PAX International APOT.ASIA June/July 2014

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ASIA IN FOCUS Vietnam Airlines Caterers

Bangkok Airways Catering Asia Pacific Chefs







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he International Travel Catering Association can be credited for several things. It turned its first small yearly events from an informal gathering of business partners into an organization that, at its height, brought together the finest in airline cabin service and suppliers for a week of networking and socializing that probably broke down many barriers. The Association, through its committees and commitments, helped catering kitchens around the world reach standards for Hazardous Analysis of Critical Control Points that were important to effective and hygienic operations. Its magazine was a long running source of information and enjoyment for members. The many characters, presidents and past board members represented companies and airlines that wrote an important chapter in the history of commercial aviation. Personally, I can credit what was then the International Flight Catering Association getting me into a tuxedo for only the second time in my life. It happened in 1992 when I was working with another magazine and making only my second trip to Europe. As far as tuxedos go, this one wasn’t much. It was bought with a tiny supplement from my employer. The fabric was scratchy, but I accessorized it with a pair of shoes that were blindingly shiny. Into the baggage went the tuxedo and off to Berlin went me, and a few co-workers on a Lufthansa flight from Miami to Tegel Airport. We spent the week in a rainy city where people were visiting the Brandenburg Gates, and could be seen picking souvenir chunks off of what was left of the Berlin

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Wall. Taxi drivers from East Berlin couldn’t find our hotel in the West. But this small-town guy was bowled over by the elegance. There was a multicourse dinner where the magazine I worked with inducted members into the Chaine de Rotisseurs. There was a grand evening at a deserted hotel from the 1930s, which involved a staged reenactment of the crumbling of the Berlin Wall. The gala dinner brought in hundreds for an amazing meal. Hayden was played in an afternoon event with the Berlin Radio Orchestra; I still have the CD. Others may have been pondering their own personal experiences over the years, as ITCA sent out word of its liquidation. That same day I chatted with one member, Hugh Muir, who had been to every one of the yearly events, from London through to the most recent World Travel Catering and Onboard Service Expo in Hamburg. Hugh also remembered Berlin and his visit to Checkpoint Charlie, the name given by Western Allies to the best-known crossing point between East and West Berlin. But a Scotsman through and through, he also remembered fondly the International Flight Catering Association gathering held at his Ain Wee Place, Glasgow. It was during the first Gulf War and travel was tricky as tensions were high. ITCA has quietly exited the stage, and I now own a better tuxedo. The fabric is good and it fits great, but the industry has changed and so have the yearly events; it has been years since I’ve worn it.

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Rick Lundstrom Editor-in-Chief, PAX International  |  PAX INTERNATIONAL  |  3

J U N E / J U LY 2 0 1 4 | V O L . 1 8 , N O . 4

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APOT.Asia’s Founder and Managing Director Keerthi “Happy” Hapugasdeniya aims to show industry leaders how the Asia Pacific region differs from the rest when it comes to conducting business



When travel drops to tourist destinations like Bangkok, business can suffer, but Bangkok Airways Catering has found ways to supplement its core specialties and thrive even in challenging times


Hand in hand with airline growth, Vietnam Airlines Caterers looks at a future as a publically held company in a country with potential for impressive tourism growth


While the long-term picture remains rosy, airlines in Asia are facing a murky outlook in the short term


Asia is on the brink of becoming the largest air travel market, and is beckoning chefs to the continent’s inflight kitchens armed with years in service
















PAX International speaks with suppliers that provide amenities to the Asia Pacific market



As FORMIA continues to innovate on the amenity kit front, airlines and travelers alike are taking note, especially in the Asia Pacific region



Food and beverage dominated the trade show floor at this year’s MHA show, leaving cruise line delegates with a lot on their plates


Earnings, profit increase at dnata

The Emirates Group’s dnata subsidiary increased its revenue 14% to AED7.6 billion (US$2.1 billion), and improved on a previous year’s record profit, earning AED829 million (US$226 million) for the fiscal year ending March 31. The company credits organic growth as well as strategic international acquisitions for the positive outcomes. For the first time in the company’s history, dnata says its international business accounted for 50% of its revenue. The dnata catering business accounted for AED1.8 billion (US$478 million) of the total revenue, up 25%. The inflight catering business uplifted more than 41 million meals during the year, a sharp rise of 44% through dnata’s consolidated operation in Italy as well as its growth in the U.K. and Australia. Key dnata investments include the development of dnata City — a 20-acre cargo logistics center at London Heathrow Airport, additional warehousing capacity at seven airports across the U.K., and capacity expansion of Freight Gate 3 at Dubai International Airport. International growth continued with the addition of several new companies in the dnata portfolio. In the previous fiscal year, dnata acquired Broadlex, an aircraft cleaning service provider in Australia, and Gold Medal Travel Group, a distributor of long-haul travel products in the U.K. dnata also acquired Air Chefs in Italy, by taking over the remaining 50% stake from Servair. Revenue from dnata’s airport operations increased by 15% to reach AED2.8 billion (US$774 million). The year’s performance was primarily driven by strong volume growth in the U.K. and Dubai, including first time handling operations at Dubai World Central, where commercial passenger flights began in October, and also in a number of dnata’s other global operations including new services from Broadlex. The cargo handling division grew revenue by 8% to AED1.2 billion (US$318 million), through an increase in business volumes

Canada rail company to monitor food quality through QSAI VIA Rail Canada officially joined a global group of of airlines in the Quality and Safety Alliance Inflight Services (QSAI) program developed and managed by Medina Quality. VIA Rail Canada is the first rail operator to join the QSAI program that allows participants to monitor and improve their food suppliers’ compliance with internationally recognized standards, all while sharing program costs with other participants. Medina Quality has been operating Food Safety & Quality Management programs since 1983, and developed the QSAI program in collaboration with its clients. Medina Quality offers clients a variety of services besides QSAI, including alleged food poisoning investigations, potable water safety and quality oversight programs, and alleged foreign body investigations. The company also develops customized management reporting tools with its clients, including network, regional and supplier dashboards.


dnata operates a VIP service at Heathrow Airport

in the U.K. and additional road feeder services between both airports in Dubai. Dubai World Central now accounts for 30% of dnata’s cargo handling activities in Dubai. Revenue from dnata’s travel services division also saw strong growth of 22% to reach AED662 million (US$180 million). This is mainly attributed to business growth in the U.K. through Travel Republic and the newly integrated business of the Gold Medal Travel Group as of March this year. The underlying travel services related turnover, measured by net sales value, increased 10% to AED 5.9 billion (US$ 1.6 billion). From 2013-2014, dnata’s operating costs increased by 15% to AED 6.7 billion (US$1.8 billion), reflecting the first months of integrating the newly acquired companies across its airport, catering and travel businesses. The company now employs 23,000, a 14% increase that includes employees from its newly acquired companies. The majority of dnata’s staff, 60%, are based in the UAE.


Carnival brands stake claim in China

The Costa Serena of Costa Cruises will deploy year-round in China next year, making Carnival Corporation the first global cruise company with four ships based in the fast-growing cruise market. The move will accelerate Carnival’s stake in China, capitalizing on growing consumer demand that is expected to make the country the second largest cruise market in the world by 2017. The Costa Serena will homeport in Shanghai in April 2015, where it will join Costa Victoria and Costa Atlantica, both already deployed in China. The move will increase Costa’s overall capacity in Asia by 74%. The Costa Cruises expansion builds on eight years of operations in China. Another Carnival Corporation brand, Princess Cruises would homeport out of Shanghai starting May 21 through September 3, with Sapphire Princess. Adding a third ship based in China this year increases Carnival Corporation’s total 2014 capacity in the country by 66%. In addition to investments in China, Carnival is concentrating on growth efforts in Japan, Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Korea to maintain and The Costa Serena will be Carnival’s fourth ship in China expand its position in Asia.


An Italian twist from Tosca on Cathay Pacific

Cathay Pacific Airways is working with the award-winning chef from Tosca, the fine-dining Italian restaurant at The Ritz-Carlton, Hong Kong. Tosca’s Michelin-starred Chef, Pino Lavarra, has designed a menu of starters, pastas, entrées and desserts that are authentic Italian, but with added elements. On the menu is Garganelli, a pasta dish with n’duja salami, bread sfritto and senise pepper. Beef Carpaccio, the traditional Italian antipasto, has been given a modern twist with tender slices of beef combined with Parmesan crisp creating an intense array of flavor. Until July, passengers in First Class and Business Class are being served the meals on selected long-haul and regional Cathay Pacific flights departing from Hong Kong. “In the sky, there are no limits to your imagination,” said Lavarra. “When working with Cathay Pacific, I was particularly intrigued by the approach of creating intense flavor pairings that can offset the impact flying at high altitude has on the sensitivity of our taste buds. I therefore crafted a special menu that combines a set of interesting dishes and flavors, which I hope will enliven the gustatory senses of passengers, enabling them to enjoy something that’s uniquely delicious in the open skies.”

