PAX Asia-Pacific Issue 2020

Page 1

Asia-Pacific Issue


New s and analy sis for the passenger ser vices executive

New & Now Kits that have passengers talking


Rethink, our eco rebuild, impact restart: how caterers are coaxing the industry comeback

Eco-Friendly For Kids Men’s and Women’s

10 chopped parsley leaves

0.94 mg grated lemon zest

A drizzle of truffle oil

Juice of 1 lime slice

16,000 soups a day. Each with the perfect finishing touch.

5 g of beef bacon crumbles

29.5 mg coconut flakes

7.3 ml of yoghurt

1 fennel frond

12 toasted pumpkin seeds

A smidgen of paprika

A hint of nutmeg

1 finely chopped scallion head

4 crushed black pepper grains

5 tiny square-cut pieces of smoked salmon

A dab of togarashi

8 drops of balsamic vinegar

A drizzle of truffle oil

A touch of cayenne pepper

A trickle of hoisin sauce

9 cilantro leaves

A dash of hot sauce

12 drops of fish sauce

15 g of crumbled feta

8 croutons

1 finely chopped jalapeno

5 finely chopped coriander leaves

Discover our appetite for perfection at At Emirates Flight Catering, we serve over 180,000 meals a day, each WYLWHYLK WYLJPZLS` [V [OL ]LY` OPNOLZ[ Z[HUKHYKZ >L VќLY H ]HYPLK international menu for customers to choose from, put together by the crème de la crème of chefs. So when it comes to making the world feel at home, the sky is not the limit for us.


PAX International 26 Pearl Street, Mississauga, Ontario L5M 1X2, Canada Tel: (1 905) 821-3344 Fax: (1 905) 821-2777 Website:

PUBLISHER Aijaz Khan E-mail:

EDITORIAL OFFICES Rick Lundstrom, Editor-in-Chief PAX International 723 Jefferson Street, NE Minneapolis, MN 55413, USA Tel: (1 612) 378-0862 Fax: (1 612) 378-0852 E-mail: Jane Hobson, Editor Tel: (1 613) 894-9099 E-mail: Sabrina Pirillo, Associate Editor E-mail: Ash Khan, Social Media Coordinator Tel: (1 905) 821-3344 x34 E-mail: CONTRIBUTORS Mary Jane Pittilla Jeremy Clark

ART DEPARTMENT Jessica Hearn, Art Director E-mail:

ADVERTISING OFFICES Kevin Greene, Advertising and Marketing Manager Tel: (1 519) 870-9836 E-mail: PAX International and PAX Tech are published a total of 10 times a year (February, March/ April, May, June, July, September, October,

A wild welcome to an imperishable industry


most of you know, I joined the PAX International family in September 2019, before the industry – and the world – was exposed to the novel coronavirus. I entered the industry eager to learn all the ins and outs about the companies and innovators responsible for enhancing the passenger experience – the attention to detail, research and passion that is poured into inflight food service, brand partnerships and amenities and comfort offerings. While I was well prepared for the learning curve that would come with reporting on such a vast and international industry and had the guidance of the excellent team I work with to support me, nothing could have prepared me for the drastic transformation of the industry within the first six months of my introduction. Like the rest of us, I’m still coming to an understanding of the depth of the impact that the pandemic will have on the global economy and the hospitality and travel sector. But I’m finding solace in the fact that the industry has wasted no time at all pivoting to adjust its offerings in order to continue enhancing the passenger experience in the post-pandemic world – whatever that may look like. If anything, the shared sense of uncertainty in this remarkable time is bringing the importance of human connection to the forefront – which is surely a valuable prompt for those in the passenger services industry. I had a video call with Lucrecia Leon at International Water-Guard last month. We discussed how small talk barely exists anymore. When the opportunity to connect with industry colleagues “face-to-face” on Zoom or WhatsApp is available, we’re skipping over pleasantries about the weather and jumping right into the meaningful conversations: How are you doing? What are you doing to maintain some kind of routine? When do you think this will be over? As the innovations and initiatives in the pages of this issue display, I get the feeling this industry may be the one to pioneer the adjustments that are needed to recuperate the air travel industry beyond what it was when it swooped down to mesmerize me beneath its giant wings just nine months ago.

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 2019. 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

Jane Hobson Editor PAX International







10 12 16

FEEDING POSITIVITY gategroup shares a glimpse of what its employees are cooking at home during the COVID-19 lockdown through social media campaign WEATHERING THE STORM Singapore-based SATS has seen its share of challenges during the outbreak of COVID-19, but the company prepared for them through new technology and worker training A SUMMER OF ADJUSTMENTS With the industry still reeling from the effects of the COVID-19 virus, the Airline Catering Association has released a set of guidelines for catering, and LSG Group has charted its path in a changed industry FORGING THE FUTURE OF INFLIGHT FOOD SERVICE With the future of inflight food service still up in the air, these companies are pivoting to keep pace with the turbulent climate



HANDS OFF FOR HEALTH AirAsia has entered what many consider an important component to future air travel with a series of features that utilize technology and help passengers feel safe getting back in the air



A SHIFT ON THE HORIZON PAX International Asia Correspondent Jeremy Clark discusses the new dynamic that may emerge between airlines and suppliers in the aftermath of COVID-19



FOCUS ON ESSENTIALS Now, more than ever, passengers need a caring, genuine face on an airline to lure them in and keep them coming back, says Dr. Stathis Kefallonitis, Founder & President



PAX International highlights the airline and catering winners of the 2020 Readership Awards, which was celebrated online due to the event postponements



International Water-Guard is securing regulatory approvals and preparing to introduce a way for passengers to access drinking water on their own at wellness centers and refreshment stations in cabins of the future




PPE: KIDS’ EDITION Industry suppliers share updates on what kids’ personal protective equipment they have to offer FAST FUTURE FORESEES SLOW RESTART Rohit Talwar, global futurist and Chief Executive Officer of Fast Future, discusses the four possible ways the industry can recover from the pandemic based on scenario planning

4  JUNE 2020

Asia-Pacific Issue


New s and analy sis for the passenger ser vices executive

New & Now Kits that have passengers talking


Rethink, our eco rebuild, impact restart: how caterers are coaxing the industry comeback

Eco-Friendly For Kids Men’s and Women’s


Read about Asia Correspondent Jeremy Clark’s thoughts on how caterer behaviours may change post-pandemic

Departments EDITOR’S NOTE







At SATS, we place purpose at the heart of our business and into the hands of our people. Each one of us has a role to play in enabling SATS to grow with purpose. We adopt a technology-driven, people-led approach towards creating innovative food solutions that nourish communities. By combining decades of expertise with culinary innovation, we bring a taste of home to the skies, anywhere in the world. As Asia’s leading provider of food solutions and gateway services, we delight travellers with our signature dishes and ensure seamless connections across more than 60 locations and 13 countries. Find out how we feed and connect Asia at



Bayart Innovations unveils PPE catalog Bayart Innovations has revealed a personal protective equipment (PPE) catalog. According to the May press release, the supplier has refocused 40 percent of its partnered manufacturers to PPE products, resulting in 80 percent of the product coming directly from Bayart production centers. “We are honored to support our customers and be part of their precautions against COVID-19,” read the press release. The offerings from the company include a set containing disinfectant spray, hand sanitizer, hand wipes, face masks and PVC disposable gloves. Disposable face masks are available in multiple colors and are made with three layers to protect from dust and droplets, as well as respiratory masks and disposable masks for children. Nitrile, powder-free gloves are available in blue and clear (sizes small to extra-large). More information about antiseptic, alcohol-free wipes, sanitizer gels and goggles are available via the PDF of the catalog online and

The catalog includes disinfectant spray, hand sanitizer and gels, face masks and more


ANA adding steps to aircraft cleaning and hygiene ANA Holdings Inc. has planned additional measures to combat the spread of COVID-19 including stepped up cleaning at airports, facial coverings and disinfecting. ANA Group’s Standards and Approach: • Maintain a clean environment at airports, in aircraft cabins, lounges and all locations • ANA Group employees will wear a facial covering at every touch point with passengers • All aircraft operated by ANA Group will be disinfected on a regular and frequent basis. Aircraft used for international flights will be sanitized after every flight, and daily at night on aircraft flown domestically

All aircraft used by ANA pass clean air through ventilation systems, allowing cabin air to be replaced in approximately three minutes and avoid stagnant air. According to the press release, each cabin is equipped with a circulation system that purifies air by passing it through a HEPA filter, considered to be one of the most robust air filtration systems and is recommended by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention for its effectiveness. The HEPA filter captures fine particles as small as 0.3 microns (μm) and filters out at least 99.97 percent of contaminants in the air. It can be used as a countermeasure against airborne infectious diseases such as SARS and COVID-19. According to the manufacturer, this filter can also absorb coronavirus droplets in the air.

