The Airline Passenger Experience Association (APEX) - formerly known as the WAEA - recently announced that its 31st annual conference and exhibition in Long Beach drew record attendance.
More than 2,300 representatives of the world's top airlines and companies delivering in-flight entertainment, communications, connectivity, seats, cabin interiors and publishing attended the event, providing a treasure trove of news for us journalists (yes, there is still a lot more news to report from the show!)
"I'm pleased with the tremendous turnout at this year's annual conference and exhibition," says APEX president Patrick Brannelly in a statement. "It's a testament to the hard work, and quality education and innovative programs that we were able to produce a conference of this caliber."
APEX has every right to boast about the turnout - its conference was, by all accounts, fantastic - but the organization is (as expected) decidedly more modest about its philanthropic work.
APEX recently partnered with ORBIS International, a non-profit organization that fights to eliminate preventable blindness in children and adults. Attendees at the APEX exhibition heard from ORBIS president and CEO Jack McHale, who spoke about the amazing work being done by ORBIS in impoverished nations all over the world.
One such mission recently took place in Vietnam. ORBIS took its McDonnell Douglas DC-10 Flying Eye Hospital to Da Nang. Here is a video taken on that mission:
ORBIS associate director, communications Jennifer Berman (pictured above) took part in the Vietnam program and later ventured to the APEX exhibition to talk to people about her experience. She says she returned from Vietnam with a great deal of optimism because ORBIS' long-term program is making such a huge difference to people in that country.
"The ORBIS Flying Eye Hospital program in Vietnam, August of 2010 was a pinnacle event of the year, bringing together the best of ORBIS with a local partner that is exemplary of how ORBIS' programs can make a lasting difference. The Da Nang Eye Hospital, located in Central Vietnam, has been a partner of ORBIS for more than five years. ORBIS' work in Vietnam began in the late nineties and includes long-term partners in the North, South and Central regions of the country. In 2003, ORBIS established a permanent office in Hanoi were hundreds of programs have been launched to build capacity, strengthen human resources and treat thousands of patients."Through its partnership with ORBIS, APEX has a wonderful opportunity to do great things for the blind and underprivileged, be it by sponsoring a mission or helping to support ORBIS' sustained programs.
I have no doubt in my mind that APEX - whose members have long cared about the passenger experience - will do everything in its power to improve the day-to-day living experience of people with curable blindness.