Bangkok Airways

adds iPads for IFE

On March 3, Bangkok Airways began offering iPad minis as inflight entertainment for its Blue Ribbon Class passengers. The iPad minis, supplied by Bluebox Avionics, will come equipped with the latest Hollywood releases, TV shows and music along with various interactive games. “Delivering an outstanding passenger experience is at the heart of our ethos at Bangkok Airways,” said Puttipong Prasarttong-Osoth, Bangkok Airways’ President. “We are already famous for our onboard boutique service, but we wanted to go an extra mile to ensure that our business class travelers’ flying experience is more pleasurable and enjoyable.” The iPads are offered to all business class travelers at no cost. During the trial-run periods, this service was available on flights between Bangkok Suvarnbhumi-Maldives, SamuiHong Kong and Samui-Singapore.

Garganelli with n’duja salami, bread sfritto and senise pepper on Cathay Pacific

Asiana pre-order has royal flair Beginning on May 1, Asiana Airlines launched its Korean Royal Cuisine pre-order service for First Class on its long-haul flights. The airline has prepared healthy foods in collaboration with the Institute of Korean Royal Cuisine that has maintained the food tradition of Korea. The Korean Royal Cuisine pre-order service is available in First Class on long-haul flights departing from Seoul and arriving in the Americas and Europe. To use the service, passengers select from a preferred menu and send a request to the premium service center or a travel agency 24 hours before the time of departure. Royal Cuisine on Asiana launched in May  |  PAX INTERNATIONAL  |  9


Dragonair selection features European themes from Hyatt Regency

Seats and IFE in plans for SIA 777-300ERs

Dragonair recently introduced a new inflight menu featuring authentic European dishes inspired by Hugo’s at the Hyatt Regency Hong Kong, Tsim Sha Tsui. The new menu is now offered to First Class and Business Class passengers flying on select Dragonair flights from Hong Kong to Beijing and Shanghai until mid-April 2015. This is the first time that Dragonair and the Hyatt Regency Hong Kong, Tsim Sha Tsui, have partnered on a special promotion. Twenty-three dishes including soups, appetizers and main courses were selected. “Hugo’s has a long-standing reputation for offering an impressive array of traditional European dishes using only the finest ingredients,” said a release from Dragonair. “Each of the dishes on the Dragonair menu has been carefully designed and adapted by Michael Donlevy, Executive Chef at the Hyatt Regency Hong Kong, Tsim Sha Tsui.” Signature dishes from the new menu promotion include lobster bisque and peppered beef tenderloin, seasonal vegetables and pepper sauce. The menu also includes some dishes designed exclusively for Dragonair, including the fresh crab Salad à la Russe appetizer and pan-fried Norwegian salmon fillet and crayfish tails with caper parsley sauce. Lobster Bisque is made from lobsters, vegetables, aromatics, wine and stock, and is simmered delicately to extract the rich flavors from the shellfish. Topped with fresh cream, the dish is one of the most popular offerings at Hugo’s. Peppered beef tenderloin with seasonal vegetables and pepper sauce is a traditional French dish featuring beef tenderloin coated with cracked peppercorns before cooking. The peppercorns form a crust on the steak when cooked.

Singapore Airlines announced in May it would invest US$325 million to upgrade 19 Boeing 777-300ERs with new seats in all classes and a latest generation IFE. Singapore Airlines introduced the new cabin products in September of last year after taking delivery of the first of eight additional B777-300ERs ordered from Boeing. The upgrade will see the same products fitted to 19 existing 777-300ERs. Installation work is expected to begin early in 2015, with all aircraft completed by September 2016. The new cabin products are currently available on selected daily services to London Heathrow and Tokyo Narita. They were introduced after more than two years of development with design firms, including BMW Group, DesignworksUSA and James Park Associates. The new First Class seat offers enhanced comfort, featuring a fixed-back shell design with curved side panels for added privacy.

Lobster bisque served just right on Dragonair


Business Class on SIA’s 777-300ER

The seat also features an ergonomically sculpted cushion and adjustable headrest, with customized in-seat lighting. The seats are 35 inches wide with a bed length of 82 inches. The new Business Class seat offers greater recline at 132 degrees, with an improved ergonomic seat cushion. Two new seating positions have been introduced — ‘Lazy Z’ and ‘Sundeck.’ When converted, they are 78 inches long, with a padded headboard cushion. Stowage space has also been added, with an amenity stowage area on the side console and laptop stowage area. The new Economy Class features new backrest cushions with side bolsters for better support. An ergonomically sculpted headrest cushion provides an increased range of height adjustments and improved neck support. Complementing the new seats is the latest KrisWorld inflight entertainment system. Upgraded with the latest hardware offerings and an intuitive graphical user interface, it is the world’s most advanced inflight entertainment system. First Class customers can enjoy the new KrisWorld on a 24-inch LCD screen, with a video touch-screen handset. Business Class features an 18-inch LCD screen and touch-screen handset, while Economy Class features an 11.1-inch touch-screen monitor and touch-screen handset.


Crystal Cabin winners honored at AIX

Winners of this year’s Crystal Cabin Awards were announced on April 8 at the Aircraft Interiors Expo in Hamburg. Winners were picked from a shortlist of 54 submissions from 12 nations. The ceremony winners in Hamburg took place in the presence of 180 selected international guests at a gala dinner at the Atlantic Hotel. The first Crystal Cabin Award of the evening, in the “Greener Cabin, Health, Safety & Environment” category, was presented to DIEHL Aerospace. The German cabin-fitting specialist developed DACAPO, a power-saving, self-sufficient cabin system that uses rechargeable and replaceable energy trolleys. The trolleys can be interchanged and the fuel cell systems refueled during aircraft ground time. The trophy for “Industrial Design and Visionary Concepts” was presented to B/E Aerospace and Teague. Their Advanced Lavatory in a slim-line toilet module allows for six additional seats to be integrated into an aircraft without sacrificing space or comfort within the toilet cabin and without restricting the space for passengers in other seating rows. German glass manufacturer Schott won the “Material and Components” category, with a lightweight glass structure for cabin windows, made out of glass composites with a foil coating. The new structure is more robust and easier to clean than conventional window plastic. It also allows for significantly larger cabin window panes. The trophy for the “Passenger Comfort Hardware” category went to ZIM Flugsitz for the short-haul and medium-haul EC-00 seat, with a new, patented backrest concept. It includes, a new folding table structure, a new backrest and a connection between the backrest surface and the upholstery to make cleaning easier. The Crystal Cabin Award for “Passenger Comfort Systems” category went to Lufthansa Technik. The Hamburg company’s acWAP is a high-speed WLAN router that supports data-intensive applications as video streaming and online games throughout the cabin. The new system will enter into operation this summer on board 20 Lufthansa A321 aircraft. Paperclip Design from Hong Kong won the “Premium Class and VIP” category. The company’s Convertible Long Haul Seat Concept can be converted quickly from Premium Economy to a Full-Flat Business Class The seventh award of the evening was from the “University” category. TU Delft students convinced the 24 members of the Judging Panel with “Sense the Transitions”, an inflight entertainment concept where videos are projected onto the backrest of the seat in front, showing information about the culture, history and natural environment of the land area currently below the aircraft. Interactive pop-up menus and audiovisual info graphics on a flexible touchscreen display can also be integrated to add to the depth of the experience.


SATS ends year with drop in meals, increases elsewhere

Flights and passenger handling by SATS ended the year on an up note as did cargo throughput, which has been suffering in recent years; however, the company’s meal production continued to see the outcome of Qantas Airways’ change in hub operations from Singapore to Dubai. For the fourth quarter of the company’s fiscal year, SATS announced gross meal production at 6.37 million, down 8.2% from the same quarter last year. Unit meals were logged at 5.03 million down 6.3%. For the entire fiscal year, ending in March, the company’s gross meal production was 26.11 million, down 7.6%, while unit meals dropped 5.8% to 20.59 million. SATS breaks down meal production by gross meals and unit meals. Unit meals represent the workload handled by catering staff, with each meal given a different unit meal weight factor. For the fourth quarter of the year, SATS handled 33,520 flights, up 6.7%. For the full year, the company saw an increase of 9% to 134,090. The company also saw an increase in the fourth quarter in cargo and mail processing. SATS handled 373,380 tonnes of cargo, a 4.4% increase. Express cargo and perishable segments recorded the highest year-on-year growth, said SATS. For the full year, SATS handled slightly more than 1.5 million tonnes, a 2.6% increase. Passenger handling increased only slightly for the fourth quarter at 10.53 million, up 0.2%. For the year, SATS operations handled 43.47 million passengers, a 5.4% increase.

Winners celebrate their Crystal Cabin Award wins at the Atlantic Hotel in Hamburg  |  PAX INTERNATIONAL  |  11


Rauer to become CEO of LSG Holding AG October The Supervisory Board of LSG Lufthansa Service Holding AG announced in May that Erdmann Rauer has been appointed Deputy Chief Executive Officer. He will take over as CEO on October 1 succeeding Walter Gehl, who has chaired the Executive Board since March 2005 and whose contract expires on September 30. Rauer has been Chief Sales and Marketing Officer of LSG Holding since January 2011. Rauer joined the LSG subsidiary SPIRIANT GmbH (formerly LSG Sky Chefs Catering Logistics GmbH) as Managing Director in 2006. He assumed the Senior Vice President Sales and Marketing position in 2007, before being appointed to the Executive Board more than three years ago.