A diagram of the air filtration system on ANA aircraft

6  JUNE 2020



Mr Lee’s Noodles debuts at US Whole Foods Market Mr Lee’s Pure Foods, the company behind Mr Lee’s Noodles instant-noodles in a cup, has announced the US nationwide launch at Whole Foods Market. USDA approval was acquired due to the high food quality in the noodles including expertly cooked beef and chicken. US manufacturing is set up in California. “This is a huge milestone expansion for the young brand and speaks to its consumers’ growing interest and demand,” read the press release. This launch follows the growing success of the brand which has six flavors and now flies aboard airlines including Vueling, easyJet, Virgin Australia and Norwegian.


FORMIA launches Clean Kit range FORMIA has introduced a range of Clean Kits to support the health, safety and well-being of airline passengers. The new Clean Kit range features personal protective equipment (PPE) and sanitizer products which comply with international safety standards and regulations. All products are available as airline branded or in collaboration with a choice of trusted brands to provide a comprehensive selection with the flexibility to be adapted to suit airline requirements. The range has been thoughtfully designed with individually sealed products for added safety, and presented in a smart, durable pouch with customization options for airline branding. The kit features personal protective equipment and sanitizer products

Mr Lee’s Noodles includes six gluten-free flavors that are lowsugar certified and two are registered with The Vegan Society


SASCO finds success through Vietnam lockdown With the sky open for domestic travel in Vietnam, The Southern Airport Services Joint Stock Company (SASCO) is especially enthused for a return to the cabin. The caterer found success through the lockdown by changing its catering approach to supply meals for offices, home deliveries, retail meals and convenience stores. It was key for the caterer to modify in this direction in order to succeed, Keerthi “Happy” Hapugasdeniya, SASCO General Manager, Inflight Services told PAX International in late-May. Having local stores as customers can help airlines through a period like the one the industry is experiencing, he says. FLC Group-owned Vietnam airline Bamboo Airways will feature a new localized menu from SASCO Inflight Service Center (IFS) when it resumes flights. The catering facility at Tan Son Nhat International Airport (SGN) in Ho Chi Ming City is fully certified HACCP and a Halal accredited operation. It has the capability to serve more than 10,000 meals per day. Bamboo Airways became SASCO IFS’ first airline customer in early 2020 following the launch of the catering arm on January 1, 2020.

SASCO has refreshed the menu for Bamboo Airways featuring local food




Feeding positivity gategroup shares a glimpse of what its employees are cooking at home during the COVID-19 lockdown through social media campaign by JANE HOBSON


mid the stories surfacing throughout the pandemic, gategroup is adding a welcome sprinkle of positivity to the news. The company is sharing snapshots of what its employees are stirring up at home around the world through the social media campaign #LockdownRecipe. The campaign encourages gategroup employees to share their favorite, most delicious or challenging recipes that they have created at home during lockdown, gategroup’s Communications Specialist Isabelle Schoepflin tells PAX International. The campaign is meant to be fun and to inspire people to

recreate the dishes, improve their skills or just appreciate the beauty, she adds. “A number of us have tried out some of the recipes our colleagues have posted, to great success,” Schoepflin says, adding that she’s been focusing on improving her vegan and vegetarian dishes, such as Vegan Tartar, made using a type of soy pulp called okara. “It is super easy to make and tastes just as good as beef tartar.” Created to keep its global employee base engaged through the circumstances of COVID-19, Schoepflin says this campaign fed into the natural increase of people spending more time experimenting in the kitchen. Originating as a

Vegan Tartar made by gategroup’s Communications Specialist Isabelle Schoepflin for social media campaign #LockdownRecipe

private “Culinary Excellence” group on the employee app, the campaign then merged to social media. “We were thrilled with the positive response by employees – they loved it! They used the opportunity to share recipes near and dear to their hearts, whether a childhood favorite to local cuisines, from Martinique to South Africa to Korea to Ecuador. We literally have the entire globe covered.”

COLD MEAL BOX INNOVATION New concept design and food offerings built with the onboard guest experience in mind, to support an efficient crew service with minimal handling or physical customer contact and a lean handling at your last mile provider, whilst supporting your business back to normal schedules.

8  JUNE 2020







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The combination of mechanical filtration and UV disinfection is the most effective method for providing excellent quality and safe drinking water to passengers while inflight.



With one touch IWG-PWD will allow passengers to serve themselves safe drinking water during flight without entering the working area of the galley.




SATS President and Chief Executive Officer Alex Hungate

10  JUNE 2020


hen SATS President and Chief Executive Officer Alex Hungate looked back on the months the company has gone through since the beginning of the year, he paraphrased the beginning of a lengthy classic poem by T.S. Eliot. “April was the cruelest month,” Hungate tells PAX International. Air traffic across the Singapore-based company’s vast area of influence dropped 95 percent, hitting hard in its moneymaking segments of catering and ground handling that account for 80 percent of its business. April has been cruel across the board this year. However, in the poem, the month also breeds lilacs out of the dead land, mixes memory and desire and stirs dull roots with spring rain. In dealing with the fallout of the COVID-19 virus, SATS has also seen the challenging situation yield other, more positive results. The company’s cargo operations have held up and innovation can be seen from its airline customers. Where airline catering operations have fallen off, the company has partially made up by supplying restaurants in China and Singapore. It has also seen the resiliency and spirit of employees in action as they pitched in to help the country weather the crisis. The company’s SATS Academy has also supported the Singapore aviation community by training some 8,000 workers and giving employees the chance to “upskill and re-skill” by


Singapore-based SATS has seen its share of challenges during the outbreak of COVID-19, but the company prepared for them through new technology and worker training

April saw meal production for airlines drop precipitously in April, but the company has made up for it in its Food Solutions division

Rice Line produces 600 kilograms of product per hour

SATS handles food and cargo throughout its operations. It has stepped up its work with restaurants in China and Singapore

attending government supported training assignments and online programs. As a result, jobs have been saved by the government and the company. Ten-thousand of the company’s employees have been deployed to other parts of the SATS operations, often to its Food Solutions division to help with a surge in demand for meals in essential services and in the community. Another 700 employees volunteered in public health care and services. Those officials at the top of the company’s management have also taken pay reductions to help the company weather the financial hits that are now worldwide. In aircraft cabins of SATS customers, passengers are now finding some new seatmates in the form of cargo. In the past, Hungate says that up to 60 percent of an aircraft’s cargo was stored in the belly hold. But with vastly fewer aircraft in the air, the demand for cargo needed to be met to keep supply chains moving, particularly with perishable products. Thus, Hungate says that airlines are

converting seats within the aircraft to hold cargo. SATS employees are now improving load factors for airlines by strapping supplies securely to seating. “Our food trading business is procuring large quantities of eggs and meat supplies, uplifted by our cargo operations to stock the shelves of supermarkets in Singapore,” Hungate says. At SATS Academy, the down time for employees is also allowing them to train for what Hungate calls the “digital and technology transformation.” Long before the virus hit, SATS was investing in new technologies in the form of robotics and other solutions in the airline catering units and ground handling. In the spring of 2017, SATS opened a S$110 million (US$78 million) Technology Innovation Centre and unveiled its TechnlC@SATS program that drives improvements in automation for the company’s units at its headquarters and beyond. The technology has helped SATS to supply dormitory meals and meals for delivery drivers as well as a range

of ambient meals that are found in supermarkets around the city. One of the recent developments in the technology shift was its rice line that turns out 600 kilograms of the staple of Asian cooking per hour. While the automated process is helpful, Hungate says that it still needs 12 ovens to meet demand for rice. “Our investments in new food technologies and large-scale capabilities for our central kitchens over the last few years have been validated during the crisis,” he says. SATS has made another, more recent investment. This year, it concluded its acquisition of Monty’s Bakehouse, a longtime supplier to travel catering. The sustainably packaged handheld snacks that are the company’s specialty will be especially important in a post-COVID-19 cabin, says Hungate. “We believe the post-COVID-19 world could involve a ‘Low Touch’ Economy,” he says. “The ability to use packaging ingeniously to minimize contact between flight crew and passengers in a sustainable and hygienic way will be a critical success factor for caterers. “Together, SATS and Monty’s Bakehouse are already working closely with our customers to reimagine how inflight meals will be served,” says Hungate. When asked when air travel could return to some levels of normalcy in the region, Hungate, like most everyone else, said the industry will have to wait. Government travel restrictions need to be lifted and the traveling public needs to feel confident. In the week this story was completed, Singapore had eased some of its movement restrictions and transit flights through Changi Airport were expected to resume sometime in June. “We are in close contact with our customers as they make plans to reinstate their flights,” he says. “Many of them are projecting a full recovery in two to three years.” PAX-INTL.COM



