PAX International WTCE March/April 2018

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VOL. 25, NO. 3










MAKE EVERY JOURNEY THE BEST IT CAN BE We have a passion for innovation and an obsession with operational excellence. This combination has enabled us to become the global leader in food and hospitality.

Learn more at World Travel Catering & Onboard Services Expo Hamburg Messe Hall A4, Stand 4C20 – 4E20


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


nterested in a lightweight galley that’s a list of the companies that will be submitbeen optimized for maximum storage ting their newest innovations at the expo, space? How about sneaking a look at including Bucher, Inflight Canada, Juki, a digital sewing system for heavy-duty Mirus, Molon Labe, Soisa, Vision Systems seating? If that doesn't interest you, a and WiFi Technologies. lighting system that glows in a seat cover “The Hub will allow attendees from and has been integrated into cabin ambi- across the supply chain to synthesize future ent light has got to be something you innovative ideas and collaborate on key want to see. issues relating to passenger experience,” A new feature called the Ideation Hub said a release from Reed Exhibitions, the will be added to this year’s Aircraft Interi- conference organizer. ors Expo. It will be a feast for any aviation Among the throng this year will be a industry geek’s eyes and a place to rest group of 50 new companies on the AIX weary feet that have trudged through the side, and on the WTCE side an entire halls and passages of the Hamburg Messe “village” has been devoted to new food for too long. service-related companies. The examples above, plus half a dozen Like our readers, we will be venturing more products that few have probably into this year’s Passenger Experience Week seen, are on the threshold of integration with an open mind and a curiosity for the in the airline cabin. These innovations, the many new products we’ll be exposed to entries in the Crystal Cabin Awards, the during our days in Hamburg. If you missed themed events and Monday’s Passenger some, we hope to bring them to you on our Experience Conference are what we have website and in our print issues. come to expect during what is now dubbed Passenger Experience Week in Hamburg. As we were going to press with this Rick Lundstrom issue — the second one we finished for Editor-in-Chief this year’s event — organizers sent around PAX International


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: Rachel Debling, Editor Tel: (1 905) 821-3344 x21 E-mail: Ash Khan, Editorial and Marketing Assistant Tel: (1 905) 821-3344 x30 E-mail: CONTRIBUTORS Jeremy Clark Mary Jane Pittilla Simon Ward Stathis Kefallonitis

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

ADVERTISING OFFICES Kevin Greene, Advertising and Marketing Manager Tel: (1 905) 821-3344 x31 E-mail: PAX International is published seven times a year (January/February, March/April, May, June, July, September, 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. March/April 2018, Vol. 25, No. 3. Printed in Canada. All rights reserved. Nothing may be reprinted in whole or in part without written permission from the publisher. © PAX International magazine

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


Whether it’s our chefs’ extraordinary attention to detail or the care we take over selecting our ingredients, there are dozens of fascinating stories behind our appetite for perfection. Now you can discover them all. All you have to do is follow us on Instagram and LinkedIn.



VOL. 25, NO. 3

Contents 46



With spectacular scenery as a backdrop and the latest in breathing and movement techniques on the screen, Hawaiian Airlines has brought a collection of passenger well-being videos its trans-Pacific flights


In a major milestone, Ethiopian Airlines, Africa’s largest airline group, was awarded Skytrax 4-star certification in 2017 – and much more is to come, as the carrier’s CEO explains


THAI Airways IPCL and its catering unit have the responsibility of handling not only the rich food culture of its own Kingdom but meeting the culinary desires of the many tourists and airlines that travel with them around the world




Newrest will be coming to this year’s WTCE with new programs tapping into the latest inflight entertainment technology as well as two new inflight catering units serving customers in France and Colombia


Flying Food Group is one year into a nationwide expansion of its catering units in the United States as demand and customers increase


With airport capacity and airline activity both pegged for extensive growth, DXB’s sole dedicated flight caterer will be at the center of an important period in the UAE’s commercial aviation future


Vancouver International Airport will be the next location for dnata’s catering division, and the Dubai-based caterer is clear that North American expansion is in its sights




VOL. 25, NO. 3










ON THE COVER: This February, Finnair introduced “Kahvikutsut” to guests – a coffee serving with traditional Finnish treats, seen here in a Marimekko mug. Learn more on page 62. (Photo credit: Finnair)


gategroup’s Chief Commercial Officer Federico Germani takes a moment to share how he got into the airline catering business, and where he sees the business taking him