Erdmann Rauer

responsibility at the Associated Press, most recently serving as Business Editor, managing coverage of business and finance worldwide with a team of approximately 70 editors and reporters in the U.S., Europe and Asia. At Delta, Shinkle will serve as a member of the Corporate Leadership Team reporting to CEO Richard Anderson and lead a team of professional communicators responsible for global internal, external and cross-divisional communications. Shinkle replaces Ned Walker who announced in January 2014 his intention to retire in the June quarter.

Onishi to handle brand strategy at Hawaiian Hawaiian Airlines has promoted Alisa Onishi to Director - Brand Management. In this new role, she is responsible for overseeing Hawaiian Airlines’ global brand strategy and visual identity. She reports to Avi Mannis, Hawaiian Airlines’ Vice President - Marketing. Onishi joined the company in 2011 as Manager - Promotions, where she was responsible for developing and executing the airline’s sponsorships and promotional events across its growing network. She was also instrumental in launching six new routes for Hawaiian Airlines including: Sapporo; New York City, Brisbane; and most recently, Beijing. Before joining Hawaiian Airlines, she served as Marketing Communications Manager – Brand and Customer Experience at Hawaiian Telcom, Inc. and Marketing Manager at Coral Wireless (dba Mobi PCS).

Delta names new Communications Officer Delta Air Lines has named Kevin Shinkle Senior Vice President and Chief Communications Officer, effective May 7. Shinkle joins Delta from the Associated Press where he began in 2008 as Assistant Business Editor, directing financial markets coverage. He held positions of increasing Alisa Onishi


Skytender inventor named Managing Director Oliver Kloth was recently named Managing Director and Chief Marketing Officer of Sky Tender Systems GmbH. Kloth was the commercial inventor of the SkyTender beverage trolley and has developed the SkyTender system working with Air-Eltec Group and SkyTender Technology in Herborn. Beside several Managing Director positions, Kloth was founder of the Sky Max GmbH and Director Sales & Marketing Aviation within Sennheiser Electronic GmbH & Co. KG.

Oliver Kloth

Freedman joins Interact from Qantas Michael Freedman has joined inflight entertainment supplier Interact as Director of Global Business Development, and will be based in Sydney. Freedman was the Executive Producer of Qantas Inflight Entertainment for 15 years. “Michael is an extremely experienced IFE specialist and brings with him an impeccable reputation in the industry. Understandably, Michael was in hot demand when he recently became available for hire, and we are delighted to have him join Interact. Having known Michael for many years, I am confident he will fit perfectly into the Interact family,” says John Bruckman, CEO of Interact.


Doing things

differently by

The world’s longest spring roll record attempt event at this year’s show will be prepared by the APOT delegates on Da Nang’s famous Dragon Bridge

APOT.Asia’s Founder and Managing Director Keerthi “Happy” Hapugasdeniya aims to show industry leaders how the Asia Pacific region differs from the rest when it comes to conducting business


eerthi “Happy” Hapugasdeniya, Founder and Managing Director of Asia Pacific Onboard Travel (APOT.Asia), lists building relationships before doing business high on his priority list, something that he feels Asia Pacific as a region also prioritizes, which sets it apart from other regions. Hapugasdeniya talked about the host city for this year’s APOTAsia forum, Da Nang, Vietnam, and went into detail about the show’s culinary challenges in this issue’s industry Q&A:

PAX International: You’ve expressed that you wish to combine “the magic of the Asia Pacific region with a streamlined travel experience,” to ultimately create “a whole travel experience.” Do you feel this will be achieved at this year’s show? Happy: We always target our audience to be included with the whole travel experi-

ence, and we have achieved this in previous years. We have had members from all areas and categories of the industry attend, and we are quite excited about that. PAX: Apot.Asia’s tagline is, “In the Asia Pacific we do things differently.” What do you think makes the Asia Pacific region stand out when compared to the other regions in the world? Happy: The difference with this region is that we do not have a set way of making business and this is experienced when visiting and when dealing with the people in this region. Before we do business we build relationships. PAX: How did the organizers of APOT decide on Da Nang, Vietnam as the location for this year’s show? Is there something special or significant about Da Nang with regards to the show/industry?

“We plan to give members a much more relaxed environment to network and build and expand their business.”

Keerthi “Happy” Hapugasdeniya, Founder and Managing Director of APOT.Asia 14  |  PAX INTERNATIONAL  |  JUNE/JULY 2014


Happy: Da Nang is one of the awardwinning resort destinations in the world. We try to invite our members to untouched destinations, because most of them are not exposed to these cities for gatherings of this nature. We plan to give members a much more relaxed environment to network and build and expand their business. PAX: Could you provide a general rundown of the registration numbers? Has this year’s registration numbers reached or surpassed your expectations for 2014’s show? Happy: We are a non-profit organization and do not need the big numbers that most of the other organizations are looking for. Our audience is composed of members who are higher ranked individuals in the industry, and many times they are the decision makers, and enjoy meeting in a relaxed location like Da Nang where there is time to unwind and do business in a more relaxed environment. PAX: Aside from Korean Air, do you have any other sponsors? Happy: All of our sponsors are been very loyal to us from the first forum and most are very happy to be part of our organization. They always have very good comments after each event and I thank all our sponsors for their continued support, especially Korean Airlines and our Chairwoman Heather Cho who believes in the concept and the success of APOT.Asia and its way of operating.

APOT INTERVIEW - Q&A PAX: When the event was first held, APOT organizers said airlines and caterers had some unique needs and desires for an event in Asia. Have you been able to meet these needs with this year’s format? Happy: APOT. Asia is all about networking and meeting people; we are not about competing with any other organization and we do not compare ourselves with what other organizations do. We invite all industry leaders to be part of our organization and experience the difference. We invite all other airline and hospitality-related organizations to be part of APOT.Asia, as it belongs to all of our members. This is why we do not have a membership fee. We do not have a board of directors or a large management body to manage APOT.Asia. Each event is advertised online and our host sets up the organization team for the event. PAX: Vietnam is a cuisine capital of the world. What will be some of the foods

and tastes people should look for while in Da Nang? Happy: Vietnam has a very large regional food selection and I hope all of our delegates have sufficient time to travel and experience the taste of Vietnam. PAX: The Chef ’s Competition seems like an exciting part of the show. Who are some of the chefs that are entered in the competition? How will the competition be conducted? Happy: The Chefs competition is one of the highlights each year, and again we have many applicants this year for the first selection round. We now have six teams selected for the finals. The teams are from Singapore, Malaysia, Korea, Vietnam, Japan and Indonesia.

Happy: The event is recognized by the Guinness World Records. The spring roll will be 500 meters in length, completed by 500 men and 500 women. All delegates will be awarded with a participation certificate from the Guinness World Records if they complete the attempt. The event will be held in conjunction with Da Nang City council and the tourism department on the world’s longest Dragon Bridge. Da Nang, Vietnam, the host city for this year’s APOT.Asia forum

PAX: Can you provide some background on the spring roll record attempt? How is it going to be set up and conducted?

4th Floor,Tiandu Business Building No.146 of West Gongqingtuan Road, Zhangdian,Zibo,Shandong,China.Post code 255000 Fax: +86 533 6217967 Email:

Tel: +86 533 6217968/6217998  |  PAX INTERNATIONAL  |  15

REGIONAL REPORT Bangkok Airways Catering has 15 high-loader trucks with the ability to cater the A380

Staying flexible When travel drops to tourist destinations like Bangkok, business can suffer, but Bangkok Airways Catering has found ways to supplement its core specialties and thrive even in challenging times by RICK LUNDSTROM


mong its 20 airline customers, Bangkok Airways Catering handles some of the most challenging and demanding in civil aviation. Multi-year Skytrax winners like Turkish Airlines and full-service-andmore carriers such as Emirates Airline and Qatar Airways, are constantly enhancing and improving their inflight products. The unit also handles catering duties for flights to the north with China’s largest airline, China Southern. Then there is the parent company, that bills itself as Asia’s Boutique Airline andchallenges the cabin staff with a hot meal service on flights as short as 50 minutes. No doubt making airline food service work under those conditions would have its challenges and its rewards. Equally challenging and rewarding is the task of providing daily meal service to a chain of 40 hospitals that is growing and treating patients from around the world. So to, is manufacturing a range of frozen religious meals that have become so vital and handy that the company even sells them to competitors at the same airport. Those are few of the irons that Bangkok Airways Catering has in the fire. And they all come in handy when political unrest threatens the tourism industry like it has done this spring. Though unsettling, Amorn Rassamesangpetch, Sales and Marketing Manager


at Bangkok Airways likes to look on the bright side. News reports may have chased off tour groups and charter airlines from China, but he likes to see that travel still is popular in Chaing Mai, Phuket and other destinations outside the country’s capital. He is also heartened that visa restrictions to Japan have been eased, which will again open up the country to more travelers and possibly revive Bangkok Airways’ routes to the country. And with 20 airline customers, he says, “in fact, our portfolio is quite full.” Rassamesangpetch has been with the company, working with Managing Director Linus A.E. Knobel since the unit opened seven years ago with the launch of Bangkok Airways. It is one of three catering units in the Thai capital, with Thai Airways operatSkytrax winning airline customers demand intricate presentations and meals

ing the largest, and a second unit operated by LSG Sky Chefs. B a n g k o k A i r w a y s C a t e r i n g ’s 20,000-square-meter unit is nearly always averaging at its capacity of 25,000 meals per day, and one day last year handled an output of 33,000 meals. All signs point to an increase in production, bringing daily flow to approximately 30,000 per day in the near future. To accommodate, the caterer has made some changes to the structure and flow of the unit and, the result has been increased efficiency with the same amount of space and staff. “Making more efficiency means not really making a bigger space,” said Rassamesangpetch. “But more efficiency for people so that one person can produce more meals per day.”