A summer

of adjustments by RICK LUNDSTROM

With the industry still reeling from the effects of the COVID-19 virus, the Airline Catering Association has released a set of guidelines for catering, and LSG Group has charted its path in a changed industry


ince the outbreak of the COVID-19 virus it seems like a new chapter with changing plots is written almost weekly and in different parts of the world. But as the virus still ran through North America in early June, a structure for a return to normalcy is visibly taking place, and worldwide civil aviation is working on a roadmap for a return. Companies, organizations and individual countries are putting plans in place to structure the future passenger experience for safety, hygiene and the ability to instill confidence in the traveling public. Two officials, who play important roles in the long road of return of Western Europe to robust international and transcontinental travel spoke with PAX International at the end of May, days after the European Union Aviation

12  JUNE 2020

Safety Agency (EASA) released a 28-page guideline called the COVID-19 Aviation Health Safety Protocol which is designed to help with the management of passengers and aviation personnel. While the guidelines for catering from EASA say little, except to reduce service and a preference for pre-packaged service, Fabio Gamba, Managing Director of the Brussels-based Airline Catering Association (ACA) says the document helps to “set the scene” for a return of air transport on the continent. “That is good because it gives some political and legal framework to the whole thing, but it is not enough,” he tells PAX International. It is not enough, he says, because operationally little had changed as the summer travel season kicked off at the end of May. EU government financial

support for airline catering and ground handling was still lagging behind other industries in the commercial aviation value chain. Industries like catering may be only getting aid from the EU member states if the COVID-19 induced crises extend through the summer, and one after another, countries are starting to take the first steps to re-opening. “And there is a hope that by summer, there will be a more substantial percentage of the previous traffic of last year that will resume. And with that, a beginning of recovery and ground handling as well,” he adds. In Europe, the signs of a recovery were beginning to be seen. Lufthansa German Airlines, buoyed by an infusion of billions by the German government, was reviving the fleet of its flag carrier and subsidiaries. Ireland-based Ryanair had pledged that by July it would begin operations from a number of stations. While the move by those two airlines and others is good news, much of the traffic will be within Europe, with only selected important transcontinental routes in service.

And there is a hope that by summer, there will be a more substantial percentage of the previous traffic of last year that will resume. And with that, a beginning of recovery and ground handling as well.” FABIO GAMBA, AIRLINE CATERING ASSOCIATION

“ For robust international traffic that produces high revenue for the airlines and their suppliers, much will still need to be done for airline catering to mesh with operations. Gamba says many units on the continent have adopted additional hygiene and safety measures, but the policies vary from country to country. One positive outcome from the virus outbreak could be a move toward a more uniform standard for safety and hygiene that could be rolled out to airline catering units around the world. It is something the ACA is working on. “Something that makes sense no matter where you are or how big you are,” Gamba says. “I think that is important because it could be a first. And, it is important that we can show that we can join and combine forces on this, rather than be a factor of fragmentation as it has been in the past, perhaps.” Across the Atlantic Ocean, North America was still in the throes of the virus outbreak with states in the United States adopting various degrees of openness while airlines began slowly bringing aircraft back into service. But one of the

So we have to come from both ends, adjusting structures and cost but also being innovative so we do not just talk about scaling up and going back to the former way of doing catering.” ERDMANN RAUER, LSG GROUP

advantages for airline caterers has been the promise of the federal government to support industries with the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. The act sets aside US$3 billion in funding. The International Flight Services Association reported in late May that money from CARES began flowing to member caterers and other segments of the industry.

Strategy and planning

Chairman of the Strategic Committee of the ACA is Erdmann Rauer, CEO of the LSG Group. At the helm of a worldwide company, Rauer has watched the wave of COVID-19 sweep across the world, affecting the operations region by region. He pinpointed the date, Friday, March 13, when the Frankfurt, Germany-based company ordered employees in the main offices to begin working from home. “Since then, nobody has returned to work,” he says. But the crisis has not stopped the company from moving ahead and shaping a future. Much of it, Rauer says, includes ramping up trends and

developments in airline catering that were already taking shape. But the onset of the virus created a unique set of circumstances for LSG Group. The company was in the midst of an important year that saw its European operations sold to gategroup (closing still pending) and with plans to reposition the international operations of the company for a new future; while coming off a successful 2019 that saw important contract renewals, the opening of new locations and of strategic partnerships. The LSG Group closed the 2019 financial year with consolidated revenues of €3.4 billion (US$3.77 billion) up 2.3 percent over the previous year. And, adjusted EBIT of €128 million (US$142 million), an increase of 11 percent over 2018. Rauer says the first inkling of the crisis ahead came when production volumes began dropping from the company’s wide and varied operations in China where it operates several joint ventures. Volume and performance began decreasing, while unrest in Hong Kong was already putting pressure on the company’s catering unit servicing PAX-INTL.COM



Hong Kong International Airport. With staff worldwide working from home since March and the virus spreading to Europe, North and Latin America, volume and revenue plummeted. “Basically, the whole organization is standing still and you are managing a company and industry with almost no revenue,” he says. The company moved fast, forming a strategic pandemic crisis committee. Costs were managed and personnel issues were evaluated country by country. In the company’s headquarters and operations in Germany, workers qualified for the government’s Short-Term Work scheme while employees in other countries were put on paid and unpaid leave. The LSG Group analyzed its strategy going forward and relied heavily on the relationships it had built with its customers and stabilized the company’s operations. Like Gamba, Rauer says that the crisis caused by the COVID-19 virus could serve

as a catalyst for the look of inflight catering in the future. And he says the building blocks are already in place. The move toward individualization that has brought pre-order and pre-select meals, and the need for a more sustainable practices, were moving ahead before the onset of the virus, Rauer adds. When the industry suffered following 9/11 and the 2008 economic downturn, technology didn’t exist to accurately forecast demand and volume control. LSG Group has relied heavily on its Retail inMotion subsidiary that provides onboard-retail technology and products. He sees a future where food service is more often bundled into fares, giving airlines still the opportunity to offer an even more attractive on-board service while being cost-conscious at the same time. Rauer calls this concept “food on demand.” “So we have to come from both ends, adjusting structures and cost but also being innovative so we do not just talk about scaling up and going back to the former way of doing catering,”

Rauer says. He stressed the importance of the ACA working with airlines and developing guidelines (see sidebar story) on how to deal with products, packaging and, in the near term, social distancing measures and personal protective equipment in the catering process designed to ensure safety of onboard meal service. Amid the current challenges, Rauer says the LSG Group has not lost sight of its long-term commitment to sustainable onboard products and services. While the industry may be selecting and using products that are not consistent with sustainable goals, they are only a short-term offering. “Single-use plastic is still in place and its removal may be delayed now due to the crisis. But for me, as a human being, nothing has changed in terms of how I look at sustainability,” Rauer says. “It is our call now to do something about it. Of course, this topic may not be on your top priorities while you are trying to save a company, but we will never delete it from our agenda.”

