PAX Asia-Pacific Issue 2017

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VOL. 24, NO. 4




Asian Flavors

JAL boards burgers Japanese favorites on Malaysia Airlines








PAX International 26 Pearl Street,


Mississauga, Ontario L5M 1X2, Canada Tel: (1 905) 821-3344; Fax: (1 905) 821-2777 website:

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EDITORIAL OFFICES Rick Lundstrom, Editor-in-Chief PAX International 723 Jefferson Street, NE Minneapolis, MN 55413, USA Tel: (1 612) 378-0862


n the last digital issue of PAX International, we showed the results of a recent survey of millennial travelers commissioned by inflight connectivity provider Gogo that revealed their technological needs and desires during their travel experience. It’s clear that Gogo isn’t the only company interested in such trends. Just as we were preparing this issue, another survey and report from satcom provider SITA revealed that the commonly held belief that travelers are stressed and dissatisfied is not entirely true. In The Passenger IT Trends Survey released July 6, SITA and Air Transport World magazine found that, with the aid of technology, passengers are very satisfied with check in and boarding processes (90%) and baggage drops, and would access even more technology (such as baggage tracking, biometrics if it were available. In an overall look they rated their passenger experience 8.2 on scale of 10. Where the travel process still bogs down is the wait for bags to arrive. However when passengers receive real-time baggage information it improved their outlook at the tail end of their journey, especially, if they were informed of how long they would have to wait. Passengers in the survey are also growing savvier with work that would normally be handled by another person. More than

a third of the passengers surveyed who checked in via an agent at the airport expected to use self-service or automatic check-in on their next trip. They are also ready to do their own bag tagging (27%) and a third would switch to a self-service bag drop. Other results reveal a bit of reluctance and concerns by passengers over privacy with the use of biometric recognition. Perhaps, as SITA says, it is because people have become so comfortable with technology, they are aware of its potential problems. SITA and ATW surveyed more than 7,000 people from 17 countries in the online poll. Passengers had to travel at least once in the past three months. Organizers of the survey say the results show that opportunities exist for airlines and airports if they are able to offer simple, user-friendly technology services for the millions who interact them each day whether it is face-to-face, or face-to-screen. “It is very clear that most passengers are no longer deciding whether they should use technology but which technology they should use,” said Barbara Dalibard, CEO of SITA and Karen Walker, Editor-in-Chief at Air Transport World. “They want to make each step of the journey as easy as possible.”. Rick Lundstrom Editor-in-Chief, PAX International

Fax: (1 612) 378-0852 E-mail: Melissa Silva, Editor Tel: (1 905) 821-3344 x21 E-mail: CONTRIBUTORS Mary Jane Pittilla

A R T D E PA R T M E N T Jessica Hearn, Art Director E-mail:

ADVERTISING OFFICES Kevin Greene, Advertising Sales Executive Tel: (1 905) 821-3344 x31 E-mail: PAX International is published six times a year (January/February, March/April, June, July, September and December by PAX International, 26 Pearl Street, Mississauga, Ontario L5M 1X2, Canada. International Distribution. Subscriptions: $200 for one year; $300 for two years; $400 for three years. Art and photographs will not be returned unless accompanied by return postage. The views expressed in this magazine do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the publisher or editor. July 2017 Issue. All rights reserved. Nothing may be reprinted in whole or in part without written permission from the publisher. © PAX International magazine

ISSN 1206-5714 Key title: Pax International  |  PAX INTERNATIONAL  |  3

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VOL. 24, NO. 4

















J U LY 2 0 1 7


VOL. 24, NO. 4



ON THE COVER: Japanese meal service on Malaysia Airlines.

Asian Flavors


TRANSITION IN HONG KONG Cathay Pacific and Cathay Dragon are two service-oriented airlines with distinct personalities. CX’s Head of Catering, Aaron Claxton explained a few of those differences and talked about a few onboard products, from its private beer label to its latest chef collaborations


The company will throw the switch on a new unit in Melbourne next month and a lounge this fall as it completes its efforts for a pan-Australian network in time for increased airline interest in the continent



The new TechnlC@SATS Technology Innovation Centre promises developments in the years ahead that will help the company ease labor costs and increase efficiencies in its many operations


Japan Airlines and Mos Food Services have a long association and the latest specialty took flight this summer with the Yakiniku Rice Burger


JAL boards burgers Japanese favorites on Malaysia Airlines








Malaysia Airlines has revamped its meal service on routes to Japan, offering authentic cuisine for any time of year


Singapore Airlines serving passenger-voted favorites in July In collaboration with Singapore Tourism Board and in conjunction with Singapore Food Festival, Singapore Airlines passengers have voted for their favorite ‘Popular Local Fare’ dishes to be served in all cabin classes on selected flights departing from Singapore in the month of July. The featured ‘Popular Local Fare’ dishes are part of the airline’s 70th Anniversary celebrations and were voted on in an online poll conducted on Singapore Chicken Rice was voted as the most popular among 13 local dishes. Passengers traveling in Suites, First Class and Business Class can savor iconic Singaporean dishes such as Singapore Chicken Rice, Nasi Lemak, Fish Ball Kway Teow Soup, Prawn and Chicken Laksa, and Peranakan Hokkien Mee Soup. Premium Economy Class and Economy Class passengers will also be treated to local favorites such as Char Siew Rice, Fried Carrot Cake and Hainanese Pork Chop. Some of these ‘Popular Local Fare’ dishes are currently only available for pre-ordering through the Airline’s ‘Book the Cook’ service. The ‘Popular Local Fare’ dishes will also be displayed at the Singapore Food Festival.