REGIONAL REPORT Supplemental programs

Under the supervision of a rabbi, approximately 5,000 kosher meals per month are produced at the Bangkok Airways Catering unit. The caterer sells the meals boxed and frozen around the world. Customers in Dubai and Qatar want the meals, as well caterers Gate Gourmet and LSG Sky Chefs. Rassamesangpetch said Bangkok Catering even finds a buyer in nearby Thai Catering. Kosher is not the only religious meal produced by the caterer. Bangkok Airways Catering also operates two restaurants, the French Themed Brasserie 9 and the Lebanese Al Saray. Brasserie 9 is located in the Asiatique on the city’s riverfront and services traditional French cuisine with an emphasis on seafood. The latter restaurant has a different task. Al Saray, is located in one of the many hospitals that Bangkok Airways Catering provides food service to. Rassamesangpetch said the particular hospital is a popular destination and takes patients that not only require medical attention but a full Halal meal. Hospital catering will be one area that Bangkok Airways Catering will be growing in the years to come. Hospital ownership plans to expand in the near future opening four more facilities and has elicited the caterer’s services at all of them. The other area of expansion is closer to the caterer’s core business. Bangkok Airways Catering currently supplies to lounges of Emirates and Oman Air at Suvarnabhumi Airport. In the near future, Rassamesangpetch said the company plans to aggressively pursue the lounge business, billing itself as a one-stop shop for supply, operations, staffing and cleaning for the airline’s high-flying clientele. Bangkok Airways is the caterer’s largest customer in terms of daily flights handled. The airline’s fleet of A319s and A320s are in a single class configuration on domestic flights and in a two-class configuration for international. This year Rassamesangpetch said the airline opened up two new domestic routes to Udon and Chaing Rai. With the aforementioned visa restrictions now opening up new routes, Bangkok Airways could be eyeing nearby airports, such as Fukuoka, previously cancelled due to low demand from Thai travelers. Bangkok Airways Catering opened seven years ago at Suvarnabhumi Airport and is one of three caterers serving airlines  |  PAX INTERNATIONAL  |  17


Laying the groundwork by


Vietnam Airlines Caterers services 28 airlines from its unit in Ho Chi Minh City.

Hand in hand with airline growth, Vietnam Airlines Caterers looks at a future as a publically held company in a country with potential for impressive tourism growth


hough it seems like a small change, a well-placed word in a new company name can signify a lot, and that has taken place in the last year with what is now known as Vietnam Airlines Caterers Ltd. Up until July of last year, the company was known only as Vietnam Air Caterers and also VN/CX Catering Services Ltd., reflecting its joint ownership. However last summer the caterer changed hands completely, shedding its previous partner, Cathay Pacific Catering Services, and coming under complete ownership of the country’s flag carriers, which supplies the caterer with 60% of its business from its unit at Ho Chi Minh City. A new logo was added and beyond that, much has remained the same, operationally. Vietnam Airlines also shares ownership in units in Da Nang and Hanoi. Each unit operates under the guidance of Vietnam Airlines and at times supports each other on functional issues. Vietnam Air Caterers in Ho Chi Minh City launched in 1993 and started service with four airline customers from a building that was previously used as a field hospital during the Vietnam War. The unit was renovated as planners worked out the details on a new facility. Three years later, the company moved into its current 12,000-square-foot unit. Vietnam Airlines Caterers currently produces an average of 18,000 meals per day for the both the domestic and international markets for its 28 airline customers. “Due to constraints at the current airport there are not many more airlines on 18  |  PAX INTERNATIONAL  |  JUNE/JULY 2014

the agenda, except for the arrival of Jet privatized and the initial public offering Airways, which is believed landing rights was launched at the end of last year. The will be issued as per the winter schedule,” airline has been valued at US$2.74 billion said Bert Dinkel, Deputy General Manger and is one of the largest state-owned enterprises that operates at a profit. Last year at Vietnam Airlines Caterers. Still, the company has to look to the the airline carried 14.7 million passengers future as the flag carrier expands its fleet and projections point to approximately and a new airport 35 kilometers from the 15.8 million this year. In the first quarter city is scheduled for completion in 2022. of this year, the airline has revenues of Before then, Vietnam Airlines Caterers approximately US$692 million. Vietnam Airlines is part of the SkyTeam will have replaced some of the unit’s cooling systems and expanded storage space, Alliance, which it joined in June of 2010. enlarged its Halal kitchen (certified by This year and through 2020, the airline will Malaysia Airlines), commissary and ware receive its order of A350s and by 2015, the first 787 Dreamliner. By next year, Vietwash area. “With this expansion, the company can nam Airlines is expected to surpass 100 easily produce 32,000 meals per day and aircraft and by 2020, the fleet is expected to sustain the predicted growth up to the year grow to 150. Tan Son Nhat International Airport 2022,” said Dinkel. In the years ahead, much is scheduled where Vietnam Airlines Caterers is headto take place. By the third quarter of this quartered is the largest airport in Vietnam. year Vietnam Airlines Caterers is expected It is located six kilometers north of the to begin a long awaited public offering, center (District 1) of Ho Chi Minh City, which is taking place with many government-owned With improvements, capacity will increase to 32,000 meals per day businesses throughout the country. In 2015 shares in Vietnam Airlines Caterers will also be sold. “The preferred partner again is Cathay Pacific Catering Services,” said Dinkel. “Since the previous 20 years grew to a strong foothold of the two partners.” Vietnam Airlines was one of more that 400 state-owned companies that were partially

VIETNAM AIRLINES CATERERS which was previously known as Saigon. Tan Son Nhat International Airport operates from two terminal buildings —Domestic Terminal 1 and International Terminal 2. The new international terminal opened in September 2007 with the capacity of eight to 10 million passengers per year, giving the airport a total capacity of 15-17 million passengers per year. Planned for completion in 2022 is the Long Tanh International Airport. At the end of April the first phase of the new facility was submitted, with an estimated cost of US$5.6 billion.

Vietnam Airlines Caterers has been operating from its present location since 1993

Vietnam beckons tourists Airports such as Long Tanh are needed to sustain the country’s potential for tourism growth. At the end of March, Vietnam’s Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism reported that the country earned US$3.3 billion from tourism in the first quarter of this year. Over the three-month period Vietnam welcomed 2.3 million foreign visitors, which was an increase of 29.3% over the same period in 2013. The Ministry reported that 1.4 million of the tourists arrived in the country for leisure travel, while 403,800 visited relatives and 391,500 arrived for business. China topped the list of foreign tourists at 587,000, with nearly half of the tourists arriving from South Korea and Japan. From Europe, German tourists to those from Vietnam topped the list of travelers. Vietnam is well poised to take advantage of the burgeoning Asia Pacific tourism market, said a report from Business Monitor International. As travel to and around the region expands the company said the 7.2 million tourists that traveled to Vietnam in 2013 could increase to 9.4 million by 2018. Outbound travel from Vietnam was projected by the company 3.5 million last year and could surpass 6 million by 2018. “Vietnam is an increasingly popular tourist destination, gradually rivaling nearby Thailand, which is an already well-established beach holiday market,” said an introduction to the report.  |  PAX INTERNATIONAL  |  19



ust days before this year’s APOT.Asia event hosts the cabin services industry in Vietnam, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) will be holding its Annual General Meeting and World Air Transport Summit in Doha, Qatar. “Qatar is a great example of a country in which aviation is playing a very strategic role in driving growth and prosperity,” said a release from IATA, quoting Director General Tony Tyler. “It is a great location to remind people of the potential of aviation as the industry celebrates its 100th anniversary.” Thousands of miles to the east, another region is banking on aviation growth as well. However, a less focused look is taking shape as spring gives way to summer in the Northern Hemisphere. Through the spring, air travel has been taking hits. The previous year saw profits fall from 2012 and a combination of factors have come together to paint a less clear picture of the future, at least in the short term. According to IATA, international air traffic in the Asia Pacific region increased 1.1% in March from the same month in 2013. Lunar New Year, a big travel holiday, occurred in the January/February time frame, which had a partial affect on March travel figures, said IATA. However, a slowdown in the Chinese economy affected trade, and an increase of 5.3% in capacity was not matched by a load factor that fell 3.1 percentage points to 76%. In Kuala Lumpur, the Association of Asia Pacific Airlines echoed the concerns and added a few other factors that have attributed to the uncertainty. A roughand-tumble competitive environment is putting the pressure on yields and carriers