ACA RELEASES SAFETY PRECAUTIONS GUIDE FOR SUMMER As passengers take to the skies this summer when restrictions on cross-border travel are lifted, additional safety and hygiene measures will be in place to ensure maximum safety for food and beverage service. The Brusselsbased Airline Catering Association (ACA) in earlyJune is providing additional guidance with a 28-page rundown of suggested safety precautions at all levels of the inflight catering supply chain. “You can travel this summer and enjoy food on board your flight. Food is not connected to virus spread and strict food safety measures refined through decades of air travel remain in place to make sure that all food leaving our kitchens is safe,” says Fabio Gamba, Managing Director of the ACA. “If you travel, you can continue to enjoy your meal onboard with peace of mind.” ACA has adopted the ACA COVID-19 Guidelines, new safety measures for the industry in order to help its members navigate the pandemic. The ACA COVID-19 Guidelines are built on four guiding principles, known as

14  JUNE 2020

the 4P’s, which allow for proper risk assessment and the continuation of safe inflight catering: People; Premises/ Policies/Processes & Procedures; and Procurement. Every airport, airline, and aircraft is different. The ACA COVID-19 Guidelines provide additional controls and checklists tailored to the local risk landscape and adaptable as events and circumstances change. They also ensure that measures such as social distancing and personal protective equipment (PPE) are used in medium- to high-risk stages of the pandemic. Even in a low-risk stage, the ACA says the guidelines support timely facility adaptation to changes. In the event that an infection cluster is discovered in a particular region, distancing measures must be implemented without supply-chain disruption. Inflight catering does not carry a risk of transmitting the coronavirus. According to the World Health Organization, there is no evidence to date of viruses that cause respiratory illnesses being transmitted via food or food packaging. Aircraft design and travel regulations make personto-person contact on aircraft lower than other forms of contact, such as at home or in offices, says the ACA. The air quality inside an aircraft cabin is exceptionally clean due to vertical air flow and the use of HEPA filters, as well as strict measures to stop infected persons from traveling.

10-11 NOV 2020 SINGAPORE



























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En Route International supplies light-touch meal boxes


Light as a feather flatware

Sola Netherlands is introducing a range of super lightweight cutlery. The steel, 0.5-millimeter-thick cutlery was in development before the pandemic as Sola was preparing for the EU regulations against plastics. “We reinvented a concept solution to the plastic problems and [have now] adapted it to a solution for this extreme challenge,” Sola Netherlands Export Manager Hans Engels tells PAX International. “Despite all the restrictions and distancing that will come and go, service is the one thing people both want and indeed need.” With original plans to introduce the range in Hamburg being delayed, Engels says the company has used the opportunity to ensure the cutlery will be useful to airlines as they adjust to inflight food service in the post-lockdown cabin. The washable, recyclable Featherlite range adheres to environmental restrictions and is offered in three designs which makes it suitable for various service styles.

Packaging perspective

En Route International has launched ‘light-touch’ snacking and meal solutions for airlines as they transition to carrying passengers again.

16  JUNE 2020

With the future of inflight food service still up in the air, these companies are pivoting to keep pace with the turbulent climate

The range includes boxes with snacks, water and hand sanitizers, and some that include more substantial meal varieties, such as frozen sandwiches. There is also a range of wrapped bakery items and cheese for premium cabins. As part of the company’s Four the Future environmental initiative, the box board packaging is sourced from new and recycled material and can again be recycled after use. “Based on our research and discussions with carriers and caterers, all inflight stakeholders appear to be looking for products that are easy to serve, limiting crew and passenger interaction, whilst also minimizing the use of rotable equipment that needs to be handled during pre- and post-service activity,” says Executive Director Hamish Cook. “By working collaboratively with all the relevant parties, we developed a product that we feel is suited to the period ahead of us.” Along with its sealed disposable cutlery and condiment packs, inflight clean up kits and aprons, WK Thomas recently developed a new single-serve box meal solution that holds a film-sealed hot entrée, cutlery, drink and dessert to provide its airline customers with a safe inflight food service option. When asked how the environmentally conscious company is balancing sustainability with these new products, WK Thomas’ Head of Travel David Simpson tells PAX, “Hygiene

Global Inflight Products’ trolley trash bag hangs on the end of the trolley for efficient clean up without unnecessary handling by flight attendants

and sustainability are not mutually exclusive. Sustainability remains a key focus at WK Thomas’ and all of the fantastic work and product development that was done prior to COVID19 will not be undone during this pandemic.” With 25 years’ experience supplying onboard products, Global Inflight Products (GIP) predicts pre-packaged food and bottled water will become more common post-pandemic. “As food safety will become an even more visible top priority, attractive meal boxes will be essential,” says GIP Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Lisa Benzaoui. Benzaoui predicts a sealed, compact meal box with factory-sealed snacks or fresh items will center as one of the best ways to ensure quality and food safety with minimal passenger interaction required with the flight crew. This will also make trash collection easier at the end of the service since all of the components can be safely enclosed in the meal or snack box, she adds. The GIP trolley trash bag, which hangs on the end of the trolley, offers an efficient way for passengers to drop their items in the bag without any further handling by the crew.

Convenient condiments

Le Must is preparing for a year of hopeful expansion into aircraft cabins. The single-use, USDA Organic certified condiments are suited well for First and Business Class post-pandemic cabins because they are equipped with a temper-evident seal and are imported directly from Europe to the airline with minimal touch points, Moshe Cohen, Le Must Managing Partner and Creator, tells PAX International. They also suit the passenger who would generally enjoy organic, sustainable, high-end condiments, he adds.

The company is also prepping for the launch of its artisan preserves line in the next few months. The preserves will be made true to authentic preserve recipe - with sugarcane and cooked quickly in copper cauldrons to retain the freshness of the fruit. While developing new service concepts for its airline customers, gategroup’s deSter brand has been focusing on creating low-interaction solutions that maintain the company’s dedication to sustainability, says Philippe De Naeyer, Director Sustainability and Product Development. Mostly due to hygiene safety and efficiency, the industry tends to use more single-use items than reusable ones, De Naeyer explains, therefore, the deSter concepts look to alternative materials to single-use plastics, such as the paper cutlery wraps replacement and the use of other materials including fibers, paper, wood and bamboo. “The close interaction between all of our in-house designers, engineers, product developers and material experts allows us to quickly adjust to the changing market and to create new products to respond to immediate needs,” Creative Director Ruud Vanderheyden tells PAX.

Worry-free warewashing

Meanwhile on the ground, services like warewashing are also taking a hit. But as Tomas Jämtander, Diskomat Marketing Director Flight Catering Solutions, says, inflight food service will continue to play a vital role for airlines when flights resume. “Whether a low-cost carrier with limited onboard service or an airline with a comprehensive meal service offering, the drive towards materials that require warewashing will continue to rise,” he tells PAX International. Wexiödisk washers sold by Diskomat are rigorously tested: water flow, wash patterns, stipulated water temperatures throughout all zones. This combined with good hygiene practice and a well-managed HACCP plan in the catering unit eliminates the possibility of the novel coronavirus being present within the machine itself, Jämtander says, extinguishing concerns for contamination in the warewashing process. Diskomat has received an increase in inquiries for touchfree handling alternatives in warewash operations, Jämtander says, highlighting the Wexiödisk cutlery washer with automatic cutlery sorting machine. “It’s an innovative installation that is 100 percent touch-free and hygienic from start to end.”

Digitized in the new world

Le Must single-use, USDA Organic certified condiments are equipped with temper-evident seal and imported directly from Europe

For Australia-based QA Chef, providing digital food safety traceability systems to catering facilities is a must now more than ever. Via its handheld Q-Pack device, QA Chef eliminates the need for manual validation of ingredient shelf lives and temperatures, minimizing data entry at every Critical Control Point from ingredient to customer. The QA Chef system gives the caterer complete digital visibility across all critical food safety data – that would normally otherwise be recorded on paper and subject to inaccuracies, says David Cox, Founder and CEO. QA Chef can record the IDs of all workers in the chain of food preparation, and all HACCP records for a specific dish can be recalled at the press of a button if there is a concern. “At the end of the day, passengers just want to know they are safe at all points of their journey, including when they eat their meals,” says Cox. PAX-INTL.COM



A passengers uses the contactless AirAsia kiosk at klia2

Hands off for health by RICK LUNDSTROM


AirAsia has entered what many consider an important component to future air travel with a series of features that utilize technology and help passengers feel safe getting back in the air

t has been said that in order to see air travel return in significant numbers, passengers need to feel confident that every possible step is taken to ensure a healthy experience when traveling; and that the confidence needs to begin at the airport level. One of Asia’s more daring airlines over the years has been Malaysiabased AirAsia. The low-cost carrier took a chance with a new company selecting the Hawk seat from Mirus in the United Kingdom four years ago. Its subsidiary company ROKKI’s platform partnered with Inmarsat for its high speed connectivity. Now after two months of careful planning, AirAsia is rolling out high-tech features to move towards contactless payments and other similar procedures at several airports.