We reached out to Simon Ward, industry expert and founder of the annual TravelPlus Airline Amenity Awards, to give us the lowdown on limited-edition collectible amenity kits that have recently caught his eye and to share what makes them stand out



VOL. 25, NO. 3




Whether it is the company’s specialty airline seating or any other touchpoint in the passenger experience, airlines have turned to the designers at Acumen Design Associates to find inspiration in the details


Aaldering Vineyards & Wines, a longtime supplier of premium products to airlines, will be adding growing land and varietals in the Devon Valley of South Africa


Keeping guests happily hydrated in flight is easier than ever with the latest in coffee, tea and non-alcoholic beverage offerings that are as easy to serve at 40,000 feet as on the ground


Leading food service suppliers are brimming with creative new concepts for their latest snack box ranges



Mercury finalists and winners 2017: A behind-the-scenes view from resident judge Jeremy Clark



The unique elements that deliver a memorable and personalized passenger experience in every class and at every stage of the journey should be of the utmost concern to all airlines, according to Stathis Kefallonitis, Ph.D., Founder and President of




We reached out to three companies who are returning to the WTCE expo floor to learn what they appreciate most about this annual event


TECHNOLOGY SOLUTIONS Bluetooth and geofencing, Big Data, artificial intelligence and passengercentric design: just some of the topics on the agenda at the inaugural Passenger Technology Solutions event


The 2018 World Travel Catering and Onboard Services Expo is introducing a deluge of new foods, beverages and amenity products. PAX shares a sneak peek at what you can expect to sample on the expo floor this year



Europe was rocked this year by weather that has affected wine volumes. But amid the problems, companies at this year’s WTCE continue to work through the troubles to position themselves in regions around the world



Top chef Michel Roth has opened a gourmet restaurant operated by SSP inside Metz railway station in France. Mary Jane Pittilla finds out more













SKYPRO introduces Uniforms of the Future The design of an airline uniform is taken seriously by the SKYPRO Design Team, according to Jorge Pinto, CEO of SKYPRO. “Fundamentally, this is an exercise in building brand identity for two unique groups: the airline professionals who should feel proud to wear their company’s uniform, and by customers who should instantly recognize the values and culture of the airline,” Pinto explains. The company’s challenge is to develop a design concept that respects three main rules: 1. The uniform must be both elegant and comfortable, and always in accordance with the airline’s culture and values. 2. The design of the uniform should always utilize the appropriate fabrics to provide the ultimate in care and comfort for the airline professionals, while ensuring durability and resistance intended for long-term use. 3. The uniform pieces are developed with careful consideration of their technical aspects, allowing easy alterations to match the unique specifications of each crew member.

Check out the latest uniform styles and options on SKYPRO’s website ( and learn more about their “Uniforms of the Future” series at WTCE, stand 1G40.

Digital fashion and function meet on SKYPRO's website

Delta’s personalized amenity kit shortlisted for TravelPlus award The world’s first personalized amenity kit, created by Buzz Products for Delta Air Lines, was announced as a Most Innovative Amenity Kit finalist at the prestigious TravelPlus Awards. Buzz worked with Delta and TUMI to create the kit, delivering a truly unique and customized experience for passengers. The kits were released in September 2017 and featured a TUMI 19 Degree

Passengers can opt to monogram their Delta TUMI kits

Galileo Watermark develops Magritte-inspired kits for Brussels Airlines Last year marked the 50th anniversary of the death of one of Belgium’s most famous and respected artists, René Magritte. To mark the occasion, Galileo Watermark developed three collectible amenity kits for Brussels Airlines, using some of the surrealist artist’s most famous works. Magritte is widely lauded around the world for his unique visual style and has been a great influence in pop, contemporary and modern art. The neoprene bags feature prints inspired by three of Magritte’s major works: The Treachery of Images, The Return and The Son of Man. 12  |  PAX INTERNATIONAL  |  MARCH/APRIL 2018

mini case with complimentary monogramming option. Passengers can monogram their initials on the front of the case, marking a first for any airline amenity. “We are excited to offer customers the ability to monogram their amenity kits and create a personalized souvenir to take with them as they jet-set across the globe,” said Allison Ausband, Delta’s Senior Vice President – In-Flight Service. The Delta One kits continue to feature Kiehl’s Since 1851 skincare products, such as a hand cleanser, a mouthwash stick and TUMI eyeshades as well as Kiehl’s Lip Balm #1, among other amenity items. The kits are available on flight with the Delta One cabin. Passengers will be given a silver hard-sided amenity kit on outbound flights from the U.S. and a soft-sided black amenity kit inbound to the U.S. From April 1, the kits will be launched in a new color. The TravelPlus Airline Amenity Award winners will be announced on April 10 in Hamburg.

