March 1 2022  |  Events

WTCE and AIX confirms in-person event for June

By Jane Hobson

Just less than four months out from WTCE (World Travel Catering and Onboard Services Expo) and AIX (Aircraft Interiors Expo), Polly Magraw, Event Director at RX, has confirmed with PAX that the events will be going ahead in-person at the Hamburg Messe June 14 to 16.

Polly Magraw, Event Director, RX

“I'm absolutely certain that there is not going to be any reason for us not to be able to run physical events in June,” Magraw tell PAX.

RX produces more than 400 events in 43 sectors and 22 countries, many of which have successfully run in-person recently, Magraw says, adding that Germany handles events during the pandemic at city-level, not federally. The Hamburg Messe venue, which is owned by the City of Hamburg, is hosting international large-scale events starting in April, which should help people feel more confident, she says.

The Hamburg Messe venue is hosting many international large-scale events starting in April, signalling a return of in-person events

Magraw also points to other events that have recently taken place, such as Aircraft Interiors Middle East (AIME) and MRO Middle East, as a confidence booster for those looking forward to the events in Hamburg.

Clockwise: Booths from the 2019 WTCE event, DFMi, gategroup, Group SOI, and Albéa Travel Designer

Magraw says RX is already seeing a lot of excitement building around the shows.

“Both suppliers and airlines have expressed pent-up demand to get back to business and attending in-person, and this is a sign that we’re on a strong recovery trajectory,” she says.

Left to right: Booths from the 2019 AIX event, Safran and Boeing

And, Magraw says the country is set to lift some of its international travel restrictions and quarantine regulations in the weeks ahead which will make it easier for people to attend from all over the world. The event will likely be EU-centric as it has been in years past, and one region that may find it difficult due to existing restrictions is China, Magraw says. However, exhibitors from the region have expressed keen interest to find a way to come, she adds.

Clockwise: Booths from the 2019 AIX event, Burrana, Bucher, ABC International and Airbus

Entry to the event will be in accordance with the German 2G rule which is requires either proof of triple vaccination or proof of negative COVID test or proof of recovery. Use of masks will be likely be advised regardless of the restrictions at the time, but social distancing will probably not be necessary.

RX will always follow local guidance and restrictions, Magraw says, which are enforced by the venue as part of the hosting agreement.

After three years without the physical events, planners predict that products on the show floor will not disappoint. At the time of publishing, Magraw says there are more than 200 exhibitors signed up for WTCE and 300 for AIX, nearly 90 percent the size of the show in 2019.

Left to right: Booths from the 2019 WTCE event, Anaik and Fleury Michon

“People genuinely missed it and can’t wait to get back together,” Magraw says.

The 2022 event will feature the same segments attendees have come to expect, such as the Exhibit Hall, Passenger Experience Conference, networking party, Cabin Space LIVE and more. Some of the topics of focus include understanding the macro trends happening now and how they affect business, how to select services to meet changing passenger demands, and a range of issues and challenges facing the industry.

The 2022 event will also celebrate 10 years of WTCE. To mark the milestone, RX is running two campaigns: a VIP competition and ‘Onboard Icons.’ The first offers a “VIP experience” at the event, with a free conference pass, hotel stay and exclusive access to the opening party. ‘Onboard Icons’ encourages people to nominate a major player in the industry who is making big contributions to the future. Ten winners will be recognized at the event and voting closes March 30.

The RX team is heading to Hamburg this week to do a final site visit. Registration for the event is expected to open soon.

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