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“AirAsia has always been a pioneer of new technologies and we are proud to be able to provide a contactless solution in a short period of time,” says Javid Malik, AirAsia Group Chief Operations Officer. Indeed, work on the contactless check-in and boarding procedures started in earnest in mid-March. The airline concentrated on several areas: check-in and boarding procedures using its current digital kiosks and self-bag drop machines. By the end of April much of the work had been completed and the airline threw the switch on operations May 13. At that time, the contactless kiosks were also waiting for passenger service to resume at airports outside Malaysia in Thailand, the Philippines, Indonesia and Japan. The airline has also implemented a Passenger Reconciliation System (PRS)

at its home airport, known as klia2, that allows airport security staff to verify that the passengers who have presented tickets at the check-in desk are the same passengers who are boarding the plane. At klia2, this can be done through a digitized boarding pass that does not have to be exchanged with airport security AirAsia is also enhancing features on its mobile phone app where passengers can scan their passports via the app itself. Visa scanning capability is also in the airline’s plans. What is needed now is a steady flow of confident passengers. So far, AirAsia has resumed scheduled domestic flights with reduced frequency, and in early-May added flights to Thailand. “Once AirAsia’s other operating countries commence operations with gradual restrictions lifted, we plan to have an advanced contactless procedure by July 2020,” says Malik. “As we have to take into account other external parties involved such as airport operators and other relevant authorities.”


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Hydrated and

healthy International Water-Guard is securing regulatory approvals and preparing to introduce a way for passengers to access drinking water on their own at wellness centers and refreshment stations in cabins of the future by RICK LUNDSTROM Galleys and common areas around aircraft are prime places for the Personal Water Dispenser (PWD)

F David Pohl, Director Strategic Development, International Water-Guard

20  JUNE 2020

or more than 30 years, International Water-Guard Industries has been supplying water disinfection units along with heaters, valves, faucets and other water related equipment to commercial, VVIP and head of state aircraft. Now, the British Columbia-based company is seeking to expand its capabilities and place a glass of cold, clear, and most importantly, clean water in the hands of airline passengers. Using its ultraviolet light unit that is catching the attention of airlines and cleaning companies in a post-COVID-19 future, the company’s UVL1, teamed with its Passenger Water Dispenser (PWD), International Water-Guard can produce pure clean water, without the use of chemicals, to every passenger. This summer sees the company moving to carve out a niche in the commercial aviation market. In this issue’s Industry Q and A, David Pohl, Director Strategic Development, International Water-Guard Industries Inc. answers a few questions from PAX International about the PWD and what can be done to get airlines interested in quenching passenger thirst while reducing weight and single-use plastics.

International Water-Guard has been outfitting water disinfection units in business and VIP aircraft for more than 30 years. The company is now looking to find customers among scheduled airlines

PAX INTERNATIONAL: Are there any certificates or regulatory requirements that need to be met for the PWD? If so, what are they? DAVID POHL: The PWD will be TSO certified as a galley component. The PWD will be NSF61 Compliant and tested to NSF 55 Class A for UV disinfection. The PWD is uniquely designed to fit into specialty interior monuments such as passenger wellness or refreshment zones on long-haul flights. The PWD can also be fitted onto galleys in locations that are separate from the flight crew activity areas. PWD derivatives are planned for galley inserts. PAX: Are you looking to have the product listed in Boeing and Airbus catalogs? Have they been approached? POHL: Yes, we have discussed the PWD with both Airbus and Boeing. While there is some interest in having this as an offering, it would be the galley manufacturers that will drive the demand if they want to differentiate their offering. Later, after the PWD finds its way onto several airline fleets, we fully expect OEM’s to one day add the PWD to their catalogs. Remember, after O’Hare installed the first water filling station in 2011, soon others followed and now most of the major airports have stations. PAX: How many PWDs would be optimal for a standard widebody? POHL: The answer depends on the vision of the airline. All airlines that operate wide bodies have design teams at work trying to define what the cabin layout of the future will look like and especially those with the longest flight legs. Some of the ideas include wellness centers and refreshment areas that are accessible to passengers to get up from their seats and spend time in. All of these areas are perfect candidates for a PWD. If they are also committed to eliminating plastic bottles, the need for PWDs increases. PAX: To keep the product filled and maintained, do caterers play a role? What entity at the airport or catering outlet would ensure the units are filled and maintained?

POHL: The PWD is integrated into the aircraft water system and it is designed to be operated by the passenger. Cabin crew or caterer involvement is not required. The maintenance of the PWD is relatively simple with an occasion filter cartridge change once every three to four months and an even more occasional UV-LED device replacement once every five to seven years depending on usage. PAX: Airlines are generally leery to be first customers and early adopters. What sort of feedback and comments have you received from potential airline customers? POHL: The airlines are cautious, but they also know how to work with the OEMs to get what they believe their passengers need. This need is not going away. One day soon, the first agreement for introducing a PWD onto an aircraft will be made by an innovator airline with an OEM. And like you suggest, the early adopters will follow and add water refill stations to their aircraft too. PAX: Potable water quality is entirely dependent on the source. Would this device be able to work in any part of the world? POHL: Water quality is dependent on the source, but it is also affected by the process to transport the water from the source to the aircraft water tank. Most airlines have a team that closely monitors the entire process to protect the quality of the water uploaded into their aircraft. The last step in the chain is the cleanliness of the aircraft’s potable water tank and water distribution system, and, airlines have to comply with regional water quality regulations. If there is a failed water sample, an aircraft can be taken out of service for the water system to be cleaned. The PWD is a point of use component that filters and disinfects water. If there is an escape in the water source or transport process or an unclean water system onboard an aircraft that allows contaminated water to enter the PWD, the PWD will filter the sediment, will change the foul taste and eliminate the odor of the water and will kill the common waterborne pathogens or biofilms before the water enters a passenger’s water bottle. PAX-INTL.COM




The ‘In S+FE Little Hands’ range by Galileo Watermark features a collection of characters repeated across the PPE, packaging and fun activities

Industry suppliers share updates on what kids’ personal protective equipment they have to offer

This kids’ mask by AK-Service doubles as a sleeping mask and face mask with a filter insert for respiratory protection


hey may be small in stature, but child passengers are a huge priority for the airlines and suppliers tasked with keeping them safe and healthy inflight. With future air travel standards and protocols unclear, suppliers are preparing to fulfill their airline customer’s demands for personal protective equipment (PPE) made specifically for children. From colorful face masks to cartoon information cards and games, these companies are mastering the border between providing fun and engaging PPE while simultaneously protecting air travel’s littlest passengers from COVID-19.


After years of designing kids’ kits for airlines such as Aeroflot, Uzbekistan Airways, Rossiya Airlines and Yakutia Airlines, AK-Service Group of Companies has lots of experience with keeping wee ones engaged inflight. Now, the company is making special changes to its kids’ offerings, Nadia Krupskaya, Business Development Director, tells PAX International. AK-Service has added childsized gloves and masks with a safety information card to some of its existing kids’ kits. The card

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requirements, including age group. “If PPE products like facemasks will be part of kids concepts in the future, only the future will show us,” Gade says when asked about the future of children’s onboard amenities.