Fish Ball Kway Teow Soup on Singapore Airlines

Qantas/Rockpool get wine club input on listings The Qantas Rockpool Sommeliers took four days in June blind tasting and reviewing 1,300 Australian wines and Champagne that will go onboard domestic and international flights and in the lounges. Approximately 250 wines were chosen. A group of Qantas Frequent Flyers were given the opportunity to be part of the selection process for the first time. The Frequent Flyers are members of Qantas epiQure, Qantas’ online wine community. After much deliberation, the group chose Eden Hall Reisling, Eden Valley 2016 and Brokenwood Pinot Noir, Beechworth 2015 as their top picks. The ‘Frequent Flyers’ Choice’ will be in domestic and international Business cabins for a limited period over the next 12 months, and will be available soon to purchase through Qantas epiQure. Qantas Creative Director, Food, Beverage and Service, Neil Perry who leads the team of Qantas Rockpool Sommeliers said while the bulk of the selection would be left to the experts, it was exciting to involve some of the airline’s most loyal flyers that love food and wine. “We’re always looking for innovative ways to provide an enjoyable experience for the millions of Frequent Flyers who travel with us every year, and we are pleased the ‘Frequent Flyers’ Choice’ wines have been chosen by people who are as passionate as we are about food and wine,” said Perry.

The Qantas Rockpool Sommeliers features 16 sommeliers and mixologists. As well as wine, they select spirits and non-alcoholic beverages and create monthly cocktail recipes for the lounges. Among the group is one of only two Master Sommeliers in Australia, Sebastian Crowther, as well as Head Bartenders of Rockpool restaurants around the country. Qantas invests more than $25 million dollars (US$19.10 million) in the Australian wine industry every year and showcases boutique Australian wineries as well as the iconic growers that have defined Australia’s global winemaking reputation. Qantas is the third largest purchaser of wine in Australia and invests significantly in training cabin crew so they are equipped with the knowledge to recommend wine to customers subject to their preferences and dining choices. More than 300 cabin crew are currently trained as onboard sommeliers more than 2,000 crew have completed an introductory, intermediate or advanced level of wine training. Curated by expert wine buyers including one of only 24 Masters of Wine in Australia, the Qantas epiQure cellar gives Frequent Flyer members the opportunity to enjoy red and white wines served in First and Business Class at home.  |  PAX INTERNATIONAL  |  5


SPIRIANT supplies Royal Jordanian with 4711 fragrances SPIRIANT has brokered a special brand collaboration between Royal Jordanian Airlines and 4711 House of Fragrances. The classic 4711 cologne is now featured in the airline’s amenity kits. Royal Jordanian has had 4711 cologne in its aircraft lavatories since the early 70s. It was also a favorite of the late King Hussein of Jordan and still a brand beloved by the royal family. “4711 is a world-renowned brand, synonymous with refreshment and invigoration,” said Luay Qunash, Head of Inflight Services and Products at Royal Jordanian. “As these benefits are always important to customers, particularly on long-haul flights and during the summer months, it seemed a perfectly natural progression to include the cologne in our amenity kits.” Started in Cologne, Germany, 4711 is a globally known line of fragrances with a long and successful history of over 225 years. All 4711 products are unisex, a fact that makes them very popular among travelers and is unique in the industry. “It made complete sense to us to propose continuity from the lavatory to the amenity kits for Royal Jordanian,” said Michel Kuitems, Director Sales and Product at SPIRI-

ANT Middle East. “We pride ourselves in creating brand collaborations that are both innovative and practical, and this is a perfect example of that. This classic cologne complements Royal Jordanian’s brand ethos of reliability and exceptional customer care.” Tobias Diebold, Managing Director SPIRIANT, said, “Our dedicated amenity kits business unit is on a mission to progressively create smarter brand collaborations. Knowing exactly how to initiate matches between airlines and luxury, lifestyle, fashion and cosmetic brands is a complex and intuitive skill in which we are proven experts.”


Flying Food Group chosen by Xiamen Airlines Xiamen Airlines has chosen Flying Food Group (FFG) to cater its new route between Los Angeles and Xiamen, China. The service launched June 27 with three weekly flights: and will increase to five flights weekly in August. In February 2017, FFG began catering Xiamen’s new route of three flights weekly between New York City JFK and Fuzhou, China. Nicolas Rondeau, FFG Executive Vice President, Airline Sales, noted the growing FFG-Xiamen partnership reflects the airline’s expanding U.S. presence.

Xiamen Airline will be expanding its service from LAX next month


Acqua Colonia makes the 4711 fragrance that has been a longtime favorite on Royal Jordanian


Air New Zealand a sponsor for yearly wine competition Marlborough Sauvignon Blancs and Hawke’s Bay Syrahs were among the top winners in “Fine Wines of New Zealand” - a compilation of the country’s most prestigious wines. A total of 60 wines, including 17 new additions, make up the 2017 list which is compiled annually by six of New Zealand’s top independent wine experts including Masters of Wine Alastair Maling, Michael Brajkovich, Sam Harrop, Simon Nash and Steve Smith along with Master Sommelier Cameron Douglas. “The basis of the Fine Wines of New Zealand classification is to recognize enduring excellence. This is the achievement of an outstanding record of excellence by top wineries and wines over an extended period,” says Master of Wine Simon Nash. Air New Zealand is a patron of the Fine Wines of New Zealand and provides promotional support to the wineries onboard and via its marketing channels. Air New Zealand Chief Operations Officer Bruce Parton says, “New Zealand produces some of the best wines in the world and food and wine tourism is a key reason why many international visitors come here. Through this program, we’re supporting winemakers to achieve greater success and chase the highest quality, whether that be through promoting their vineyards and wines to our customers or helping to open up export opportunities offshore.”


