CATERING when dnata opened its Alpha Flight Services unit in Cairns. “We always felt that without Cairns we had great coverage, but it was not perfect.” Padgett says. “So we feel this is the last piece of the jigsaw.” Cairns is a smaller market than Melbourne and Alpha Flight Service produces approximately 10,000 meals per month for 150 flights. However, like Melbourne dnata has built for growth, with an operating capacity of 150,000 meals per month, which would service 1,200 flights.
dnata opened its Alpha Catering unit in Cairns last year. It serves 150 flights per month
A welcome in Melbourne
The next addition to the dnata presence in Australia will be on the third floor of Terminal 2 at Melbourne Airport. In September, dnata will be opening its 200-person capacity Marhaba Airline Lounge. It will be the first Marhaba lounge in Australia, and joins others in a global network that goes beyond the Middle East to Zurich, Geneva, Singapore and Pakistan. “The idea is to give the premium lounge market a bit of a shake-up,” Padgett said. “We very much sense an opportunity in Melbourne with the way the airport is developing.” dnata will be looking to other airlines that operate into Melbourne to use the lounge for premium passengers, with the lounge also bookable online, via Marhaba’s website, for travelers from all airlines. It’s the first independent lounge at Melbourne Airport, not airline-managed or branded. A number of standard lounge features will be found in Marhaba Melbourne. There will be a special dining and beverage service along with shower facilities, quiet zones, Wi-Fi and media. dnata’s new Melbourne unit will begin operation next month
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Though the dnata name has been growing worldwide, the historical association with Alpha Flight Services is strong in Australia and remains a fixture for the immediate future. The company traces its history back to 1982 when it began selling sandwiches to a single customer in Tasmania along the Gold Coast. Nationwide, Alpha Flight Services employs more than 1,700 people and produces 1.5 million meals per month that make their way to 16,000 flights. “Australia has a great food culture and an entrepreneurial economy and a flexible market base,” Padgett said. “It is a place where people set up businesses.” The airline-catering arm of dnata recorded a 7% increase in sales during
the recently completed fiscal year, and uplifted more than 60 million meals during the period. The catering business had revenue for the year of AED 2.0 billion (US$547 million) according to a recap of the dnata and Emirates Group fiscal year. For the 2016-2017 year, dnata recorded a total of AED 12.2 billion (US$3.3 billion) in sales with a profit of AED1.2 billion (US$330 million). Sales for the year were up 15%. Overall, the Emirates Group announced its 29th consecutive year of profit. In the annual report, profits were pegged at AED 2.5 billion (US$670 million) on total sales of AED 94.7 billion (US$25.8 billion).