While the long-term picture remains rosy, airlines in Asia are facing a murky outlook in the short term by

in the region have felt the volatility of the currency markets. “Nevertheless, the overall demand outlook remains broadly positive, driving by expectation of further improvements to global economy conditions, including a long-awaited recovery in international trading activity,” said AAPA Director Andrew Herdman, in the April 23 report on March traffic results. Overall, AAPA reports that in 2013, Asia Pacific carriers recorded a profit of US$2.5 billion, which was a drop of 55% from 2012’s profits of US$5.6 billion. Operating revenue among the AAPA member airlines dropped 2.1% to US$171.2 billion. The Association was encouraged by a strong 2013 that saw revenue passenger kilometers increase 6.3%. “The focus for airlines remains firmly on strict cost controls and further productivity improvements,” said Herdman, in his assessment for the year ahead. “Overall, however, prospects for a further pick-up in the global economy and expectation of a cyclical upswing in international trade should give some grounds for optimism.” The murky picture could be also seen in recent reports from some of the airlines. In April Cathay Pacific Airways and Dragonair carried slightly more than 2.7 million passengers, which was an increase of 10.1% from the same month last year. However another holiday, Easter, played a part in the increase. Last year, the holiday occurred in March. The airline felt that demand in economy class was satisfactory, particularly for long haul; however, concurrent yield pressure in both economy and premium cabins were a reason for concern. “Our revenue performance for the over the first four months of 2014 has been


below expectations,” fretted the airlines’ Chief Executive, Donald Chu. “Passenger numbers and load factors have increased, but yield declines have offset this to some degree. The cargo business, despite a temporary improvement in March, has continued to be weak.” To the south, Singapore Airlines suspended service to two key Middle Eastern cities citing weak performance. At the end of September the airline will operate its last flights to both Riyadh and Cairo. Riyadh has been served three times per week with nonstop flights from Singapore, while Cairo was served three times per week with a stop in Dubai. Singapore Airlines said it would continue its routes to Jeddah, allowing connections to both of the cities. Perhaps one of the first hints of what the summer travel season will be like is the period in late April and early May, which is known as the “golden week” travel period in Japan. This year, the golden week ran from Friday April 25 to Tuesday May 6. During that time, Japan Airlines reported it carried 288,495 passengers on its international flights, a 4.7% increase; and slightly fewer than 1.1 million on domestic routes, a 1.1% decrease. Through the period, the airline increased capacity on the international routes by 2.2% and decreased capacity on domestic routes by 2.9%. Trips to Hawaii and Guam were popular among Japanese travelers during golden week. The airline credited the installation of new cabin seats for an uptick in traffic on routes to North America and Europe during golden week.




March ‘14

March ‘13

% Change

Jan-March ‘14

Jan-March ’13

% Change

Passengers (000)










RPK (mn.)







Operating Revenue



ASK (mn)







Net Profit



Load Factor







Source: Association of Asia Pacific Airlines


Source: Association of Asia Pacific Airlines

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Growth among airlines in Asia will add to meal counts and force caterers in the region to think long term. Photo courtesy of LSG Sky Chefs

Asia is on the brink of becoming the largest air travel market, and is beckoning chefs to the continent’s inflight kitchens armed with years in service by



A far

east experience “Experience is the teacher of all things.”

– Julius Caesar


annes Wagner, Gate Gourmet’s Executive Chef at its unit in Shanghai, lists the passage from Julius Caesar as his favorite quote and has racked up some impressive experience that has placed him where he is today. Like other chefs who agreed to answer a few questions about work life in Asian airline catering units, Wagner came to the job


with a background that placed him in high-end hotels and training in some of the finest European cooking schools. Previously, he was in the kitchens of Sofitel Luxury Hotels, JW Marriott and Intercontinental Hotels and Resorts. Over the past few years, airlines have indeed taken on some high profile consultants. Few months go by without an announcement or two by one of the world’s legacy carriers about the latest television chef, cookbook author or Michelin-starred celebrity hired as a consultant for menu planning. Part of it is for expertise, but other reasons are to add a starred name to impress a group of passengers that are embracing the foodie culture found on cable television channels. However, for every celebrity chef whose services and expertise airlines seek, there are many more who labor in the background, working with exacting customers that place never-ending demands on cost and logistics. By extension, airlines like Etihad Airways and Turkish Airlines have taken the next step, adding chefs to the business and first class cabins to prepare meals and mingle with passengers. But what of the chefs who labor in the trenches, day in and day out? According to the comments of the ones who answered queries from PAX International, it is the challenge of working in a unique environment that drives them. “I enjoy producing high quality and healthy food on a large scale, and at 35,000 feet it is a great challenge to produce tasty and interesting food,” said Wagner. PAX international magazine posed questions to three chefs in Asia about the unique challenges and trends of working in the region. Here are their stories and perspectives.

LSG Sky Chefs and Dragonair worked with chefs from Hugo’s restaurant in Hong Kong to produce entrees for the premium cabin

Looking out over the next five to 10 years, Groβ is watching a decade of explosive growth in the Asia Pacific region. As the airlines keep adding aircraft, airline catering units will be looking at similar increases in meal counts, he said. Caterers in the region will need long term planning to match demands of the next decade. LSG Sky Chefs Shanghai recently completed some notable programs with its customers. Groβ is currently working with Lufthansa on menu planning with the help of chefs at the Shangri-La Hotel in Shanghai. The unit has also developed new menus for Dragonair from the Hyatt Hotel in Hong Kong (see related story in News). The unit has also been working on new recipes with Chef Peter Gordon for Air New Zealand. “More airlines are looking at food sourcing,” said Groβ. “Where are products being produced? Is it organic, and is it sustainable and under which conditions is the product being produced,” Groβ said.

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Chef: Fritz Groβ Position: Director of Culinary Excellence Asia Pacific Caterer: LSG Sky Chefs in Hong Kong Fritz Groβ was born in the canton Glarus, Switzerland, and was a chefs apprentice from 1975-78 at the Hotel Alpina in Braunwald. He spent several years at several high-end hotels in Switzerland before moving to Hong Kong in 1984 as a sous chef at the Holiday in Crowne Plaza. He joined LSG Sky Chefs in 1997 after one year as operations manager at the Mövenpick Marché at Peak Tower in Hong Kong. “Culinary excellence is when you understand the occasion, respect the ingredients, know exactly how to butcher and cut it, have the knowhow of how to best apply heat to get the best texture out of it, extract the best aromas and to understand flavor affinities,” he said in an outline of his career. Fritz Groβ

From Design to Reality

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CHEFS IN FOCUS Environmental footprint is front of mind among his airline customers and passengers, and by extension, airlines are interested in finding healthy food for children and comfort food, but with an upscale twist. Groβ said he was seeing a genuine desire by legacy carriers and service oriented airlines to provide a high-quality experience for the passengers and use their food service product as a way to differentiate service. Like the United States and Europe, the Asia Pacific region is in throes of inflation for food products. Groβ said prices for coffee have increased 71.5% since 2013 with additional increases expected before the end of the year. To help out customers Groβ said he is offering alternative cuts of beef, for example. “There are always opportunities as airlines do have budgets by route and flight and by switching sometimes one particular meal can solve the financial impact and be very positive at the same time,” Groβ said. Hannes Wagner

Chef: Stephane Lambert Position: Executive Chef Caterer: TFK in Tokyo TFK bills itself as the “o l d e s t e s t a b l i s h e d inflight catering company Stephane in Japan.” When the comLambert pany was looking for a chef with experience in Western cuisine, it picked Stephane Lambert, who joined in the company in February of last year. Born in France, Lambert trained for four years in his home country as well as in Germany, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. He joined TFK after spending five years working for the Peninsula Club and a consultancy in Hong Kong. Since moving to Tokyo, he says he has come to enjoy living in a country where food is such a central part of the culture. Lambert’s skills in Western cuisine were put immediately to work at TFK. Two of the airline’s big customers, Air France and Alitalia were keen to bring the finest of their home country’s culinary traditions to the cabin. Another TFK customer that leans heavily on its home culinary traditions is SWISS International. On a regular basis Lambert said he oversees chefs in the Tokyo Narita and Tokyo Haneda units to make sure the boarded product hues close to culinary traditions of the cantons. Before he leaves at night, Lambert says he must be satisfied that the day’s production will see passengers enjoying “the cultural heritage of an airline’s country through unique taste experiences.” Low-cost carriers are also on the mind of the French chef. Buy-on-board menus and double catering places challenges on the Tokyo unit and its customers. However, there remains a ethos among the Asian carriers that high-quality must be inside the aircraft and in his menus. “It is a real pleasure to work with my dedicated culinary team who strive for the very best with great diligence which is very satisfying and rewarding,” Lambert said.