Gammell takes reigns at Etihad Airways The Etihad Aviation Group Board of Directors has appointed Ray Gammell as interim Group CEO and confirmed that James Hogan, current President and Group CEO, would leave the company on July 1. Gammell was Etihad Aviation Group’s current Chief People and Performance Officer and has been a member of the Executive Leadership since joining the airline in 2009, where he has led the creation of a performance culture across the group. Also, Ricky Thirion assumes full responsibilities of James Rigney, Group CFO who also left the company July 1. Thirion joined Etihad Airways in 2007 and was most recently Senior Vice President Group Treasurer. H.E. Mohamed Mubarak Fadhel Al Mazrouei, Chairman of the Board of the Etihad Aviation Group, said: “Ray and Ricky are experienced leaders and have the complete confidence of the Board. Ray will now take full management responsibility for the Etihad Aviation Group, ensure a coordinated group approach, and continue to advance the strategic review that was initiated by the Board in 2016 to reposition the business for continued development in what we anticipate being a prolonged period of challenges for global aviation.”

Alpha LSG appoints new Executive Chef Alpha LSG has appointed Michelin star chef Kevin Love as Business and Culinary Development Executive Chef.

Love took up his new position on June 1 and heads up a group of development chefs, to shape the direction of culinary innovation from both a technical and inspirational perspective. “He will also be responsible for developing our chef training programme in conjunction with external partners, such as The Craft Guild of Chefs and colleges,” said Wayne Gandy, Alpha LSG’s Procurement and Culinary Director. Love’s passion for food started in childhood, has worked in hotels and restaurants in Spain and the Pyrenees, including the legendary three Michelin starred El Raco de can Fabes in the Montseny Hills north of Barcelona. He was sous chef at the Royal Oak restaurant in East Lavant, West Sussex in 2007. He was later employed as sous chef at Heston Blumenthal’s Hind’s Head, Bray – the popular 15th Century pub. He was later named Head Chef with the Hind’s Head going on to be awarded Michelin Pub of the Year for 2011. In October 2012 the pub was awarded a Michelin star. He started a consultancy business in 2014 and worked with Lidl UK developing his own range of 30 products aptly called ‘Deluxe with Love’. Appearing regularly Kevin Love on television in the UK and at food and lifestyle shows, Love also designed the menus for the Pride of Britain Awards 2015 and the Scottish Our Heroes 2016 awards.

Professional wash-up systems for Inflight Catering

Fly on the wings of perfection in terms of cleanliness, hygiene and safety.

Cleaned for take-off

Security and safety are the most important values an airline can offer today. A great number of checks are required before the captain and cabin crew of an aircraft are finally able to welcome the first passenger on board. This includes, making certain that travellers will receive a clean and hygienic service. With our warewashing systems for Inflight catering, we at MEIKO stand for a clean and perfect start. Whether you are city-hopping or launching for a long haul flight, MEIKO’s professional warewashing systems are guaranteed to reach the recommended level in purity, hygiene and cleanliness without comprise. This is the reason why you can find our technology everywhere around the globe where reliability, safety and efficiency count – from small business airports to large international traffic hubs. Discover the versatility of our tailor-made warewashing systems. Find out what we at MEIKO call the clean solution.  |  PAX INTERNATIONAL  |  7

INDUSTRY Q&A Betsy beer was named after Cathay Pacific’s first aircraft, a Douglas DC-3 which flew passengers around the region in the 1940s and 1950s

Transition in

Hong Kong Cathay Pacific and Cathay Dragon are two service-oriented airlines with distinct personalities. CX’s Head of Catering, Aaron Claxton explained a few of those differences and talked about a few onboard products, from its private beer label to its latest chef collaborations


he management group that makes up Cathay Pacific and Cathay Dragon have been spending the summer continuing a reorganization effort and turning its attention toward a a streamlined company with two airlines responsive to passenger demands. At the same time, Cathay Pacific has forged code-sharing agreements with two Mainland Chinese airlines: Shenzen Airlines and MIAT Mongolian Airlines, helping cement its presence in its home country. Though the name Dragonair has disappeared the two carriers still have distinctive differences in service models. Aaron Claxton, Head of Catering at Cathay Pacific, explained some of those differences. In this issue’s Industry Q and A he talks about the transition process and the airline’s many onboard service programs and products. PAX International: It appears the transition for Cathay Pacific and Cathay Dragon is still taking place. From a food service perspective what is yet to be completed? Aaron Claxton: Both Cathay Pacific and Cathay Dragon airlines are currently undergoing a comprehensive review with a view to offer its passengers a more consistent and aligned travel experience and leveraging on the best that each airline has to offer. The recent brand work, which was undertaken, 8  |  PAX INTERNATIONAL  |  JULY 2017

is very much moving forward and at pace but worth noting that the F&B proposition will have subtle differences. The brand ethos plays to the individual strengths in that the dining concept for CX is centered around a contemporary Asian theme where-as Cathay Dragon will lean towards a Contemporary Chinese experience. PAX: From a cabin service perspective, what are the distinct differences between the two airlines now? Claxton: KA operates a mixed fleet of both narrow and wide-bodied aircraft, which CX does not since all are double aisle operations and thus this does impact on the service styles offered. Likewise the crews have different identities, not only uniforms, but the service culture and training is different too. PAX: This winter Cathay Pacific introduced its on onboard craft beer. Is the craft beer movement as popular in this region of the world as it has become elsewhere? Claxton: The Betsy beer initiative took off (literally) and has exceeded expectations in regards to its popularity both within our lounges and inflight. Betsy beer is now being offered in local hotels and also online channels to satisfy demands from the local community. Originally we set out to develop a

brew with ingredients from our home base (Hong Kong) coupled also with elements from the route destination, initially intended for the UK we chose the hops (fuggle) native of southern England whereas honey and dragon eye fruits from Hong kong and the New Territories. We are now exploring new flavors for consideration across other routings, too. PAX: You also added a selection of organic wines. Was this one of the first initiatives of your new Master of Wine, Debra Meiburg? Claxton: Our wine program has recently seen some significant enhancements and a series of new strategies including the introduction of organic wines onboard are typical of the new direction. Debra brings Aaron Claxton

AIRLINE CATERER OF THE YEAR - ASIA As awarded by PAX International


Clear Power Punch and Vitamin C booster was part of the menu items planned by Daniel Green

some great new ideas to the Cathay Pacific wine proposition that we believe will elevate our passengers travel experience.

these are proving popular with our passengers who prefer lighter meal options whilst offering seasonal ingredients.

