various connectivity solutions, their differences, and what changes will need to be made ensure the best possible passenger experience.
Presented by: Ben Griffin – Regional Director MEA, Inmarsat 

2:00 – 2:45 | Connected Aircraft Capabilities
Explore the e-Aircraft concept as the future of inflight connectivity with the potential to provide real and valuable cost savings, an improved passenger experience and more. This session will share what an e-Aircraft entails covering cockpit and crew in addition to how it facilitates interaction with passengers and how best to make it a reality. 
Presented & Moderated by: TJ Horsager – Corporate Lead - Connected Aircraft, Gogo
 Sumant Hattikudur – Regional Director, Services Strategy, Boeing Commercial Airlines
 Fergal Murray – Chief Commercial Officer, Arconics
 Panasonic Avionics Corporation

2:45 – 3:05 | Networking Break
Break sponsored by: ETIHAD AIRWAYS

3:05 – 3:55 | Regional Prevalence of Embedded Systems
Are you looking to upgrade your embedded IFE system? What are the considerations and pitfalls for such systems? Are you operating older obsolete embedded IFE? Looking to improve your perception with passengers and performance in award programs? Paul Thorpe, currently digEcor's President EMEA and previously Rockwell Collins’ Sales Director Europe, will provide an unbiased overview of:

• types of embedded IFE systems available and their benefits
• array of features you may or may not want to include in your new system and the reasons why
• best practice project management of an IFE upgrade and the risks to avoid
Following the informative overview, Paul will moderate a panel of the key players in the space.
Presented & Moderated by: Paul Thorpe – President EMEA, digEcor
Dieter Dhondt – Head of Sales & Marketing, EuMEA Region, Thales Avionics
Jonathan Norris – Vice President Sales, Lumexis Corporation 
 Matthias Walther – Manager, Integrated Marketing, Panasonic Avionics Corporation

3:55 – 5:00 | Wireless Streaming
Kicking off this session is an overview of the current market landscape and outlook for wireless IFE. Also presented are data sources, various approaches to feature the technology and business models.
Presented by: Patrick Préfontaine – Vice President of Strategic Partnerships, Global Eagle Entertainment

Following the overview will be an in-depth case study on Alaska Airline’s new Beyond Entertainment product. Late last year, Alaska Airlines launched an inflight wireless entertainment product that delivers entertainment to passengers own devices without connectivity onboard.  This case study will outline the challenges in launching this new product from a technology perspective and detail the benefits realized for the airline.
Presented by: Brad Jaehn – Vice President of Product, Gogo

The session will conclude with a panel session featuring key wireless inflight entertainment players. The BYOD approach enables engagement and interactivity with passengers by offering new ways to connect and share content. Take a look at what is involved with delivering an IFE solution including security and rights management, certifications, the numerous design considerations, technical hurdles and more.
Moderated by: Patrick Préfontaine – Vice President of Strategic Partnerships, Global Eagle Entertainment
 Brad Jaehn – Vice President of Product, Gogo
 Fergal Murray – Chief Commercial Officer, Arconics
 Peter Schetschine Vice President, Customer Affairs, KID-Systeme GmbH
 Jared Shoemaker – Intellicabin Director, BAE Systems 

5:00 | Closing Remarks


Etihad Airways is generously offering APEX conference delegates discounted rates for flights to the Middle East Conference! Let your flight to Abu Dhabi be your first-hand passenger experience before taking part in the exclusive tour of Etihad Airways' Innovation Centre.

Book: Now – March 23, 2015
For travel: March 19 – March 30, 2015
Travel Class: Economy Class, Business Class and First Class
Discount: 5% - 10% on all USA to Abu Dhabi fares 
To book, contact: Etihad Airways Office – New York and speak to Imran Shahid or Adil Aqabli
E-Mail: NYCTKT@etihad.ae, SShahid@etihad.ae, AAqabli@etihad.ae
Telephone: +1.212.554.1334 / 1360/ 1337
Hours of operation: Monday – Friday, 9:00AM - 5:00PM EDT


Hotel Information

Hyatt Capital Gate Abu Dhabi 
Room Reservations number: +971 2569 1234
Be sure to reference APEX Middle East Conference

Single room rate: AED 800++ per night
(Rate inclusive buffet breakfast at the 18 Degrees Restaurant and guestroom WiFi)
** Please note that breakfast is included with your registration on Tuesday morning. 

To book a room visit the hotel website: www.abudhabi.capitalgate.hyatt.com and enter the stay day dates and the GROUP CODE under "corporate or group code" option: G-A337 or call the hotel directly on 971 25961234.

Complimentary parking at ADNEC (convention center)

Cancellation of individual reservations shall be accepted by the hotel without penalty up to 2 March 2015. Individual reservations cancelled after 2 March 2015 are subject to a cancellation fee equal to the cost of the entire reservation.

Visa Requirements

For information on immigration and visas, please click here.


Thank you to our sponsors!

  • digEcor
  • Etihad Airways
  • Inmarsat
  • KID-Systeme
  • OnBoard International
  • Panasonic Avionics Corporation

Additional sponsorships are available! Click here for details.
For sponsorship information, contact: Michael Greskiewicz (michaelg@kellencompany.com)


For general meeting inquiries contact: Lauren Beneri (lbeneri@kellencompany.com)

*Approved non-members may attend this event at the listed premium rate. The additional surcharge ($100) will be credited against first-year dues should their company apply to join APEX within 60 days of the event. Non-member company representatives may only attend one APEX event annually at a non-member rate. Admittance is subject to approval.

©Airline Passenger Experience Association (APEX) 2016. All rights reserved.
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