The “SP3” personal protective equipment kit for kids by Kaelis features playful illustrations and games to make it more appealing to children

features fun cartoon characters and easy instructions for use. The opposite side of the card has games and some safety kits come with board games, says Krupskaya. The design team also developed a 2-in-1 mask that can be used as an eye mask or a face mask to protect the respiratory system. A special filter included with the kit can be inserted when used as a face mask, which are available in different sizes per age group: three-to-seven or eight-to-12 years old. “We’ve combined our ideas and designed funny prints on the masks for kids so they will feel excited to wear them all the time,” says Krupskaya, adding, “We have realized it is very hard to find PPE in children’s sizes, and it is not working properly if the mask doesn’t fit well.” Krupskaya says AK-Service predicts airlines will have to add PPE to their amenities and children’s kits at least until the end of this year.


When it comes to developing kids’ concepts with the airline, Denmark-based kids and family concept agency KIDZinflight has more than 40 years of experience in kids’ entertainment, marketing and brand optimization for airlines. The company studies how children play, their behavior and the needs of the whole family while traveling in order to provide kids’ concepts that create a friendly cabin environment. Based on insight from working with families, there is an increased stress level for parents when traveling with kids, explains Charlotte Gade, Head of Consulting and Concept Development. Parents tend to stress when traveling with children about how they will behave, possible scenarios at the airport and aboard the aircraft and how they will keep their children protected, healthy and safe, she adds. Combining this insight with its research findings about kids enjoying engaging in dress up, wearing play masks and having their faces painted, KIDZinflight is helping airlines develop face masks for the post-pandemic cabin. The masks are designed with expressions that make children feel comfortable and secure, resulting in a more positive experience for the children and parents, Gade explains. Each concept is developed to fit the airline’s

Since the outbreak of COVID-19 began, Kaelis has been using its experience in supply-chain management to develop a PPE Catalogue that includes masks, face covers, gloves, sanitizer wipes and gels, goggles and shields, gowns, clothing sets, aprons, caps and shoe covers. When it comes to children’s PPE, Creative Director Manoj Pridhanani tells PAX the company played on kids’ natural creativity when designing kits. “Adding color and illustrations to the kit makes it more appealing to them. We added a little game inside for them to make sure they are entertained for some time,” Pridhanani says. “However, the main objective is to ensure the kids are safe and wear the mask which has been specifically adapted for children [face sizes.]” The “SP3” kits are based on research and development to increase safety and hygiene on board post-COVID-19, Pridhanani says. The sets include sanitizer wipes, mask, gloves, an informative leaflet to explain simple safety measures, and the packaging includes a “surprise element.” The sets are custom made per airline and can be adapted for age groups zero-to-six and six-to-eleven. When asked who will be responsible for teaching children how to use the products safely and correctly, Pridhanani says “the crew will hand out the kits, but it will be the parent/ guardian’s responsibility to follow the instructions.” “PPE will be mandatory for the travel industry to operate in the short-run and that regulation will apply to adults as [well as] to the children,” he says. “The travel industry needs to be trusted again, now more than ever and there is nothing that matters more to the parents than children, so changes must be made in order to ensure their safety.” The company has also launched the SP3 pouch for adult passengers.

Galileo Watermark

Galileo Watermark’s ‘In S+FE Little Hands’ kids’ range features a collection of characters repeated across the PPE, packaging and fun activities. The offering includes special kid-sized face masks, alcohol wipes for use with adult supervision, activity books, stickers and other items to keep little ones engaged. Beyond just providing a smaller size, the supplier has taken an after-flight approach to kids’ face masks. “Beyond this practical [inflight] need, we think there is also a social need to have something more appealing and less intimidating for children,” says Galileo Watermark Chairman Ian Linaker. “The key is to normalize what is a relatively new and unfamiliar product group for children. Using characters and including material in the kits to tell the story of the products and their purpose will help do this. We need to remove the fear and medical factor and try to make the products as playful and engaging as possible.” While crew will need to be trained, Linaker says it will be up parents to ensure the child is supervised and using items correctly. The range includes instructions on how to use each item. PAX-INTL.COM



Fast Future foresees slow restart

Rohit Talwar, Chief Executive Officer, Fast Future

Rohit Talwar, global futurist and Chief Executive Officer of Fast Future, discusses the four possible ways the industry can recover from the pandemic based on scenario planning by JANE HOBSON


s uncertainty about the future seemingly seeps into every corner of the industry, research and insights firm Fast Future has been examining what kind of restart is most likely. In May, PAX International spoke with Fast Future Chief Executive Officer Rohit Talwar about four possible ways the industry may emerge from the pandemic. The report that presents the four scenarios, called COVID10 Air Transport Near Term Impacts and Scenarios, is the first installment of a four-part joint-study by Fast Future, Future Travel Experience (FTE), and the Airline Passenger Experience Association (APEX) entitled Air Transport 2035. The visions were created using scenario planning, Talwar tells PAX, which is a futurist technique that involves identifying the most significant forces at play, which have the highest impact and the highest uncertainty. From there, the partners developed stories based on these factors about how the future might play out. In the study, Fast Future narrows down industry collaboration and economic recovery as the two major factors. Talwar notes that neither force specifically pertains to the pandemic

because travelers will fly even if the pandemic is spreading, which has already been seen in the US, making it a less important influencer. From here, the four scenarios are born: Survival of the Safest, Hope and Glory, Sealed and Secure and Love in a Cold Climate.

Survival of the Safest

This potential scenario incorporates fragmented and disjointed industry collaboration and a deep global recession or depression. In this outcome, Talwar says the industry stands to see some airlines failing and airports closing down. The survivors are the ones with strong end-to-end safety measures which convince passengers that they will not be at risk while traveling. In his estimation, this is where the industry is now.

Hope and Glory

Here, there is economic recovery but the industry does not coordinate. Players that do the best in managing the entire passenger journey and work with key partners are the ones most likely to experience glory and by 2022 or 2023 see numbers similar to those that were seen at the end of 2019, he adds.

This scenario planning graph by Fast Future depicts four possible outcomes for the industry based on the two main driving factors, industry collaboration and economic recovery

24  JUNE 2020

A new mindset is required which truly understands new business models and the power and potential of becoming technology- and data-centric”

Love in a Cold Climate

In this scenario, the industry collaborates well, but the economy does not recuperate. “You don’t see the economic pick-up, but the passengers that do fly feel safer because they have the same experience wherever they go,” Talwar says.

Sealed and Secure

In this fourth scenario, there is both economic recovery and collaboration between industry players by following similar protocols throughout the entire world, leading to a global economic restart, which together bring the most ideal outcome, he says. While Sealed and Secure is the best outcome, Talwar says it is rated as the least likely to happen by the sector itself in a survey conducted by Fast Future. This is because there are so many associations, organizations, airlines, and airports trying to work with governments that are each at different levels of development, have different

financial resources and, in some regions, for whom virus testing is not as readily available as other locations. “It’s a challenge that requires the industry to step up in a way it has never done before,” Talwar says. “You can’t separate the history, the personalities, and the cultures from the decision making that’s taking place. So, the risk is that if they try to agree, they’ll agree on a lowest common denominator, which will work everywhere in the world [and] be doable with current capabilities, but it might mean you end up with a much lower level of provision than you would hope for.” Talwar says Fast Future foresees the possibility of the industry returning to a new normal by approximately 2023 if it can recognize and overcome these hurdles. If not, it’s a different story. “By 2025, given the perilous state of finances and limited potential for government support in many locations, up to 50 percent of current airlines and airports worldwide could end up failing, being taken over, or placed under new management if they fail to adapt to the rapidly changing realities of competing in this turbulent environment,” he says. “A new mindset is required which truly understands new business models and the power and potential of becoming technology- and data-centric. These would be the platform for the industry to transform itself in the next few years to an economically viable, environmentally sustainable, innovative, passenger-focused service industry. That’s what it’s going to take.”

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A SHIFT ON THE HORIZON PAX International Asia Correspondent Jeremy Clark discusses the new dynamic that may emerge between airlines and suppliers in the aftermath of COVID-19

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my last post I pondered how, as a result of the current chaos, airlines might change their passenger service and ticketing rules. I had a chat with a close colleague of mine – a senior executive of one our largest caterers – on the plight of caterers in general during this difficult time. He posed a question which gave me pause to think: Will this situation finally change the relationship between suppliers and airlines? It’s well known that in the airline food chain, catering tends to come somewhere near the bottom, with the ground handlers and baggage guys, despite the fact that what caterers do has the most impact on the customer’s perception of the airline.