Kenny Harmel, Head of Aviation at Galileo Watermark, also commented: “Understanding local heritage is hugely important, we were keen to continue Brussels Airlines’ long-standing tradition of partnering with national icons and brands to elevate their onboard offering. With the anniversary falling in the year of the kit launch, we felt that celebrating some of Magritte’s most iconic pieces would be a fitting tribute and a wonderful keepsake for passengers on board.” Visit Galileo Watermark at this year’s WTCE, stand 4C60.

Art images on Brussels Airlines kits





MV Food & Services s.r.l. Via Veneto, 4 06072 Mercatello di Marsciano (Perugia) Italy Tel. +39 075 8783354 e-mail:


Delta Dailyfood and Fleury Michon become Fleury Michon Airline Catering The catering division of Fleury Michon, based in Europe, and their subsidiary Delta Dailyfood, based in North America, are rebranding to become Fleury Michon Airline Catering. With more than 30 million meals served annually on flights departing from Europe and North America, Fleury Michon Airline Catering is a key player in airline catering. They constantly invest in their state-of-the-art research and production facilities to meet the growing demand. Together, their global network will develop a wide range of tailormade culinary solutions for First, Business and Economy Classes, with the underlying goal of helping people eat better when traveling. The company is now partnering with Chef Henry Hsu, Chef Junichi Ikematsu and Executive Chef Felix Yu to develop authentic Chinese and Japanese menus.

Fleury Michon Airline Catering is also collaborating with renowned Chefs to develop signature dishes for Business Class and buyon-board menus. Canadian Chef Daniel Vézina will be presenting his creations at WTCE on April 10 from 12:30 p.m. to 2:00 p.m at stand 4E83.

FORMIA reinvents SPIRIANT dining SAUDIA’s amenity programs concept wins award

FORMIA has announced a further extension to its existing commercial relationship with Saudi Arabian Airlines (SAUDIA) to revamp its First and Business Class amenity programs. In both cabins, the amenity kits feature superb quality branded Furla bags for ladies and Porsche Design branded kits for gents, all containing top-end cosmetic items from Parisian Luxury brand Atelier Cologne. The First Class amenity kit is complemented by a Porsche Design loungewear kit that is casual but stylish and made ready for passengers to lounge in. FORMIA’s CEO and Managing Partner, Roland Grohmann, commented: “As First Class and Business Class passengers’ expectations are constantly raised, FORMIA has collaborated with SAUDIA to achieve its ambition to raise the bar even higher, providing unparalleled levels of comfort and care to its customers, and in the process delivering an unforgettable, value-added travel experience.” Visit FORMIA at this year’s WTCE, stand 1E50, Hall A1.


SPIRIANT, the LSG Group’s inflight equipment solutions subsidiary, has won an iF Design award for their new Étagère premium dining ware concept. “The concept creates a holistic meal experience where visual appeal and functional requirements are perfectly combined, living up to SPIRIANT’s brand claim, ‘Where inspiration meets performance,’" said a release from the company. Fine bone china used in the design is thinner and more transparent than common porcelain, making it both elegant and lightweight for air travel. SPIRIANT made the design modular and sleek with a serving plate, a smaller plate and bowl. The tableware can be arranged in several constellations and stacked, making it both versatile and interactive. It can also be used in a lounge or at the onboard bar. The awards ceremony took place on March 9 at the BMW World exhibition center in Munich. Daniel Knies, Director Design and Product at SPRIANT, and Eva Hotz, Product Manager for Premium Experience SPIRIANT, proudly attended to accept the award. Since its creation in 1953, the iF Design Awards represent the largest design competition in the world, bestowing a seal of excellence and testimony of quality on the products it recognizes. “We are elated that the Etagère concept is receiving the recognition that we have always felt it deserved,” said Knies. “The work that we put into the design process was meticulous, in-depth and always with the premium passenger experience at the forefront of our minds.”