Chef: Hannes Wagner Position: Executive Chef Caterer: Gate Gourmet Shanghai When he is not busy traveling to Gate Gourmet Asian units, working on menu development, sourcing and quality assurance, Hannes Wagner would probably be found dining on fresh highquality ingredients with his family or off on his own chasing an elusive bull’s eye on an archery range. But it is a fair bet to say his professional life is bit more of a moving target. “Passengers expect more when traveling nowadays,” Wagner said. “And are more sophisticated and have more diverse preference than ever before. We as caterers have a large role to play in selecting and upgrading food choices, to help airlines create ‘culinary memories’ for passengers as part of a distinctive and unforgettable flight experience.” Lately, Wagner has been working on crafting that experience with five-star hotels in Shanghai and Hong Kong for two of the caterer’s airline customers. Menu requirements have been collected and adjusted and preparation methods were nailed down with executive chefs from the hotels and airline representatives who have the final word before each dish is placed in the menu cycle. “This type of partnership again shows that airlines have a strong focus and desire to treat passengers to local specialties,” said Wagner. The desire for airlines to offer fresh, authentic cuisine from their home countries is extending beyond the hub airport to all the stations where they take uplift. The correct taste, appearance and consistency need to be found across the carriers service grid, said Wagner. Airline caterers are far from alone when dealing with the increases in prices. The challenges extend from the hotels to the most modest of family restaurants. To answer the demands of airlines for local, sustainable and affordable offerings, the smart airline caterer makes many adjustments with seasonal availability in mind. “Working closely together with our airline partners, we rediscover and redesign many enjoyable classics, which gives us more choices to offer,” said Wagner.



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Delivering the goods PAX International speaks with suppliers that provide amenities to the Asia Pacific market WESSCO International

Established by Bob Bregman in Los Angeles in 1979, WESSCO International has been supplying the travel industry with branded amenities and guest comfort items for over 30 years. With an experienced professional team and a mission to ‘source the world,’ WESSCO International supplies amenities and guest comfort items to the entire travel industry, including airlines, hotels and cruise lines. As a direct sampling channel of the travel industry for passengers,

All natural cookies and crackers Convenient on-the-go snack packs Variety of brands, flavors and cuts Made with high quality non-GMO ingredients N NOM O G

WESSCO International has been successful in partnerships with admired brands by offering a suite of products. WESSCO International’s extensive portfolio includes amenity kits, sleep suits, blankets designed by the company’s own designers, and branded cosmetic products for lavatories and lounges. WESSCO International has currently expanded its business into different regions, including Asia. Since its launch in 2010, the Asia office in Shanghai has been growing its business in the region to supply mainly branded amenity kit products to airline and hotel corporates. WESSCO International’s clients in the Asia market include: All Nippon Airways, China Eastern, Jet Airways, EVA Air and Cathay Pacific. PAX International recently spoke with Tomoko Fujisaki, Director of Sales, Asia at WESSCO International to learn more about the amenities tailored specifically to the evergrowing Asian market. “We have introduced ‘Eco Zen Collections’ that are specifically targeted for customers in Asia,” Fujisaki explained. “Along with the trend of the concept of being environmentally friendly, the idea of this collection is to bring elegance and minimalism to the green concept.” According to Fujisaki, the ‘Eco Zen Collections’ by WESSCO International have been designed using different eco-friendly materials in order to render the collections sustainable. WESSCO’s portfolio includes amenity kits and sleep suits among other items


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Sleep amenity kit by WESSCO

“The concept of Zen is visible through the design’s minimalism and high quality,” Fujisaki explained. “Together with sustainability and simplicity, the EcoZen collection is born.” In a very competitive market with strong demand for pursuing innovative products, WESSCO International aims to meet its customers’ goals and, at times, their limited budgets, according to Fujisaki. “WESSCO has the expertise in providing quality products by design capability, brand relationship and an experienced team to support sales to delivery,” said Fujisaki. “We are fully aware of [limited budgets] and try to work in advance to meet the customer’s goal.” With office locations in Shanghai and Hangzhou, WESSCO International recognizes the abundance of activity happening in the region and the importance for the company to keep growing along with these emerging markets. As a result, the WESSCO team provides comprehensive service from the proposal of a new program to the delivery of products. “It is our joy to assist customers to achieve their goal together in such special and dynamic surroundings,” said Fujisaki. “We strongly believe that our efforts will result in contribution to our company growth.”

Watermark Products

Watermark Products was established in 1985 in the United Kingdom and has since grown to a multi-regional organization. The company’s Sydney office has grown from a small sales office to a global head

office since its opening in 2008, and now includes sales divisions being run out of both London and Sydney along with operational hubs in Hong Kong and Shanghai. Watermark Products works with most major and medium-sized airlines globally, as well as with retailers within the Australian and American markets. PAX International recently got in touch with the experts at Watermark Products to discuss the growth of the company, the regions they service, and the comfort and amenities they deliver. “We service customers globally with our key customers in the Asia Pacific, the Middle East, Europe and U.S. markets,” Trish Manten, Managing Director at Watermark Products told PAX International. “The majority of our products are unique to each customer as they have been designed to meet each individual customer’s requirements, from aesthetics to functionality,” Ali Atkinson, Design and Development Manager at Watermark Products shared with PAX International. Some of Watermark Products’ amenities offer design features that are unique and appealing to Asian carriers. “For our Cathay Pacific Premium Economy Amenity Kit, Cathay has teamed up with a Hong Kong-based lifestyle brand and retailer, “Goods of Desire” that has developed unique Asian-influenced prints for our amenity kit pouch,” said Atkinson. “The bag itself is made from 90% recycled plastic and the toothbrush is made from cornstarch and cellulose, adding a strong element of sustainability to the product offering.” Watermark Products – Cathay Pacific’s premium economy kit

According to Atkinson, although sustainability is not unique to Watermark Products’ Asian carriers, the company sees the request more frequently from its Asia Pacific clients. He explained further about the Cathay Pacific amenity kit and its practicality as a collectable after-use bag: “The pouch also features an Asian-inspired button and loop closure that not only seals the bag, but also allows the bags to be linked together to hang up as a collection.” The multi-regional organization prides itself on its growth and success beginning from within. “As a business we invest heavily in our staff, technology and with our key suppliers allowing us to be experts in product development,” Manten explained. “We ensure everything is considered when designing and manufacturing a product from OH&S (Occupational Health and Safety), crew handling, fit testing and wash tests, through to third party testing of all manufactured product. Our in-house QA (Quality Assurance) team ensures our factories are compliant and all products are delivered to the required standards.” The proximity to China can make the company’s role within the sourcing of commodity-based items challenging, according to Manten. “That is why at Watermark Products, we recognize where we can bring value to our customers; that being bespoke with product development we can provide insight to new materials, technologies and design whilst delivering a product that is considered and fit for purpose within an airline environment, not just on the aircraft,” explained Manten. “Watermark Products is committed to delivering a global solution and working with suppliers within the emerging markets to deliver quality products to our customers that provide a regional solution, reducing lead-times and logistics costs,” added Manten. “Our design and development team uses a variety of tools to ensure that our Watermark Products – Air Calin childrens’ amenity kit  |  PAX INTERNATIONAL  |  27

ASIA PACIFIC SUPPLIER REPORT Buzz - Cathay Pacific amenity kits featuring Jurlique products

products are fit for purpose, on trend, reflect our clients’ brand identity and are well designed for the airline industry,” said Atkinson. “Mix this with our strong element of creativity and cost efficiency and the result is innovative products with that distinctive edge.”


Buzz was born 15 years ago, when creative entrepreneurs Barry Gold and Leonard Hamersfeld combined their experience in design and business with a passion for creating impactful products. Today, the once small Australian-based company has matured into a global creative product design agency continuing to grow their area of expertise and broaden their capabilities in the airline sector. Partnering with airlines from all over the globe, Buzz delivers innovative product solutions across luxury amenities, prestige skincare, designer collaborations, loyalty, children’s activities and amenities, sleepwear and textiles. Buzz’s strong team has evolved over time to include experts from a dynamic breadth of industries. Buzz is home to a unique team of creative directors, graphic and industrial designers, illustrators, product and electronics engineers, digital strategists, production specialists and client service, marketing and finance professionals. Working with a portfolio of airlines that stretch across Europe, the Middle East, the Asia Pacific and the Americas, Buzz enters a holistic partnership with its clients. Buzz’s full service office sees a seamless journey through the entire development process, from receiving the initial brief, through to the delivery of the product. This includes ideation, design, production, shipping and distribution. Buzz works closely with clients and through a process of discovery called ‘Insights’, Buzz engages in in-depth research to intricately learn about the client’s brand, their consumers and the market in which the airline operates. 28  |  PAX INTERNATIONAL  |  JUNE/JULY 2014

After gaining a thorough understanding, Buzz then partners with the airline delivering unique product designs and collaboration opportunities that are synonymous with the airline’s values and attributes. Buzz facilitates strong designer collaborations and luxury skincare partnerships for a heightened First and Business Class experience. Recent amenities by Buzz include the inflight debut of ESCADA on Lufthansa First Class, the Delta Business Elite amenity kit featuring Tumi with skincare from (MALIN+GOETZ), the Cathay Pacific collaboration with Jurlique skincare, and Qantas First’s male and female amenity kits featuring SK-II. PAX International recently spoke with Cassie Whelan, Marketing Executive at Buzz Products to learn about how it works together with airlines to deliver successful amenity offerings. “Working with airlines and brands to deliver a successful collaboration is a core part of the Buzz business. Facilitating firstto-market partnerships or the onboard debut of a designer brand, skincare or fragrance collection is highly desirable when combined with sleek, unique bags and comfort items,” Whelan shared with PAX International. Buzz has created custom illustrated character suites for young passengers in the Middle East in the lovable family of Emirates Fly With Me Monsters, in addition to the popular children’s license, SpongeBob Squarepants currently onboard with Qatar Airways. Pororo the Little Penguin’s recent launch onboard Korean Air

