August 12 2021  |  Events

Video Clip: APEX/IFSA EXPO preview with CEO Dr. Joe Leader

By Jane Hobson

The commercial aviation industry is due to meet in Long Beach, California this fall for one of the first live in-person events since the start of the pandemic. The APEX/IFSA EXPO is due to take place October 18 to 21, and CEO Dr. Joe Leader tells PAX in August it will be a vaccinated affair.

“We’re looking at health safety as the number one thing,” he says. “We’re following the strictest protocols of our airlines or our movie studios – those that have been through the worst parts of the pandemic.”

Long Beach will provide free vaccinations for attendees who are not yet fully vaccinated, as well as free testing for everyone arriving and free PCR testing ahead of return flights. Masks will also be required at EXPO for additional safety.

This year’s show will follow a similar format as previous events but with a few smart changes to improve efficiency and convenience for foreign national attendees. The Thought Leadership Conference will happen on Tuesday, instead of the traditional Monday time slot, followed by the Breakout Sessions and Keynote Addresses to help accommodate those arriving in Long Beach on Monday. Wednesday will host the EXPO Open, Happy Hour and Awards Ceremony & Networking events, followed by the final day of EXPO on Thursday.

“We have an incredible lineup of CEO speakers and the most wonderful problem we’re having right now is we have more CEOs than timeslots, so that’s what we’re working through,” Leader says.

Discussions include health safety speakers, insights from APEX World, environmental sustainability and more.

Plus, the APEX/IFSA Board of Governors meeting will happen live and in-person for all to attend, followed by an outdoor lunch.

“Historically, it’s been done in a backroom before EXPO, and instead, we wanted to follow up what we did successfully from Virtual Expo. We wanted to bring it in front of everyone, so you can see all the CEOs, presidents, chairpeople, that are on our APEX/IFSA Board of Governors and get to see the interaction,” Leader says.

“We’re trying to show the world that we can have a safe gathering of 2,000 individuals. We’re able to enjoy ourselves, reconnect, and show how business travel is done right in a new world,” he adds.

In August, APEX called on the United States to end its blockade of international travelers from Europe. At press time, many barred locations reported lower per-capita COVID-19 rates than the U.S., such as Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, the United Kingdom and many more.

The APEX letter to U.S. President Joe Biden

In the letter to U.S. President Joe Biden, APEX cites that refusing entry to fully vaccinated travelers goes directly against Centers for Disease Control guidance, which proposes that people who are fully vaccinated with an FDA-authorized vaccine or a vaccine authorized for emergency use by the World Health Organization can travel safely within the United States.

“Many of these European nations have warmly open their arms to vaccinated Americans. The United States must now reciprocate before Europe’s doors are closed to vaccinated Americans, as hinted at last week by the European Commission President,” reads the letter.

“We’ve seen from our international airlines very strong levels of participation [in the Long Beach EXPO], but also right now, we’re at an important moment with our colleagues in Europe,” Leader tells PAX. “Either APEX will be doing Visa entries for a large number of European airlines and colleagues, or, we believe that President Biden and the Administration will begin their policy of opening the doors of America to vaccinated European travelers.”

Leader says now is the best time to get vaccinated ahead of EXPO and that APEX is happy to provide any help it can.

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