The Étagère premium dining concept from SPIRIANT


Gate Gourmet Japan honored by Hong Kong Airlines Gate Gourmet Japan has been named “Best Caterer 2017” by Hong Kong Airlines. “Gate Gourmet Japan is the first-ever recipient of the Gold Award, launched by Hong Kong Airlines in 2017 to recognize the performance of in-flight caterers,” said a release from Gate Gourmet. Gate Gourmet handles more than 20 flights per week for the airline. Gate Gourmet Hong Kong and Gate Gourmet Canada also received the “Excellent Catering Service Award” for its support of Hong Kong Airlines. Hong Kong Airlines stated that thanks to the efforts of its catering partners, they received the highest customer satisfaction scores for onboard food and beverages to date and were able to deliver exceptional operational performance. Hong Kong Airlines recently was ranked highly among airlines in Asia by the UK-based air travel intelligence company Official Airline Guide. gategroup President APAC Jann Fisch said, “I would like to congratulate our management and teams from Gate Group Japan, Hong Kong and Canada who were recognized for their unwavering professionalism and customer orientation. Special thanks go to our long-term partner Hong Kong Airlines for setting the highest standards for customer experience, which inspires us to innovate again and again.” In other news, Hong Kong Airlines has collaborated with homegrown chef Gabriel Choy to offer a range of Western dishes with an Asian twist to its Business Class passengers on all flights departing from Hong Kong. Born in Hong Kong, Choy was the first Asian winner of the Gordon Ramsay Scholar competition back in 2005. He has accumulated a wealth of culinary experience, having worked at some of the world’s finest restaurants including Ramsay’s own Pétrus as well as Heston Blumenthal’s threeMichelin-starred The Fat Duck and Gaddi’s at The Peninsula Hong Kong. The chef has designed 12 main courses, each reflecting a unique blend of ingredients that include the likes of black bean tapenade gratin chicken supreme with bacon; pumpkin gnocchi in Genovese sauce with seasonal vegetables; grilled beef tenderloin with red date demi-glaze sauce, roasted potato and seasonal vegetables; and mixed seafood cannelloni in white mornay sauce topped with jade sprouts.




New Friend


Your Space Saving Companions in the Galley

Visit our stand 2A10 at the WTCE Hamburg  |  PAX INTERNATIONAL  |  15


New Qantas menu helps fight jet lag Beginning March 24, Qantas Airways’ new 787 Dreamliner Perth to London route began featuring menus that have been developed to increase hydration and reduce jet lag, according to a March press release from the carrier. The new menus include trendy international fare such as poke bowls and an herbal tea created especially for Qantas and were based on research from the University of Sydney’s Charles Perkins Centre with input from Qantas and Rockpool. The end result: dishes that encourage sleep at optimal times during the flight. Neil Perry, Creative Director of Food, Beverage and Service at Qantas, commented in a statement: “Working with clinical sleep specialists, nutritionists and metabolic scientists, we’ve designed new menu options using delicious ingredients that have added benefits of hydration, aiding sleep and reducing jet lag. “The menu on the Perth to London route will continue to offer a selection of customer favorites but it has some special ingredient additions and exclusions.” Trials with Frequent Flyers that will include capturing data on activity, sleep, and food and beverage intake via wearable technology before, during and after flights is the next step, according to Professor Stephen Simpson, Academic Director of the University of Sydney’s Charles Perkins Centre.

“Qantas’ new menu incorporates the latest scientific knowledge on nutrition and hydration and our scientists are excited by this opportunity to discover how the wide variety of influences work together during long haul flights,” he said. While the menu content varies from cabin to cabin, some of the features include: • Probiotic BC30-infused Botanica cold pressed juice shots • A relaxing herbal tea developed by Dilmah for Qantas, made from lemon verbena chamomile and lemongrass • Ingredients shown to promote hydration (green leafy vegetables, cucumber, strawberries and celery) • Ingredients tailored to particular times of the day (for example, chili) • Lighter meals, like a tuna poke salad bowl • A hot chocolate bedtime drink with warm milk and chocolate (which contains the sleep-inducing amino acid tryptophan) • Live-cultured organic kombucha by Remedy to aid digestion The kombucha drink by Remedy aids in digestion

culinary solutions

Your partner in for flights departing from Europe and North America

A Chef driven company

collaborating with Culinary Experts worldwide

Chinese cuisine Chef Henry Hsu

Japanese cuisine Chef Junichi Ikematsu

Chinese cuisine Chef Felix Yu 16  |  PAX INTERNATIONAL  |  MARCH/APRIL 2018


Canadian fine cuisine Chef Daniel Vézina


fly better

Delicious egg specialities exquisitely prepared.

