Air Transport World

Consolidating caterers.(feeding passengers, includes related article on polystyrene recycling)

As U.S. airlines budget axes take everlarger whacks at the costs associated with feeding passengers, the caterers who provide airlines meals are keying their futures to strategic alliances and diversification into new business areas.

The recent LSG/Sky Chefs and Gate Gourmet/SAS Service Partner confederations probably are just the beginning, says J. J. O'Neill, chairman/CEO of the former and outgoing chairman of the Inflight Food Service Assn. He points to last year's acquisition by Dobbs of 15 United Airlines flight kitchens and by the U.K.'s Alpha Air of several U.S. kitchens as other examples, and suggests that airlines catering subsidiaries such as Air France's Servair will be on the block soon.

Jenny Poole, VP-in-flight service at Delta, who is stepping down from the IFSA presidency, agrees. "The caterers are merging and consolidating just as the airline industry has done and are kind of re-creating themselves," she says. "And in the U.S., they're getting into other services to fill the void." The new IFSA president, Fred Martin, president of Dobbs International Services, also sees "more consolidation" in the industry's future but thinks the U.S. big three of Dobbs, Caterair and Sky Chefs will "survive in one fashion or another."

The continuing globalization of the airline and catering industries will be in the spotlight at IFSA's 30th annual International Conference and Exhibition April 23-25 at the Marriott World Center in Orlando, Fla. …

Log in to your account to read this article – and millions more.