PAX: Cathay Pacific is always lining up high profile chefs from Hong Kong for its inflight service. Are there any planned for the fall? Claxton: Periodically Cathay Pacific and Cathay Dragon do collaborate with dining partnerships with notable restaurants and hotel groups and occasionally teaming up with celebrity or Michelin starred chefs. We will soon commence a promotion with Three on the Bund – Jean-Georges Shanghai . We also have been working with American based celebrity chef Daniel Green on healthy eating options on our North American routes – tagged as clean cuisine,

PAX: Are there any notable dining trends taking hold in Hong Kong and affecting your service strategy? Claxton: Hong Kong is renowned for its dining diversity and the latest trends are easily found in most streets on the island. There is an increasing trend around gourmet burgers with new establishments popping up headed by local celebrity chefs – Cathay has developed such burger for its longer haul operations and offered as a mid-flight signature with crispy chunky chips and ketchup. Such items are very popular and since the crew are assembling the components on board it is quite challenging when cabins are full.

Cathay Pacific’s selection of organic wines (From left) Château Maucoil Côtes du Rhône Villages 2014 France, Explorer Central Otago Pinot Noir 2014 New Zealand, Viña Las Niñas Colchagua Valley 2014 Chile, and Gemtree Bloodstone Shiraz McLaren Vale 2014 Australia are now available to Cathay Pacific’s Business Class passengers on most long-haul flights


PAX: Cathay Pacific is scheduled to get 10 more A350s by the end of this year. How has the launch of the new jet changed or enhanced the onboard offerings? Claxton: The introduction of the A350s within the fleet has been a welcome boost in regards to passenger satisfaction across all the cabins with such offerings as inflight connectivity, improved IFE and sea comfort. With regards to the food and beverage – our development plans are not tailored to aircraft types and thus whilst we had launched some new inflight products (midflight snack boxes etc.) during the launch period, these were also provisioned across all our long haul fleet. PAX: You used to work in food service for the Royal Family in England. Do you still follow them closely in the news and do you miss those days? Claxton: The experience of working in such a prestigious environment was indeed a privilege and from a culinary experience was the pinnacle for me personally. I have continued to maintain good friendships with the team I worked with and being very pro-royal I do also continue to take an interest in the monarchy. Throughout the development of your career, it is sometimes necessary to take up new challenges and opportunities and thus whilst I miss aspects of those days it is representative of fond memories and no regrets.


dnata grows

Down Under The company will throw the switch on a new unit in Melbourne next month and a lounge this fall as it completes its efforts for a panAustralian network in time for increased airline interest in the continent

dnata plans to open one of its Marhaba Lounges in Melbourne



he name may be a nod to an association in the country that spans 35 years, but the current owner of Alpha Flight Services Australia has spent the last couple years filling out its presence in the country with new catering units in key cities. This August, dnata will have a soft opening of a new airline-catering unit in Melbourne, on the heels of last year’s opening of a smaller unit in Cairns. Also planned for the fall is a ribbon cutting on dnata’s first Marhaba Airline Lounge, which will also be in Melbourne. The combination is part of dnata’s plan to be the caterer of choice for airlines from China and elsewhere that are keen to operate direct flights into a country that is a perpetual tourist destination that beckons travelers from near and far. And, a desire to best serve the traveling public, with experiences on and off the aircraft. The Australian Bureau of Statistics reports that for the first four months of this year, 8.46 million people visited the country, which was 9.5% more than the same period last year. Leisure and holiday arrivals showed a 10.5% increase over a 12-month period, reported the Bureau. In June, PAX International caught up with dnata’s Divisional Senior Vice President of the Catering Division, Robin Padgett, who was on a self-described “whistle stop tour” of Australia just before

he looked in on clients in Brisbane. He talked about the company’s opening in Melbourne just after touring the facility in June. “We have been a little bit of a victim of our own success,” Padgett tells PAX International. “We have simply run out of space in our existing facility. Rather than just tack on small expansions and keep incrementally adding space, we decided to take the plunge and build a complete new facility. It gives us a chance to re-engineer our processes and make things a little bit more efficient.” The Melbourne unit is built for both the future and the present. The 11,400 square meter unit will produce approximately 390,000 meals and cater more than 4,000 flights per month. However, there is enough capacity for a 50% increase in its operations, which at one point could see the Melbourne unit produce 600,000 meals per month for 6,000 flights. A number of environmental improvements make the Melbourne unit state-ofthe-art for airline catering. Refrigeration is operated by a water-cooled system instead of air-cooled, which reduces power consumption by 25%. Motion sensor LED lights are used throughout the unit. Cardboard compactors prepare waste for recycling. Finally, collection tanks for used oil allow waste to be recycled into biodiesel. Alpha/dnata competes with Q Catering

from Qantas Airways and gategroup in Melbourne. It has successfully landed customer lists of 20 airlines, mainly from Asia and the Middle East. Inside the new unit is a full halal kitchen and space devoted to Chinese and Japanese cuisine. The space devoted to specialty kitchens will be important in the future, as dnata sees Australia become a key destination, with airlines from China eyeing the continent in a big way, says Padgett. It will also be important to Emirates Group, dnata’s owner. Emirates operates A380 service to Melbourne. With catering units in 10 Australian cities, Alpha/dnata will now be able to negotiate with airlines and offer services in all the key cities. That ability occurred Robin Padgett, Divisional Senior Vice President of dnata’s Catering Division  |  PAX INTERNATIONAL  |  11

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


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).