Visit us:

Hall A1, Stand No. 1B60

Gut Springenheide GmbH • Weiner 152 • 48607 Ochtrup • Germany Tel. +49 (0) 25 53/10 22 • fax 10 25 • E-Mail:



As a trusted manufacturer in specialized bakery categories, Oven Fresh Baking Company has been a leading provider to foodservice operators for 30 years. • Breads, rolls, buns and sliders • Facility 10 minutes from Toronto Pearson International Airport • Fresh-baked, thaw & serve, and frozen product available daily • Individually-wrapped product available

• Your high-volume needs covered • We service airline caterers and others in the catering industry • We work with schools and hospitals • On-time delivery available across Canada | + 1-416-232-2113 Ext. 221 Oven Fresh Baking Company Ltd. 853 Kipling Ave Etobicoke, ON M8Z 5G9


LSG Group head to serve for five more years

Lee Anne Wong

Hawaiian Airlines to add new Executive Chef Hawaiian Airlines announced in February it has selected Lee Anne Wong, chef and owner of Honolulu’s Koko Head Café, to lead its inflight dining program as the carrier’s new Executive Chef starting June 1. Wong’s global fusion dishes have been showcased in flight as part of Hawaiian’s popular “Featured Chef Series.” She currently oversees meals on the airline’s inbound flights from Japan. Wong will design and oversee Hawaiian’s meal program for First Class passengers on domestic flights and Business and Economy Class guests on international flights. Wong graduated from the International Culinary Center (ICC), formerly known as the French Culinary Institute, and began her culinary training at Marcus Samuelsson’s Aquavit restaurant before she moved on to the opening of Jean Georges Vongrichten’s Chinese concept, Restaurant 66. Wong gained national attention in the United States when she appeared on Season One of Bravo’s flagship series Top Chef. She later became the series’ supervising culinary producer for the next six seasons. In June 2015, Wong joined Hawaiian Airlines’ culinary team as part of its Featured Chef Series. Later that year, Hawaiian entered into an extended collaboration with Wong for meals served on the airline’s growing network of Japan flights. Chef Chai Chaowasaree has led Hawaiian’s inflight meal program since September 2010. During his tenure, Hawaiian’s network expanded with new routes launched in Auckland, Beijing, Brisbane, New York (JFK), Tokyo, Sapporo, Seoul and Osaka. He is also credited with overseeing the airline’s popular Featured Chef Series. Wong will work with Chaowasaree during a transition over the next few months. Hawaiian’s inflight meals will continue to be paired with wines selected by Master Sommelier Chuck Furuya.

Robert Dalboth

Erdmann Rauer has been re-appointed Chairman of the Executive Board of LSG Lufthansa Service Holding AG (LSG Holding) for another five years. The company’s Supervisory Board extended his contract ahead of schedule through December 31, 2023. Rauer has been leading the LSG Group in his current position since October 2014. He has initiated a comprehensive transformation of the company’s business model in order to proactively deal with the volatile market environment and make the company sustainably profitable. The strategic integration of Retail inMotion, a digital start-up specializing in the increasingly important onboard retail programs, was a key prerequisite for enhancing the LSG Group’s competencies. Under his leadership there has been a realignment of the production and logistics landscape in Europe, as well as the expansion of the portfolio with convenience retail products and services for train operators. Rauer joined the LSG Group in August 2006 and has been a member of the LSG Holding Executive Board since January 2011. Previously, he held a number of leading positions in sales, marketing and logistics at GKN Walterscheid, the world’s leading supplier of agricultural drive and cultivation systems. Erdmann Rauer

Dalboth new Managing Director at En Route En Route International, the dnata-owned travel food solutions company, has appointed Robert Dalboth as Global Managing Director. Dalboth previously was finance director and has been a member of the En Route leadership team since 2010. He will drive the continued development of the company’s onboard food and service solutions across four continents. A chartered accountant, he had a career in finance in several industries. Before joining En Route, he was Divisional Vice President of Finance at Global Tobacco Packaging, and has previously held senior roles with Alcan Packaging and East European Tobacco.


