Air Transport World

American leaves, Continental enters inflight catering industry.

American leaves, Continental enters inflight catering industry The big news on the catering side of the inflight food service industry this year has been the decision of one U.S. major airline to get out of the catering business and of another to get into it.

Exiting catering after 43 years as one of the industry's leaders was American Airlines, whose parent, AMR Corp., in January sold off its profitable Sky Chefs operation for an undisclosed sum to Onex Capital Corp. of Canada, "a primately owned diversified industrial company." Members of Sky Chefs' management also are participating in ownership.

Entering the catering business was Continental Airlines, whose parent, Texas Air Corp., on Jan. 1 established a subsidiary called Chelsea Catering which took over the kitchens formerly operated for Continental at its Houston and Denver hubs by Marriott In-Flite Services.

Watching these moves with considerable interest were competitors like industry giant Mariott and Dobbs House, the firm that vies with Sky chefs for the No. 2 position. But all the caterers are watching with even greater concern the rapidly growing consolidation among their customers. The pending acquisition of Eastern Airlines by Texas Air Corp. …

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