The SATS Flexible Assembly Line that uses robotics to automatically pick tableware

A automatic cutlery sorting system was a recent addition to the SATS kitchen

Tech Solutions


olly may not be as adorable or loving as someone’s favorite dog, but she is obedient, hard working and dedicated: following her master while toting 200-kilogram food trolleys from the SATS kitchen to one of the many lounges that the company services at Changi International Airport in Singapore. Roboto may not be able to chat and catch up on the events of the day with his co-workers, but he, or possibly she, can whip up a tasty laksa and may one day find full time work at the kitchen. SATS needs up to 500 bowls of the noodle dish a day to satisfy demand at the airport’s premium lounges. Dolly and Roboto are part of a threeyear effort to advance technology at the SATS catering units in Singapore. At the end of May the company unveiled its TechnlC@SATS Technology Innovation Centre that will be used to drive improvements in automation for the company’s units at its headquarters and beyond. Attending the May 24 opening were SATS’ government partners, the republic’s Minister of Education, Second Minister for Transport and the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS). While many of the new technologies that were showcased at the TechnlC@ SATS opening were still works in progress, several including Dolly are now being used and others tested (such as Roboto) to helped to streamline operations and

The new TechnlC@SATS Technology Innovation Centre promises developments in the years ahead that will help the company ease labor costs and increase efficiencies in its many operations by RICK LUNDSTROM

save workers from strenuous tasks that can be found at airline kitchens and airports around the world. “Constant innovation and productivity gains are crucial in today’s competitive marketplace,” said Alex Hungate, SATS President and Chief Executive Officer in the announcement of the technology initiative. “By harnessing the power of information and technology, we can provide more dynamic, agile services that make travel more seamless for passengers and enhances connectivity, eCommerce shipments as well as improve quality and cost of our food. Investments in technol-

ogy also give us better operating leverage as we scale our business. As the volume of business increases, we can increase productivity with the current workforce to meet growing demand.” Dolly is kept running and obedient with the help of Light Detection and Ranging (LIDAR). A scanning laser and algorithm technique programs Dolly to recognize the lower limbs of SATS staff as they make their way to the lounges that SATS supplies at Changi airport. Previously, staff had to push the trolleys across 200 meters of carpeted flooring to the lounges. With LIDAR system in operation, Dolly can now

The Smart Wheelchair System uses visual markers to provide a vision guide for wheelchairs to follow autonomously in a convoy fashion  |  PAX INTERNATIONAL  |  13


Singaporean Second Minister for Transport Ng Chee Meng with TechnIC@SATS Roboto

take multiple trolleys to multiple locations at the airport. Laksa is a popular dish in Singapore that involves blanching noodles with other ingredients, including beansprouts, fishcakes, eggs, prawns and fried beancurd. The main ingredients are then drained and added to the simmering laksa broth. Dried coriander leaves and samabal chilli can be added before serving. The process requires precise temperatures to ensure the integrity of the recipe and the use of Roboto to make laksa is one of the areas being explored by SATS. What Roboto does well is mimic the food preparation process and add garnishes with a six-access collaborative robotic arm known as a “Cobot.” With the Cobot Roboto can assemble the exact ingredients and heat laksa to a precise temperatures. Other technologies at the SATS kitchen have developed over the last three years. Among the robotically deployed improvements have been the flexible assembly line, automated guided vehicles and an automated cutlery sorter that has been in service in the SATS Food Solutions operations. One of the new technologies trialed at the airport is a Smart Wheelchair System that uses vision-based technology. With the system, one employee can handle passengers in up to three wheelchairs at a time. Other technology improvements can be found in the way the company works with and trains employees. “SATS has been actively tapping on technology to improve productivity and create room for our employees to be trained in new skills so they could enlarge their job function and advance their careers with 14  |  PAX INTERNATIONAL  |  JULY 2017

the company,” said Caroline Khiu, Vice President of Public Affairs and Branding at SATS. A few examples include new technology that helped triple mailbag processing capacity and streamline the mail sort station at the SATS eCommerce Airhub. SATS also implemented training programs for the team running the facility. “Already familiar with apron and cargo operations, members were trained in new functions to help them acquire additional skills. This has enabled them to confidently manage the latest mail sortation technology and implement the new integrated process for sorting of eCommerce mail,” said Khiu. In another part of the SATS operation, eight cargo equipment operators who were drivers had their jobs changed to eHub specialists. The drivers monitor touch screens and manage data for tracing mail. Pauline Tan, Senior Vice President of Technology at SATS said employees are

encouraged to come up with new ideas to enhance services. She said the Smart Wheelchair System was an initiative from SATS Passenger Services. The TechnlC@ SATS Technology Innovation Centre does not have a physical location, said Tan. It is on the tarmac and in the corridors of airport terminals where business units can collaborate on initiatives in what has become a living lab. The challenges come with the changes in airport traffic and weather conditions. Though it does not have a location, TechnlC@SATS still involves a considerable investment for SATS, and the company has time remaining to recoup on its investments. “However, the acid test is really if the investment has improved productivity to give SATS operating leverage,” said Khiu. “Judging by our last fiscal year performance, which ended in March 2017, the deployment of technology has given us a 4.1% improvement in productivity and operating profit grew 7.4%.” The center is also part of an overall plan by the city to improve the aviation industry. In April the government launched its Air Transport Industry Transformation Map to create employment opportunities. One of the people attending the TechnlC@SATS unveiling was Ng Chee Meng, Second Minister of Transport. “Through this initiative, we can leverage technology to automate manpower intensive processes, thus raising Changi’s productivity and efficiency, as well as transforming manual jobs into high quality ones,” Ng said. “We hope to see more partnership and the new ideas being developed, so as to further enhance Changi’s competitiveness through innovation and productivity.” A SATS worker can easily transport trolleys with the walk-behind Dolly that keys on leg movement