“I am delighted to be leading En Route during what will be an incredibly exciting time for the business,” said Dalboth. “We have always embraced innovation in everything we do and have an incredibly talented team which will ensure that we continue to remain at the forefront of developments in our sector. We are already looking at a number of unique initiatives which we will share with the industry very soon.” Dalboth replaces En Route Founder Alison Lessmann, who stepped down from her role at the end of 2017. Lessmann served as the company’s Managing Director from its inception in 2002.

PEOPLE NEWS Massimo Bottura

Bottura to join Servair’s Studio Culinaire

Chef Massimo Bottura has joined Servair’s culinary excellence center, “Studio Culinaire,” starting March 1. Since 2009, the Studio Culinaire has brought Michelin-starred chefs and experts together with the goal of raising the quality standards of onboard catering. Under the chair of Michelin-starred chef Joël Robuchon, Studio Culinaire has developed key recipes that can be recreated by the more than 400 chefs at gategroup and Servair hubs. The chefs also offer training and workshops throughout the production line – from research and development and global kitchen chefs to onboard crews and suppliers. Massimo Bottura is a three-Michelin-star chef who was born and raised in Modena, Italy. He opened Osteria Francescana which in 2016 ranked first place in the “The World’s 50 Best Restaurants.” Two years ago, Bottura founded “Food for Soul,” a non-profit organization to empower communities to fight against food waste and social isolation. “We are excited to welcome Massimo Bottura as a member of Studio Culinaire Servair,” said gategroup CEO Xavier Rossinyol.

“The engaged Italian chef is a perfect match for this culinary think tank, and we look forward to the ideas that he and his colleagues will create to further drive excellence in the passengers’ onboard dining experience. Furthermore, we commend his efforts to address the topic of food waste through his ‘Food for Soul’ initiative, as it strongly complements the waste reduction ambitions of the airline industry.”

Master sommelier Stuckey leads American’s wine program

Esmer Dukul

Galileo Watermark names sales head for Europe

Esmer Dukul has recently joined Galileo Watermark as European Sales Director. A travel sector veteran, Esmer started her career in the industry in the early '90s, spending 16 years with deSter and most recently FORMIA. Dukul will oversee the company’s European client portfolio and use her experience and market knowledge to continue driving Galileo Watermark’s growth. She lives in Rotterdam but will be based at the company’s London office.

Master sommelier Bobby Stuckey is the new wine consultant for American Airlines. Stuckey selects premium wines for the airline’s Admirals Club lounges, Flagship Lounges, Flagship First Dining and inflight. He also guides the development and expansion of American’s wine program. Desmond Echavarrie, master sommelier, will continue to support lounge offerings under the guidance of Stuckey. Stuckey was a sommelier at The Little Nell restaurant in Aspen, Colorado, before joining world-renowned chef Thomas Keller at the French Laundry in Yountville, California, in 2000. During his time there, the French Laundry received The James Beard Foundation’s awards for “Outstanding Restaurant Service” and “Outstanding Wine Service.” Stuckey is the owner of Italian restaurant Frasca Food and Wine in Boulder, Colorado, and serves as its wine director.

Bobby Stuckey

Fleury Michon Airline Catering names new Senior Director

David Salonsky


Fleury Michon Airline Catering has named David Salonsky Senior Director, Global Business Development, Asia-Pacific. Salonsky brings 25 years experience as a sales and marketing executive in the airline catering and hospitality industries. He has lived in Europe, Asia and North America. In his new role, Salonsky will help the company expand into global markets, leading its development in Oceania, Pacific

Rim and South Asia regions. In addition, to support Business Development in Asia-Pacific, the Fleury Michon Airline Catering team of in-house chefs is now collaborating with Chinese and Japanese culinary experts. Fleury Michon is a French multinational company. Among its subsidiaries is Delta Dailyfood near Montreal.

Ethiopian Inflight Catering offers world class menu selection arranged by the best chefs in the African skies. Our international kitchens have the production capacity of 100,000 meals daily and can produce Chinese, Indian, Italian, Halal as well as Kosher meals.