Custom character designed Fly with Me Monsters by Buzz

is also the work of Buzz, with a soft, plush toy and activities across the children’s and infant categories. Buzz designed and developed products also in market range from sleeper suits, blankets and comfort items, to economy and loyalty products. In April 2013, Buzz facilitated a niche, local collaboration that resonated with an airline’s primary market. Pororo the Little Penguin made its inflight debut onboard Korean Air in a range that extended across activity books, deluxe plush toys with blankets, branded backpacks and meal tray options. The local animation-based character was not only a great success in the Korean market, but also received global recognition as a favorite children’s brand. According to Whelan, like any region, airlines in the Asia Pacific have preferences in the types of products, brands and licenses they prefer to have onboard. “This is where having a comprehensive understanding of the client’s current product landscape, their clientele and the market in which the airline is operating, is of upmost importance,” explained Whelan. Buzz has also identified key trends in organic, natural skincare in the Asia Pacific region that resonate with the Cathay Pacific passenger, according to Whelan. “Buzz worked intimately with Cathay Pacific and very successfully premiered the natural Australian skincare brand, Jurlique, for the airline’s long-haul Business passengers in a range of face, lip and hand cream products,” said Whelan. Buzz continues to design, develop and produce products to the travel industry and currently supplies to more than 20 airlines across the Middle East, Asia Pacific, Europe and the United States.



amenity’s sake As FORMIA continues to innovate on the amenity kit front, airlines and travelers alike are taking note, especially in the Asia Pacific region by MELISSA SILVA


or some travelers, the most exciting part about any flight is the final destination. Others however, find great pleasure in the little details, such as the amenity kits offered onboard. One of the collective goals of airlines today is to make a passenger’s travel experience as accommodating, comfortable and enjoyable as possible. This goal combined with the heightened expectations of the modern traveler, have presented amenity kit suppliers with a challenge, one that FORMIA has stylishly met. Travel amenities specialist — and Supplier of the Year 2013 award winner — FORMIA has been supplying airlines with sophisticated amenity kits for several years, with the purpose of making travelers’ journeys as smooth and relaxing as possible. “We hope not only to provide the comfort of home whilst away, but also to produce an experience of indulgence. We are enthusiastic about creating value through brands and design and making each single concept an icon of pampering and care,” says Roland Grohmann, Managing Director of FORMIA. With social media and online networks humming day and night, passengers easily share, compare, recommend, praise or defame one product and service over another. In this context, Grohmann feels the amenity kit has become a key indicator of the airline’s commitment to enhance comfort onboard. Airlines are becoming more aware of this communication power, especially since among all the complimentary items offered onboard, the amenity kit is the only item passengers can take with them after the flight. This provides the opportunity of servicing passengers’ comfort not only onboard, but also after the flight. “Passengers nowadays consider it a given that an amenity kit will fulfill onboard needs. On a second stage they expect an amenity bag to exceed the use


FORMIA’s Economy Class kit for Korean Air features slippers

onboard and transition to daily life usage in a variety of ways,” says Grohmann. Grohmann stresses the noteworthy evolution amenity kits are currently undergoing. While items such as socks and masks are intended to provide comfort onboard, cosmetics for example, have a stronger appeal to the routine of daily life. “Obviously cosmetic brands are the kits’ contents key differentiator, so the challenge remains to be accessible to the budget of a complimentary kit, whilst enhancing its perceived value,” explains Grohmann. Equally significant when it comes to differentiating factors, is the current trend that sees amenity bags being increasingly modeled after luggage and fashion brands. Because of this, airlines are beginning to understand the importance or ‘pull’ fashion brands have, especially when compared to the airline’s own branding. “They understand a branded bag has a higher perceived value than its comparable airline branded bag, and that they could leverage on the endorsement of the brand,” Grohmann adds.

Profile perfectionist

Both the consumer profile and the targeted demographic heavily influence the design and presentation of amenity kits. The high standards of the Asian consumer have been largely analyzed from a marketing standpoint in an array of industries for some time now. Operating out of Asia, FORMIA has Asian consumers — and their high standards — directly on its radar. “Asians are widely known for their millenary hospitality and set the stan-

dard at a high level. Asian hospitality tradition translates into service-minded carriers, focusing on high levels of comfort and brand differentiation. We work together with Asian carriers to help them translate their hospitality values into meaningful comfort services onboard,” says Grohmann. FORMIA has created an Economy Class kit for Korean Air, offering slippers for the first time in economy class, an item which also happen to be an icon of Asian comfort. “Asian passengers have a strong preference for international brands, but we also see some authentic Asian brands making their way through to onboard services, such as Harnn and Thann, Thai cosmetic brands, which are onboard Eva Air,” Grohmann adds. In the coming months, FORMIA will continue to update its portfolio to cater to different needs and trends that may arise. The company has new collaborations in the works with luggage and lifestyle brands, many of which have not traditionally been involved in inflight service in the past. And while FORMIA continues to innovate, its vision remains intact: Becoming the world’s most desirable travel amenities company. FORMIA’s kit for Garuda Indonesia Air features esteemed brand, L’Occitane


Full speed ahead Food and beverage dominated the trade show floor at this year’s MHA show, leaving cruise line delegates with a lot on their plates by

MELISSA SILVA Orlando, Florida, the host city of this year’s MHA show


enerally speaking, food has always served as an excellent topic for discussion. It can bring people together for any number of gatherings, whether formal or informal, whether during the holidays or for some other special occasion. It’s arguable that where there is good food, there exists good company, and the same can be said about this year’s Marine Hotel Association (MHA) conference and trade show. The general consensus at this year’s show — the 29th to be exact — revolved around one main observation: An increase in the number of food and beverage exhibitors, with more catering suppliers in attendance than years prior. Held in sunny Orlando — as it has been for the last several years — the 2014 MHA show attracted a significant number of food and beverage vendors, ranging from seafood giants Clearwater Seafood and Ocean’s Finest, to beverage veterans Nestlé Professional and Coca-Cola, along with several well known tea companies, including Bigelow, Lipton and Twinings. This abundance provided cruise lines such as Princess, Disney, Royal Caribbean, Celebrity and Norwegian not only with good food and good company, but also with ample selection and difficult decisions. In addition to food and beverage, the trade show floor also saw the likes of various other cruise suppliers, including: Orvec, manufacturers of passenger comfort products; Dade Paper, suppliers of paper, plastic, chemical, foam, and janitorial supplies; Revol, producers of French-made culinary porcelain; and relatively new to the show — albeit well known among many consumers worldwide — tabletop powerhouses Waterford, Wedgwood, Royal Doulton, Royal Albert Americas (WWRD Americas). And that’s just to name a few. But before the trade show floor opened, Ozer Balli, Vice President of Hotel Operations for Disney Cruise Line and the President of the Marine Hotel Association,

summed up in his own words the purpose of the MHA show in his opening speech. “This event gives us an opportunity to connect with each other, share best practices and continue to pursue excellence in our industry,” he said. Balli elaborated on how this opportunity to connect works to further the overall goals of the MHA, which he explained is threefold: To enhance the overall quality of the cruise experience, to provide a forum and open dialogue for cruise lines and suppliers, and to create a professional networking opportunity for cruise line team members. “I’m proud to say we continue to deliver on every aspect of this vision, even as our membership has grown,” Balli added. Balli continued by encouraging new members to maintain the ideals of the association and to build on them, while also offering fresh perspectives. “I have seen firsthand how our membership works together like a family, and how we succeed by doing so. We stay focused on enhancing the entire industry, not looking out for our own company or personal interests. And today our collaboration has never been more critical, as the innovation of our industry moves forward with great speed,” he continued.

Fresh pickings

Out on the trade show floor, exhibitors’ and delegates’ thoughts regarding the association echoed those of Balli, which were made even more poignant by the long ties some have with the MHA, such as Nestlé Professional. Exhibiting for the 29th year — the same number of years the show has been in production — Nestlé Professional is one of the MHA’s founding members. Nestlé Professional has been working with cruise lines for 30 years, and attends the MHA show each year with the same objective: To show new product lines and new developments that apply to the cruise channel.