CATERING A highlight of the Air Mos Yakiniku Rice BurgerJAL Special is the U.S. beef rib, which has been marinated in an original sauce made of Japanese soy sauce with raw Japanese green onions, ginger, and apple juice

Bound by burgers by MARY JANE PITTILLA


apan Airlines has strengthened its partnership with popular food brand Mos Burger in a new collaboration for the summer. Japan Airlines and Mos Food Services Inc. announced their latest menu item, served as a second meal on select flights from Japan to North America, Europe and Australia routes, starting June 1. The new menu, called Air Mos Yakiniku Rice BurgerJAL Special, is the seventh collaboration in a series of inflight menus jointly designed by JAL and Mos Burger. It follows the previous well-received menus such as Air Mos Teriyaki Burger, Air Mos Rice Burger, Air Mos Teriyaki Egg Burger and Vegetable Air Mos Burger. The exclusive hamburger was developed to represent Mos Burger’s respect for Japanese food culture and JAL’s commitment to providing high-quality products and services with the spirit of Japanese hospitality. The second service menu is effective from June 1 to August 31 on routes from Tokyo Narita to Chicago, Boston, Dallas/ Fort Worth, New York JFK, Los Angeles,

Japan Airlines and Mos Food Services have a long association and the latest specialty took flight this summer with the Yakiniku Rice Burger

San Diego, Vancouver, Frankfurt, Helsinki, Paris Charles de Gaulle, and Sydney. It is also served from Tokyo Haneda to San Francisco, New York JFK, London Heathrow, and Paris Charles de Gaulle; and from Osaka (Kansai) to Los Angeles. The menu is served in Premium Economy Class and Economy Class, and as a second meal service during flights. A highlight of the Air Mos Yakiniku Rice BurgerJAL special is the U.S. beef rib, which has been marinated in an original sauce made of Japanese soy sauce with raw Japanese green onions, ginger, and apple juice. The beef is grilled and used as the filling in the Air Mos Yakiniku Burger. Mos Burger creates the Yakiniku Rice Burgers at a separate version of an original specification designed especially for JAL. The meals are sent pre-assembled to the caterer. The side dishes are supplied by vegetable farms that are affiliated with Mos Burger. JAL’s caterers in Tokyo are JAL Royal Catering and TFK, and in Kansai, the airline works with Kansai Inflight Catering and in Nagoya with Air Catering. The

JAL surprises passengers with fresh regional flavors JAL has introduced a new, regional theme for inflight menus in Economy Class on China, Hong Kong and Taiwan routes. The new theme is Kyushu, named after the southwestern most of Japan’s main islands. Kyushu joins the existing Hokkaido menus that are named after the northernmost of the country’s main islands. Since signing a partnership agreement with Hokkaido in December 2015, JAL has been promoting the Hokkaido brand, spanning tourism and food, to contribute to revitalization of the regional economy. “The theme of Hokkaido for the current inflight menus has received favorable feedback from customers since it was first introduced in Economy Class from Tokyo Narita and Haneda and Osaka (Kansai) to China, Hong Kong and Taiwan,” the Japanese flagcarrier said. The new Kyushu theme for the menus were introduced inflight from June 1, 2017, and developed from popular local dishes.  |  PAX INTERNATIONAL  |  15

CATERING company employs JAL Royal Catering and Kansai Inflight Catering for the Air Mos meals. Inflight, JAL uses steam ovens to reconstitute the meals. “Through using steam, the rice burger becomes soft and fluffy, absorbing the flavor of the meat and making the whole burger deliciously flavorful,” JAL told PAX International. JAL offers Air Mos as the second inflight meal, and there is not another general option. JAL doesn’t offer two choices in the second meal because there are two choices for the first inflight meal. The burgers have been specially developed to make them easy to fit in the trolleys JAL uses. One trolley can hold a maximum of 36 burgers. The trays used are the regular variety, but to prevent the burgers from becoming cold before they are served, rather than putting them all into the trolley at once, the cabin crew assess the number of customers and the appropriate timing to steam the burgers and then stock the trolley.

JAL offers Air Mos as the second inflight meal

JAL Welcomes “Master of Wine” as its Wine Advisor

Japan Airlines this month welcomed Kenichi Ohashi MW as JAL Wine Advisor. Ohashi passed the Master of Wine (MW) examination administered by The Institute of Masters of Wine in the U.K. in 2015, regarded as the highest standard of professional wine knowledge. JAL appointed Motohiro Okoshi, Japan’s first professional wine taster, as JAL Wine Advisor in March 2016 to select wines and spirits served aboard JAL flights and in JAL international lounges at Narita and Haneda airports. “With the support of Motohiro Okoshi and Kenichi Ohashi MW, who connects the world and Japan through wine and sake, we will contribute to cultivating a wine culture within Japan and boosting recognition of winemakers by introducing wines from around the world to Japan and wines produced in Japan to the rest of the world,” said a July 3 release from the airline Master of Wine is an international qualification created in 1953 by the London-based Institute of Masters of Wine. With a history of 60 years behind it, there are only 354 MWs in the world including only two Japanese. Native of Tochigi Prefecture, Ohashi developed his knowledge of wine and sake by managing the family sake retail business, Yamajin Co., Ltd., based in Utsunomiya City. He earned the world’s highest wine qualification, Master of Wine, in 2015. Ohashi serves as a judge for many wine competitions across the world, such as the International Wine Challenge (IWC), held in London, one of the biggest wine competitions in the world. He was awarded “IWC Personality of the Year 2016.”