Enjoy African Flavored Ethiopian Hospitality


Living well

in flight

Wainani Arnold of the Wainani Wellness Center on Oahu

With spectacular scenery as a backdrop and the latest in breathing and movement techniques on the screen, Hawaiian Airlines has brought a collection of passenger well-being videos to its trans-Pacific flights by RICK LUNDSTROM


ainani Arnold, founder of the Wainani Wellness Center on Hawaii’s Oahu Island, calls the low-level anxiety that can plague passengers at stages in the travel experience something that produces a “fight or flight” response – and she clearly doesn’t mean flight as in flying on an aircraft. Inspired by her vast travel experiences, as well as her veteran jetsetter clients, Arnold developed a series of videos on YouTube to help people cope with these types of experiences and downfalls. As luck would have it, the videos were also viewed by people from Hawaiian Airlines who contacted her to request that she develop a series of exercises for their passengers. “After we talked, I realized it was a really nice compliment and I really liked the vision and series they had in mind,” Arnold told PAX International. As a result of the collaboration, a portion of a new video series called Ola Pono (or “living well” in Hawaiian) is now on the carrier’s inflight entertainment system as well as their app for passengers to access before, during and after a flight. Hawaiian Airlines launched the series late last year, both inflight and on the carrier’s Facebook


page. Since then, the videos have attracted more than 60,000 views. The videos are on all flights leaving Hawaii to North American cities and on 11 routes to international destinations. The videos are produced in three parts and focus on breathing and wellness exercises, along with travel information about the islands they feature. The video entitled “Air” is the video in which Arnold and her wellness program are featured. The exercise sessions start at the gate, continue in flight and conclude when the passenger deplanes. For the video’s material, Arnold drew from her 15 years of teaching yoga, Pilates and gyrotonic exercises, while throwing in some of her experience as a hula dancer. In her travels she has also witnessed exercises in other travel venues, such as train stations in Japan where passengers openly engage in exercise videos while waiting for their rides. She said she hopes that some day travelers on Hawaiian Airlines can shed their self-consciousness and realize that breathing, stretching and movement are very beneficial for an improved travel experience. “Breathing first is very important because it allows people to get into a calm,

more centered place so that in general we are more grounded travelers,” she said. That calmness could give guests a better experience and pass that good feeling on to their fellow travelers. Many of the exercises in the video are subtle tests of strength such as isometrics and stretching. The exercises in total run about eight minutes. “Consistent, controlled movements while flying benefit travelers of all ages and can help with blood circulations, stiff joints and jetlag,” Arnold added. “The goal is to take care of yourself during the flight so you can get the most out of your Hawaii vacation.” Two other videos selections fill out the Ola Pono series. In the version entitled “Sea,” Hawaiian surfer and lifeguard Brian Keaulana and his daughter Ha’a Keaulana take viewers on a journey across Hakaha on the west side of Oahu, exploring the island’s history and connection to the ocean. In “Land,” Chef Lee Anne Wong, owner of the Koko Head Café in Honolulu, visits farms and local markets on the islands to discuss local produce and culinary techniques. Wong will also be the airline’s Executive Chef beginning in June.


THE VIEW from the top

T Ethiopian’s content providers Inflight Audio and West Outdoor Interactive offer audio and video content as well as games on board its flights

In a major milestone, Ethiopian Airlines, Africa’s largest airline group, was awarded Skytrax 4-star certification in 2017 – and much more is to come, as the carrier’s CEO explains by MARY JANE PITTILLA


ewolde GebreMariam, Group CEO of Ethiopian Airlines, has a wide-ranging and ambitious plan for the African carrier. And much of it centers on the passenger experience, not just operations. “As stated in our strategic roadmap, Vision 2025, we envision becoming the leading aviation group in Africa by providing safe, market-driven and customer-focused passenger and cargo transport, aviation training, flight catering, MRO and ground services,” he tells PAX International. “We realize that customer satisfaction is a defining factor to realize our overall growth ambitions. That’s why we consider building the capacity of our employees, including our frontline customer service providers, as one of the pillars of Vision 2025, besides improving and expanding our fleet, infrastructure and technology.” With that in mind, the airline has expanded its Aviation Academy – which is now the largest in Africa – so as to provide world-class aviation training to its staff, including its cabin crew who serve customers on board. “And our efforts are bearing fruit,” he enthuses. “Just last year, we won Skytrax 4-star certification as a recognition of our commitment to continuously improve our customer service. But we are not complacent with what we have achieved so far. We will keep pushing the boundaries of service excellence towards achieving 5-star rating as soon as possible.” Cabin service is one area the airline is supremely focused on – and that includes providing a distinct sense of place. “As a customer-focused airline, we strive to provide the best customer experience possible for our passengers. We treat our customers with the best of Ethiopian hospitality.