Nonetheless, it’s an easy option for cuts when accountants are forced to evaluate. It is only after some time that they comprehend the folly of compromising one of the main takeaways for customers. There is no question that the current calamity is incomparable to previous situations that adversely affected our industry, such as 9/11, the SARS pandemic or the numerous economic downturns that we have had to weather. The question is whether or not this will prompt change in the behavioural dynamics within the industry. This is not a simple diagnosis of the dealings between major airlines and the major caterers. Despite it not being in their best interests, airlines continuously push caterers ever closer to the edge, meanwhile the caterers aren’t blameless as they carry on destroying each other for the sake of market share.

How can this change?

Well firstly, we shall have to see who has survived and who has fallen into the abyss. If, like me, you stay in this business long enough, you see the cycles. It never fails to amaze me that when new blood comes in, or for the old school who are still set in their mindsets, they tend to ignore the lessons of the past. I am sorry if this all sounds a little condescending, but the fact is that change only comes when someone is either brave enough or smart enough to push it. Oldies who take the “well that’s the way we’ve always done it” approach is one problem, however there is really no excuse for new generations coming in and repeating the mistakes of the past. Either because they know little else and want to make a mark, or because they bring with them incompatible methods taught to them. For those of us who were around following 9/11, we clearly remember the promises of the New World Order. Airlines and caterers promised to look after each other. That went okay only for as long as it was absolutely necessary. Then, they reverted back to the old ways. The same happened with the SARS. Today is different. The damage, to airlines at least, is a lot greater. Supply chains are more complex with layer upon layer of suppliers from frozen meals to amenity kits and packaging and a huge range of finished products whose businesses are directly affected.

The caterers are different too. In the bygone era where Dobbs, Caterair, Marriott, LSG Sky Chefs, THF and airline-owned operators dominated the market, negotiation dynamics were considerably simpler. Now, depending on where you are, we have a raft of consulting houses, brokers and multiple suppliers to an airline all of whom negotiate their specific deals either with the airline or those representing it.

What might come out of this?

My fear – and prognosis – is that in the immediate future, each will do its best to try and support the other. Sadly, it won’t last. Unless permanent and truly cooperative agreements based on mutual survival and support are forged, things will revert back. As crazy as they may sound, here are some of my ideas of what might come out of this: 1. The least likely is airlines taking back control of their provisioning services. If done properly, it could potentially save huge costs by cutting through multiple supply chain layers. Airlines would diversify and thus this is highly unlikely. It will be interesting to watch airlines like Cathay Pacific, Singapore Airlines, Emirates, Korean Air, etc., who retain some form of ownership of their caterers.

3. A more likely scenario is that the sub- and sub-sub-suppliers to the provisioning side of the industry will become more closely integrated into the chain. Companies will share ownership. More joint ventures and closer relationships between suppliers and brokers hopefully ensuring their survival whilst reducing costs. There is no question that the airlines of the future will continue to compete on service. Perhaps even more so as fares increase.

More to think about

The final question in this unanticipated tale is: Which airlines will survive? It’s likely that some will battle on unexpectedly, while some that do deserve to will not. My fear is that many who should have gone, but survive thanks to handouts from governments, will continue to play the negotiation games in the same old way. I am optimistic that from the ashes, new airlines or existing airlines reborn will come to the market with a fresh and healthy respect for the negotiations between supplier and consumer. It is in nobody’s interest to continuously push for the lowest common denominator. That’s how you end up with Ryanair. One thing I can’t be sure of is, Alitalia will still be here!

2. Seeing the embryo of new airline alliances from those who would not have survived or have seemingly unlimited investment – for example Ethiopia Airlines, South African Airways and Air Mauritius, are similar consolidations possible within the supplier market? Given that Temasek Holdings have control of more than half of the worlds current market, how much more consolidation could take place?




Focus on


Contactless travel aids like face recognition will comfort travelers nervous about flying in a post-COVD-19 environment

Now, more than ever, passengers need a caring, genuine face on an airline to lure them in and keep them coming back, says Dr. Stathis Kefallonitis, Founder & President


priority for airlines in the days and weeks to come will be to recognize and thank passengers for their loyalty. Rewarding passengers for their continuous business in a tangible way becomes way more important than what it was before the outbreak of the COVID-19 virus. As an example, offering incentives: American Airlines was among the first carriers to offer loyalty bonuses for passengers that booked travel within a given timeframe. Furthermore, this is not the time to reduce the product offering. A lot of airlines in the name of ‘safety’ have eliminated or reduced service dramatically. Security and safety are taken for granted. Passengers do not expect any incidents when they fly. That is why they have selected to fly with a given carrier. There are ways to still provide exceptional and memorable service by keeping employees and customers safe.

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No passenger would want to continue flying (or fly more) if the product is not the same or better! Oil prices are at an all-time low yet tickets in certain parts of the world are still unusually high and service is gone. With business travel reduced, a lot of that revenue would come from independent passengers, small business owners, etc. No passengers in these categories will continue being loyal if there is no value in travel experience. This is the time to go beyond expectations. Improving passenger loyalty cannot be achieved by the things that airlines were doing previously. Revisiting the passenger contact points provides an avenue.

An opportunity to excel

Incorporating the latest technology can help shape-up the future of air-travel. This is the time to ‘attack’ passengers with love and demonstrate ultimate care. Being genuine, trustworthy and compassionate speaks loudly to passengers.

This passenger care can be translated as doing something extraordinary for those loyal passengers. This can be in a form of a new initiative that makes headlines. A good example is the Private Room by Singapore Airlines. A distinctive lounge within a lounge that offers room for customization, privacy, and comfort. American Express is revamping their first ever AMEX Centurion lounge in Las Vegas. The expansion is taking into consideration the post COVID-19 limitations and reflects the changing needs of popular travelers. Editor’s Note: Both lounges are currently closed but plans are to re-open soon. The last few years we have seen an increase in contactless airport infrastructure from self-check-in, to self-passport scan, to biometric terminals. These are gradually being enhanced. We will see a greater influx and variety of these that is going to be implemented at airports around the world. Contactless transactions are here to stay, and these will be further enhanced

Dr. Stathis Kefallonitis, Founder & President, branding. aero

The American Express Centurian Lounge at McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas

The ‘new’ tomorrow

Stocking memories is what keeps an airline brand alive. Providing emotionally-charged travel experiences help passengers relive those memories and strengthen the airline brand”

with eye-tracking and face-recognition techniques as part of biometric terminals that are getting implemented. Airline and airport regulators have made advances so that we can build on successes and create safe and seamless experiences. Combining these developments with progress in connectivity can be very useful.

Perception of risk

In uncertain times, passengers need travel brands that they can rely on. Having faith in dependable airlines — that are there for passengers — helps strengthen loyalty. Relying on reputable airline brands provides less surprises and risks. Dependable airlines should not only project lifestyle characteristics of being safe and reliable but become airlines that enhance passenger lives. Promoting an unrealistic and unattainable lifestyle may hurt the airline brand in the long term. A reliable and realistic airline brand helps me live more responsibly by

recycling, by customizing my onboard experience, by using my feedback to create a better flying experience.


This is certainly the time to be proactive rather than reactive. Making positive news and leading in the travel industry is perceived as a good thing. When a company is making changes to accommodate the changing needs of passengers, it is instantly compared with competitors. The airline that does something first or goes beyond the call of duty to help, will be remembered. Taking the necessary steps to create value by implementing changes is perceived positively by passengers. Airlines that take the lead and reward or aid passengers earn their loyalty. Being there during times of crisis translates to immeasurable customer loyalty. Loyalty goes both ways and is not only the benefit of airlines. Passengers may well switch carriers if they feel that their loyalty is not being appreciated.