Kenichi Ohashi MW


A seasonal experience Malaysia Airlines has revamped its meal service on routes to Japan, offering authentic cuisine for any time of year

The summer menu main course lunch option on Malaysia Airlines’ new Japanese meal service



alaysia Airlines this summer enhanced Japanese meal service on routes into the country, paying particular attention to seasonally inspired menus in Business Class onboard its non-stop return flights from Kuala Lumpur to Tokyo and Osaka. Beginning June 1 passengers were served a multi-course traditional Japanese meal presented in specially crafted Japanese tableware “In addition to the delicious and wholesome Japanese menu, we have also paid great attention to the finer details of the service and overall presentation, from the chrysanthemum-inspired pickle dish right down to the pebble chopstick rest and water ripple design of the soba and rice bowl,” said Malaysia Airlines’ Chief Commercial Officer Arved Von Zur Muehlen. “We want to be able to offer our customers an authentic piece of Japan onboard our flights.” The Japanese meal service is designed to be an elegant experience steeped in tradition, said Von Zur Muehlen. “Our caterers in Japan have worked closely with

Malaysia Airlines Chief Commercial Officer Arved von zur Muehlen and Inflight F&B Senior Manager Mohd Fazal Mahbob launching the newly enhanced Japanese meal service


our in-house team to specially design the onboard menus which reflect traditional seasonal culinary delights,” he said. The meal service will include nimono (simmered vegetables), pickles, soba/udon, steamed rice, miso soup and Japanese green tea served in a delicate Japanese teapot. As part of the distinctive Malaysia Airlines dining experience, all Business Class passengers on the flights will also be able to enjoy the airline’s signature dish, Malaysian satay. The specially crafted tableware – including the weave mat design of the main course plates – is inspired by traditional Japanese stoneware with a contemporary twist to reflect the four seasons. The menus will vary from season to season from June 1 to August 31 (Summer), September 1 to November 30 (Autumn), December 1 to February 28 (Winter) and March 1 to May 31 (Spring). To create this meal service, Malaysia Airlines uses caterers TFK Corporation in Narita and AAS Catering Co (AASC) Ltd in Osaka. “Today’s offering is only one of the many improvements we have identified to continue our efforts in enhancing the overall dining experience,” noted Von Zur Muehlen. “We work very closely with our catering partners in Malaysia and overseas to address feedback from guests on our meals. We will also be introducing more signature dishes incorporating the best of Malaysia.” Future dishes will include an improved recipe for the airline’s popular multicultural Malaysian meals such as Nasi Lemak, Roasted Chicken Rice, Chicken Biryani and Nasi Goreng Kampong (authentic Malaysian fried rice). Malaysia Airlines flies twice daily to Tokyo and once daily to Osaka using an A330.

A taste of summer The summer menu of the Japanese meal service for Business Class passengers will be served from June 1 until August 31.

Breakfast: Full Tray Set, composed of: Tofu salad with tofu, seaweed, sesame dressing, mixed lettuce, cherry tomato; simmered dish (nimono) of eggplant with ginger soy sauce leek; appetizer (zensai) with assorted Japanese delicacies, asparagus wrapped in chicken, kinpira, green soy beans, simmered prawns, Japanese egg omelette with wakame.

Main Course: Grilled seabass with miso paste, grilled Spanish mackerel with miso paste bamboo shoots, wakame seaweed, snow peas, carrot and miso sauce; steamed rice; pickled dish (tsukemono) - subasu; papriko kappazuke; and radish, wakame seaweed and leek miso soup. Served with Japanese tea.

Lunch: Full Tray Set, composed of: Udon noodles, shredded carrot, shredded cucumber, shredded fish paste, ginger, leeks chopped, soba sauce, seaweed; simmered bamboo shoots, wakame seaweed; assorted Japanese delicacies, Japanese egg omelette with minced chicken, vegetable kinpira, deep-fried cod, lemon, trevise. Main Course: Deep-fried chicken with radish sauce, chicken thigh, white radish sauce, deep fried tofu, sugar peas, paprika; steamed rice; pickled dish - takuwan; umeboshi; radish, wakame seaweed and leek miso soup. Served with Japanese tea.



HOT!  FlyFit Premium Dark Chocolate

Squares: Featuring 70% dark chocolate rich in essential nutrients and antioxidants, FlyFit’s new premium dark chocolate squares are available in two flavor varieties: one with probiotic and one infused with real pomegranate flakes. Both varieties are offered in individually wrapped portions (7.5 grams). Made from the seed of the cocoa tree, the dark chocolate used in the squares is one of the best sources of antioxidants available, and is free from preservatives and artificial sweeteners. The squares are currently available in First Class on board Singapore Airlines where they have received positive feedback from passengers. At this September’s International Flight Services Association (IFSA) Expo, FlyFit will launch four new varieties: Blueberry almond, Raspberry, Honey and fig and Orange.

 Group SOI Breakfast Box: The new user-friendly Breakfast Box from Group SOI contains a selection of fine Italian pre-packed delicacies, including Group SOI’s mini shortbread cookies, freshly baked croissants and its schiacciatina bread slices that pair well with Group SOI’s fruit jams. A great way to start the day, the Breakfast Box includes one pre-portioned jam (25 grams), one croissant (35 grams), one schiacciatina (35 grams) and two cookies (12 grams each).

