The World Airline Entertainment Association (WAEA) is rebranding as the Airline Passenger Experience Association (APEX) to broaden its scope and reflect the role it plays in delivering the passenger experience for the world's commercial airlines.
A 64% majority of WAEA members approved the name change, WAEA president Patrick Brannelly said during an in-flight entertainment and seats conference in Hamburg in advance of the Aircraft Interiors Expo.
The WAEA was founded over 30 years ago by a group representing the in-flight entertainment community. Since then, systems installed on aircraft have moved from simple overhead projection equipment to highly advanced, networked systems that provide on-demand entertainment as well as in-flight information and telecommunications, retailing and revenue generation.
In tandem with this evolution, seat suppliers and IFE manufacturers are forging closer ties to better integrate IFE and seats. Examples of integrated touchscreen IFE with slimline seat designs are on display at the Aircraft Interiors Expo.
"As our industry evolves, it is the association's obligation to stay ahead of the curve and accurately capture the pulse of our membership. The word 'entertainment' in our name was somewhat limiting the association's ability to define its future, although of course entertainment is very much our heritage, and will remain at the heart of our activities," says Brannelly.
He tells ATI that the WAEA - as APEX - has already started welcoming new members. "But until we do things that appeal to different segments, you won't see the [big] growth. People won't join for the sake of it. They want to see a benefit."
The organisation envisions strengthening its footprint in the in-flight advertising, in-flight publications and retailing parts of the industry. Seat makers have largely been passive members of the group, but Brannelly is hopeful they will become more active over time.