A large majority of travelers will be price-sensitive in the new travel normalcy. Passengers will be looking for the next big deal when planning trips. These price-sensitive passengers are more likely to be purchasing additional services when they fly in economy class (additional luggage allowance, buy-on-board, etc.). This pay-as-you-go concept is not new but needs to be revisited to create greater value. Creating bundles that may speak of value would help airlines sell additional buy-on-board services. One-off premium-class fare purchases may be more common as passengers may be more selective. Identifying flying segments that are more likely to be booked in Business/First will allow airlines to plan accordingly (fleet, onboard services, etc.). Many travelers may continue to use frequent flyer miles, credit card points, promotions, and/or a mix of all the aforementioned. Airlines can plan experiences that can be purchased using miles and money offering passengers greater choice and variety of services. It is often the little things that may bring back happy memories of flying. The stronger those memories, the stronger the engagement with passengers. Stocking memories is what keeps an airline brand alive. Providing emotionally-charged travel experiences help passengers relive those memories and strengthen the airline brand. PAX-INTL.COM



The votes are in! PAX International highlights the airline and catering winners of the 2020 Readership Awards, which was celebrated online due to the event postponements


AX International celebrated the winners of the 2020 Readership Awards in the digital space this year instead of live at Passenger Experience Week in Hamburg. Here are some thoughts from the airline and caterer winners during this unparalleled period for the industry:

Gate Gourmet Airline Caterer of the Year

“Due to the curfew and COVID-19 restrictions in Ecuador we were not able to plan a formal celebration for the PAX Award with our employees as we would have planned, however, we plan do so when our units are fully operational and working again,” says Rodrigo Decerega, Chief Commercial Officer, Latin America. “Receiving this award makes us very proud to be recognized with such an important and prestigious prize and stimulates us to continue achieving high standards and rewards.”

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Flying Food Group Airline Caterer of the Year

“We would usually have celebrated this during our annual management meeting, but since it was cancelled this year, we will have a celebration day in all our units once we will back to regular activity,” says Nicolas Rondeau, Executive Vice President Sales and Marketing. “This is fantastic recognition from our loyal customers for the service rendered. This is also recognizing our team dedication on their day-to-day work serving customers.”

SASCO’s Le Saigonnais Business Lounge at SGN - Best Airport Lounge

“This prize is such a prestigious recognition of PAX readers for our constant effort in innovation and upgrade of airport services in Vietnam,” says Nguyen Tram Anh, Officer Corporate Affairs. “SASCO has been spreading the news to all company staff through internal mail system, bulletin journal, to our partners, customers and the community via mass media channels and virtual platforms such as company fan page/website.”

SATS Ltd. Airline Caterer of the Year

dnata Airline Caterer of the Year

“Receiving this award is testament to the unwavering commitment and hard work of our teams across Australia,” says Hiranjan Aloysius, Chief Executive Officer of dnata catering Australia. “We’re looking forward to celebrating with our employees properly when our operations return to a new normal and we come together again. It’s great news at what remains a challenging time. Pre-COVID, we had doubled the size of our business in the past 18 months, with 2,000 employees joining the dnata family. It’s rewarding to know we’ve come together as one business, as one team and continue to deliver products and services that our customers love.”

Emirates Flight Catering Airline Caterer of the Year

“We’re extremely honored to have received this award for the sixth consecutive year. Our ultimate goal is to bring our appetite for perfection to airline passengers and to give them a chef ’s experience onboard,” says Chief Operating Officer Faysal Moufarrej. “To receive this award is a real testimony to the fact that we’re achieving our goal.”

Air Astana Outstanding Food Service by a Carrier

“At Air Astana, we take much pride in our Internationally recognized reputation for excellent onboard service and this award is proudly looked upon as an endorsement of our dedication and continuous effort,” says Graham Hobbs, Manager, Catering. “Our catering partners and suppliers around the world also play a huge part in the winning of the award and I know that they will greatly appreciate our thanks to them. Such recognition surely helps to motivate all involved and is a great boost to morale, especially at this most difficult time for our industry.”

Ethiopian Airlines Outstanding Food Service by a Carrier

“SATS is honored to receive the Asia Caterer of the Year award for the third consecutive year,” says Wanyu Eng, Catering Marketing, Development. “This award was only made possible through the SATS team’s passion to delight, and the strong support from our customers and industry partners. It is an affirmation for us to continue to work harder during this challenging period, as we remain committed to adopt a technology-driven, people-led approach to build a sustainable future to serve our customers and communities.”

Qatar Airways Outstanding Food Service by a Carrier and Best Cabin Interior Experience

“The fact that the PAX Awards are voted for by the publication’s readers makes them especially meaningful for all of us at Qatar Airways. Aviation is a competitive business, and to have received such recognition will spur us to even greater heights and we look forward to delivering our award-winning product to millions of passengers across the world,” says Ian Bradley, Vice President Corporation Communications. “We share the news with the entire organization by means of our internal communication channels. Success breeds success and the knowledge that we have scooped these prestigious awards will inspire all of us to even greater heights.”

Air Canada Outstanding Food Service by a Carrier

“We are very proud to have received the award of Outstanding Food Service in North America from PAX International. However, now is not the time for us to celebrate, but rather to leverage this recognition as part of our on-going design of a new culinary experience; one which will reinforce the highest levels of health standards and hygiene, protecting our customers and employees during and after this epidemic,” says Andrew Yiu, Vice President, Product. “I would like to take this opportunity to thank the product design team, as well as our dedicated cabin crew and caterers who are providing exceptional service during these times, as this award is in recognition of them, and their contributions to Air Canada, especially during these difficult times.”

“To be able to become a leader in inflight catering service in Africa is really a fabulous achievement,” says Zewdu Mamo, Manager General Purchases. “It lifts our spirit up amidst this challenging time and encourages us to aspire for the better and be the best in the world. This award is in recognition of our excellence in catering service and it will not end there; rather it can serve as a means to excel in every part of our business.”

Qantas Airways Outstanding Food Service by a Carrier

Addis International Catering Airline Caterer of the Year

“The award is a culmination of many endeavors undertaken by SriLankan to provide our passengers with a culinary experience reminiscent of our SriLankan heritage and hospitality, where food is synonymous with love, warmth and welcome,” says Maria Sathasivam, Manager Product Development. “While celebrating this win with pride, it will not stop us from the focus of continuously improving our services and working towards achieving our vision of being the most customer-centric airline in South Asia.”

“We were both delighted and honored to have been selected to receive this prestigious award for the second consecutive year. Like everyone else, we are in a state of extreme change at the moment so any celebrations to be had will be deferred until the entire team can get together,” says Fredrik Heinrici, Chief Operating Officer. “The PAX Award helps us to focus and to ensure that we consistently maintain our quality standards.”

“Providing our customers with the highest quality meals onboard our flights has always been a priority for Qantas,” says Marcel Weissel-Nund, Head of Inflight Services.

SriLankan Airlines Outstanding Food Service by a Carrier





Best Airport Lounge WINNER: KLM Heineken Bar non-Schengen Crown Lounge at Amsterdam International Airport

Airline Caterer of the Year WINNER: Flying Food Group

SOUTH ASIA Outstanding Food Service by a Carrier WINNER: SriLankan Airlines

SOUTH AMERICA Outstanding Food Service by a Carrier WINNER: LATAM

AUSTRALASIA Outstanding Food Service by a Carrier WINNER: Qantas Airways

Airline Caterer of the Year WINNER: Gate Gourmet

Airline Caterer of the Year WINNER: dnata

ASIA Outstanding Food Service by a Carrier WINNERS: Thai Airways WINNER: Philippine Airlines

AFRICA Outstanding Food Service by a Carrier WINNER: Ethiopian Airlines

Airline Caterer of the Year WINNER: SATS Ltd.

Airline Caterer of the Year WINNER: Addis International Catering

Best Inflight Duty Free Program WINNER: Korean Air

MIDDLE EAST Outstanding Food Service by a Carrier WINNER: Qatar Airways

Best Airport Lounge WINNER: SASCO’s Le Saigonnais Business Lounge at SGN

Airline Caterer of the Year WINNER: Emirates Flight Catering

EUROPE Outstanding Food Service by a Carrier WINNER: TAP Air Portugal

COMMONWEALTH OF INDEPENDENT STATES Outstanding Food Service by a Carrier WINNER: Air Astana

Airline Caterer of the Year WINNER: LSG Sky Chefs

Best Cabin Interior Experience WINNER: Qatar Airways

32  JUNE 2020