 Fruella Tetra Prisma Cartons: Premium fruit juice brand Fruella has recently launched a new range of portioncontrolled formats in 125 ml and 200 ml Tetra Prisma Cartons designed to address the healthy snacking trends for adults and children. Perfect for inflight breakfast and snack boxes thanks to easy opening functions and handy extendable straws, the new range contains no added sugars, flavors, additives or sweeteners, just pure fruit juice.

 Cuisine Solutions Poached Octopus: Cuisine  Tails Cocktails Mojito and

Solutions’ gourmet poached octopus has been slow cooked sous-vide until perfectly tender, and can be used in menu applications chilled or warm.

Passionfruit Martini: Premium batched cocktail brand Tails Cocktails has partnered with Monarch and Thomas Cook to serve its authentic premixed craft cocktails on board their chartered flights. Tails Cocktails Mojito and Passionfruit Martini are available on flights this summer in 250 ml cans. Tails has also created a bespoke cocktail, The Flying Dutchman, a blend of quality gin, blackberry liqueur and lemon juice, which is available to Business Class travelers on board KLM Royal Dutch Airlines.  |  PAX INTERNATIONAL  |  19

WHAT’S HOT!  Clearwater Frozen Arctic Surf

 Gut Springenheide

Clam Sushi-Ready Slices: Widely popular among Japanese foodservice operators and Asian retail, Clearwater Seafoods’ MSC-certified Arctic Surf Clams are now available in pre-cut and portioned sushi-ready slices. Prized for their sweet taste, unique texture and vibrant red tongues, Frozen Arctic Surf Clam SushiReady Slices are pre-blanched, making them ready-to-eat once thawed. Simply place a sushi-ready slice on rice or serve on its own sashimi style for the ultimate in convenience and visual appeal.

Crepe Frutti di Mare: Gut Springenheide’s Crepe Frutti di Mare is a golden-yellow, light and fluffy crepe made with fresh eggs and filled with a mix of prawns and flavorful spices. Guaranteed to spice up any inflight menu, Crepe Frutti di Mare is available in a range of individually frozen portion sizes, from 50 grams to 100 grams, and any size in-between.

 Snackbox To-Go French



Fries: Snackbox To-Go is launching its second-generation french fries for inflight service. This product regenerates faster in the airline oven, becoming crispier in a shorter period of time. The french fries offering was awarded ‘Best for Onboard Snacks – Economy’ during the World Travel Catering and Onboard Services Expo WTCE in Hamburg this past April.

apex EXPO





Robin Hayes President & CEO

Sir Tim Clark President

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Passenger traffic tops 25 million in AAPA roundup Preliminary traffic figures for the month May released last month by the Association of Asia Pacific Airlines (AAPA) showed growth in international air passenger markets and growth in international air cargo demand. In May, the region’s 33 member airlines carried a combined total of 25.2 million international passengers, 5.4% more than in the same month last year. Measured in revenue passenger kilometers, demand grew by 9.4%, reflecting the strength of demand in long haul travel markets. The average international passenger load factor increased by 2.2 percentage points to 77.4% for the month, after accounting for a 6.4% expansion in available seat capacity. “During the first five months of the year, the number of international passengers carried by Asia Pacific airlines increased by 5.8% to an aggregate total of 129 million,” said Andrew Herdman, AAPA Director General. “The same period saw a strong 10.5% increase in international air cargo demand. “The ongoing pick-up in the global economy, accompanied by increased consumer and investment spending has provided a boost to both international air passenger and air cargo markets. Asian carriers are major players in the global air cargo market, and continue to benefit from the upswing in trade growth.” Herdman said the outlook for both air passenger and air cargo markets remains positive however, airline profitability is constrained by competitive yield pressures and higher operating costs. “Given the still challenging operating environment, airlines remain focused on disciplined cost management efforts throughout the business, whilst pursuing further growth opportunities,” he said.

C A L E N D A R International Flight Services Association Conference and Exhibition, APEX EXPO and Aircraft Interiors Americas, September 25-28 Long Beach, California. For more information, contact IFSA at or call 404 252-3663 Asia Pacific Onboard Travel event 22-24, Bali, Indonesia. For more information contact APOT.Asia, Gladstone Park, Victoria, Australia 3043 Telephone +61 4 11 88 33 19 e-mail: SIAL Middle East, Catering Exhibition and Mercury Awards, December 12-14, Abu Dhabi. For more information, call 971 (0) 2 401 2949 or e-mail

2018 Aircraft Interiors Middle East, January 23-24 Dubai World Trade Centre. For more information, UK +44 20 8846 2700, Dubai office +971 4 603 3300 or E-mail here Aircraft Interiors Expo/World Travel Catering and Onboard Services Expo April 10-12 Hamburg. For general inquiries contact AIX at or call +44 208 271 2174 Marine Hotel Association Conference and Trade Show, April 8-10 JW Marriott Orlando Grand Lakes, Florida. For more information, contact MHA at or call 415 332-1903

TRAFFIC UPDATE – PRELIMINARY International Scheduled Services of Asia Pacific Airlines International



% Change

Jan-May 2017

Jan-May 2016

% Change

Passengers (Thousand)



+ 5.4%



+ 5.8%

RPK (Million)



+ 9.4%



+ 8.4%

ASK (Million)



+ 6.4%



+ 5.9%

Passenger Load Factor



+ 2.2 pp



+ 1.8 pp

FTK (Million)



+ 12.2%



+ 10.5%

FATK (Million)



+ 4.3%



+ 3.6%

Freight Load Factor



+ 4.7 pp



+ 4.0 pp

Source: AAPA


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