“Our goal is to add more products to each cruise line, whether it’s the juices, coffee, cocktail mix programs, and now there’s the Nestlé waters, San Pellegrino, which are involved with the MHA now too,” says Bill Fennell, Vice President Cruise Ship Sales & Service Division, Nestlé Professional “We’re proud of the association, and obviously, since after 30 years we’re still here. The industry itself has grown from a dozen ships and now there are close to 200. It has been a very good industry to be a part of and grow with,” Fennell added. Twinings, a 308-year-old company, has been making tea since 1706, but has only been focusing on the food service industry for the last five years, an industry that has grown tremendously for the company. This new focus has led them to the cruise channel, and consequently, the MHA show, at which they’ve exhibited the last two years. “We’re spreading out and this channel has been great — the cruise business has been huge. We’re on cruise lines, airlines, restaurants, hotels, lodging — essentially anywhere and at any place where you have away from home food and beverage consumption, we’re there,” says Joe Goetz, National Account Manager Food Service, Twinings. At last year’s show, Twinings picked up a great deal of new business, which they hoped to repeat at this year’s event. “We’re finding that if the cruise business sees that you’re supporting them, and see that you’re actually a part of it — it will garner attention from distributors, from the companies, and we’ll grow our business. And it has grown — it’s paid off very well for us.” At this year’s show, Twinings showcased its hot tea bag and loose tea business. “These are our traditional lines: Our black teas, herbals, green teas, chai teas — we have over 50 blends available here in North America,” said Goetz. One item in particular that Twinings showed last year, but is keen on growing  |  PAX INTERNATIONAL  |  31

MHA REVIEW this year, is its cold-brew ice tea. An all-natural, un-sweetened tea, brewed at ambient temperature, Twinings’ cold-brew ice tea isn’t currently on cruise lines, which is why attending this year’s show was high on the priority list. “We not only feature it as ice tea, but we also use this tea for cocktail infusions as well. So whether it’s a ‘Motito’ using our green tea, or a mixed berry cosmopolitan or a peach Bellini, we’re using these teas as an infusion. And then we also find chefs that actually use our loose tea for various dishes, such as green tea-infused pasta, steak rubs, and desserts. We’re trying to take it to another level,” explained Goetz. In order to be relevant in the food service sector and really appeal to buyers are looking for, Goetz feels the focus needs to be on center plate items, which is where the infusions really come into play. “That’s where buyers spend most of their time. So if beef or chicken prices go up, the world stops and the first beverage they’re thinking about is coffee or soda. So when you look at that plate, tea is on the outside. So if we can give relevance in other applications, like infusions, and ‘tag’ onto the protein or the center of the plate, then it works out for everyone,” Goetz said. “It is a really exciting time for tea. Tea right now is what coffee was about 12 years ago, and if a cruise ship has designated an area or a time of day as ‘tea time,’ then you’ll find tea onboard,” he added.

Smooth Sailing

At the show’s closing conference, representatives from several top cruise lines spoke at length not only about what their vessels and excursions have to offer, but also on the industry as a whole. Eugene Marino, Vice President Supply Chain at Princess Cruises expressed his feelings regarding the organization and show, largely


referencing its purpose as a forum for collaboration and communication in the industry. Marino discussed the focus Princess is placing on the emotional connection the passenger makes with his or her cruise experience, among other connections that may occur during the voyage at sea. “We have an array of onboard programs, with a variety of styles from classic and contemporary to folkloric, a regional aspect that blends with the dining experience onboard, as well as themed-buffets of the various regions in the world,” Marino said. Celebrity Cruises is taking that focus on the emotional connection — specifically with regard to the fare served onboard — to the next level. David Siewers, Regional Marketing Manager at Celebrity Cruises, spoke at length about Celebrity’s new partnership with Top Chef, which will see Top Chef winners creating dishes onboard various sailings. “We’ve had a lot of fun working with Top Chef, to bring their episodes onto our ships starting in July. On all of our ships well have an opportunity in our main dining room to have Top Chef recipes every night and additionally, we will have quick fire challenges that guests can participate in on every sailing from July 2014 to June 2015,” Siewers explained. Whether it was a cappuccino, a chai tea or a lobster roll that attracted a cruise line representative to an exhibitor’s booth, one thing remains certain: Good food and good company were not far from reach.



HOT! Liquid gold

Company Name: Castello Monte Vibiano Vecchio Company Location: Perugia, Italy Description: Castello Monte Vibiano Vecchio is proud to introduce its new Italian flavors: Extra virgin olive oil and chili; extra virgin olive oil and lemon; extra virgin olive oil and garlic; and extra virgin olive oil with chili and garlic. With more than 12,000 olive trees, Monte Vibiano bottles only the first cold pressing to deliver an extra virgin quality and looks to explore new combinations by pressing together the olives with Mediterranean spices for a pure and genuine taste.

Belle Fleur

Ideas worth celebrating

Company Name: WK Thomas Company Location: Surrey, U.K. Description: WK Thomas’s new disposable, leakproof ice bucket combines good looks and cost efficiency. Made from sturdy board that is lighter than rotable equivalents, these innovative buckets can be easily branded to offer premium presentation. They’re also collapsible which offers considerable benefits in stowage. A specially engineered Ice Bag allows a bottle of fizz and ice to be served in a convenient and modern style that is practical, stylish and cost-effective.

Company Name: WESSCO International Company Location: Los Angeles, California Description: WESSCO is pleased to introduce Belle Fleur, the latest amenity line for hotels, airlines and cruises. Belle Fleur has been designed to offer the comfort of home along with essences of the “New York society rich and famous.” The new, cutting edge brand has been created for the enjoyment of travelers worldwide.

Leading the way

Company Name: ETZIO® Company Location: Hong Kong, China; Barcelona, Spain; Istanbul, Turkey Description: ETZIO® aims to create a new experience combining comfort and design with its amenity bag collection. Speciallydesigned for the traveler’s journey, each pack includes a different city map from around the world in addition to other accessories such as eye masks and passport holders. With design teams located in Hong Kong, Barcelona and Istanbul, the collection brings together different cultures and are characterized for being personal, energetic, revolutionary, and green. ETZIO® uses eco-friendly material for all of its products.

Luxury takes flight

Company Name: Buzz Company Location: Abbotsford, Australia Description: Luxury brand, ESCADA makes its inflight debut with prestigious male and female amenity kits. Lufthansa has partnered with ESCADA to deliver a premium inflight experience featuring skincare from La Mer. Buzz developed the bag design with functionality in mind; the amenity kits can double as a clutch, a document wallet, or a tech case. The coveted new amenity offer is currently available on Lufthansa’s long-haul First Class flights.  |  PAX INTERNATIONAL  |  33



announces liquidation ITCA Founder Willie Seeman

After more than 30 years as part of the travel catering industry, the International Travel Catering Association announced it is liquidating its operations. A statement dated May 7 was sent from the Association’s headquarters announced the end to the group. The same day, the website had also been closed down. “Starting in 1980 ITCA believes that it has successfully achieved many of its original goals,” said a statement from the London area-based Association. “Since those days, the industry has developed

considerably and it appears that there The International Flight Services is no longer a requirement for such an C A L E N D A R organization. Indeed, the demand for the Association’s activities has left it in a posiAPOT.Asia 2014 Travel Forum, June 2-5, Da Nang, tion that it is unable to continue trading.” Vietnam. For more information contact APOT at ITCA started as the International Flight Catering Association and held its first International Flight Services Association/Airline conference and trade show in the ballroom Passenger Experience Association, September 15-18 of the Waldorf Hotel in London’s Aldwych, Anaheim Convention Center, Anaheim, California. For which it continued year after year in other more information Contact IFSA at (404) 252-3663, or by e-mail at, or contact APEX at European cities. One of the guiding forces (212) 297-2177, or by e-mail at throughout the group’s history was its rail event, September 23-26, Berlin, Founder, Willie Seeman. Through the years, InnoTrans Germany. For more information, contact Mary Jo Balve he established the association’s network of at or call (732) international committees, education activi- 933-1118 ties and publications, and introduced the Aircraft Interiors Expo and World Travel Catering Mercury Awards to recognize and reward and Onboard Services Expo Americas, October innovation within the industry. He con- 14-16, Seattle, Washington. For more information contact Customer Service at (203) 840-5680, tinued to be involved in the Association or by e-mail at up until his passing in 2012. NBAA Business Aviation Conference and The group changed its name in 2005 to Exhibition, October 21-23, Orlando, Florida. For more reflect its efforts to reach out to other travel information, contact NBAA at (202) 783-9000, or by e-mail at sources. Shortly thereafter, it began hosting another trade show in the Middle East. Airline Passenger Experience Association Asia However, the main trade show began to Conference, November 3-4, Hong Kong, China. For experience a drop in attendance and inter- more information contact APEX at (212) 297-2177, or by e-mail at est. In June of 2011, ITCA announced it had sold its yearly event to Reed Exhibitions, organizers of the Aircraft Interiors Expo. It The International Flight Services Assowas rebranded as the World Travel Catering and Onboard Services Expo, which is ciation, which meets in the United States, now held yearly in Hamburg, in conjunc- moved its yearly Exhibition to the fall of each year. tion with the Aircraft Interiors Expo. “The International Travel Catering ITCA continued to operate a scaled down event in the Middle East in Dubai, Association made many contributions and later in Abu Dhabi. The Association to the global travel service industry over also continued to offer its HACCP work- the years, including their European expo,” shops, which it held throughout the world. said IFSA President Pam Suder-Smith. For years, two travel catering associa- “We wish all of their staff and membership tions held events in the winter and spring. the best.”

Winners of ITCA’s most recent Mercury Awards, held last November in Abu Dhabi


spiriant goes global Inspiring in-flight equipment solutions now in the Middle East We design, create and deliver smart in-flight equipment concepts while optimizing the entire supply chain through state-of-the-art logistics. With our European heritage in-tow, SPIRIANT is taking its design expertise global – opening a new office in Dubai in 2014.  Discover how we can make your life easier, reduce complexity and inspire your passengers by visiting

Visit us at booth 4C54 (Hall B4) to learn more about SPIRIANT and our award-winning solutions.