REGIONAL REPORT “In Business Class, passengers will have a taste of Ethiopian culture with a range of Ethiopian dishes and our unique flat bread (injera). Ethiopian coffee is also served with cultural cups and coffee pots.“ Furthermore, the carrier has also designed a traditional clothing pattern, locally known as ‘tilet’, for the cabin partition on the upcoming 737 MAX, due to be delivered in July 2018. In addition, traditional scarfs, shawls and jewelry are also sold duty free on board their flights, he says. Food is an area in which a sense of place is evident. For Economy Class travelers, a selection of breakfast and lunch/dinner is offered, including appetizers, beverage and dessert. In Business Class, passengers enjoy a full breakfast including a selection of beverages, appetizers and meals. The lunch/dinner served in Business Class also contains a variety of salads, appetizers, main course and dessert, as well as a range of Ethiopian national dishes.

“We are not complacent with what we have achieved so far. We will keep pushing the boundaries of service excellence towards achieving 5-star rating as soon as possible.” And that’s not all, thanks to a partnership with a well-known Ethiopian chef. “To ensure best meal service for our customers, we have partnered with Ethiopia’s most popular cook, Chef Yohanis, who traveled around the world to learn the art of cookery,” explains GebreMariam. Ethiopian’s state-of the art inflight catering facility was officially inaugurated in October 2016. The G+1 In-flight Catering covers 11,500 square meters, encompassing the most modern operations and food processing area, fully-equipped with hitech cooking and bakery equipment, large capacity dishwashing and heavy-duty ice cube machines, hot kitchen, storage units,

cold rooms, stores, flow wrapping, loading bays, high lift trucks and vans, varieties of cooling facilities and a dedicated Halal kitchen. The new facility boosted Ethiopian’s meal uplift capacity to more than 100,000 meals per day, compared to the 36,000daily volume it produced previously. At the time of the inauguration, GebreMariam remarked: “This modern facility will significantly enhance our capacity of offering a wide variety menu of meal services to our esteemed customers – from the traditional staple injera to a selection of world cuisines: Chinese, Indian, Ottoman, Italian, Halal and many more. Moreover,

A look at the flat-bed seats offered on Ethiopian’s retrofitted 767-300s

Making strides in Cloud Nine In late 2017, Ethiopian retrofitted Its 767-300 fleet with flat-bed seats and Wi-Fi IFE. The newly refurbished airplane is fitted with new full flat-bed seats in Cloud Nine (Business Class), modern IFE with highresolution 17-inch screen and in-seat power outlets for inflight entertainment, lighting and other modern cabin products. Customers in the main cabin will also enjoy new seats, multiple channels of inflight audio and video entertainment accessible with their own mobile devices or tablets. Commenting on the retrofit, GebreMariam said at the time: “We have invested more than US$6 million to retrofit our 767-300 ER fleet, which will surely provide more choice and greater comfort to our customers. By December 2017, all our 767 fleet will be fitted with flat-bed seats in Cloud Nine with access to a range of video programming available for wireless streaming in all cabins. I would like to congratulate our engineering and maintenance team at Ethiopian MRO for the job well done and wish to pledge to our customers that we shall always strive to ensure their extra comfort every time they fly with us.” Ethiopian Airlines has currently deployed 92 of the youngest (five years average fleet age) and most modern fleet, with future plans to receive 19 A350-900s, four 787-900s and five Q400s.


60 s i nc e 1 9

REGIONAL REPORT Ethiopian Catering being one of our seven Strategic Business Units, it has well positioned itself to successfully accomplish its vision of becoming the most competitive and leading in-flight catering service provider in Africa, while maintaining highest service quality and safety standards.” Ethiopian Catering provides in-flight catering services for more than 240 Ethiopian daily departing flights, VIP and charter flights, as well as to Ethiopian customer airlines flying to Addis Ababa. Following its strategic partnership with other airlines, Ethiopian Catering is looking to extend its operation, opening other new facilities in Africa. Other more recent highlights for the airline include the launch of the Single African Air Transport Market, which GebreMariam describes as “a significant step towards creating an open sky for African airlines and boosting tourism,

Vision 2025, Ethiopian’s strategic roadmap, envisions the airline becoming the leading aviation group in Africa by providing safe, market-driven and customer-focused passenger transport, aviation training, flight catering, MRO and ground services, says Group CEO Tewolde GebreMariam


Ethiopian Airlines Ethiopian Airlines is the fastest-growing Airline in Africa. In its 70-plus years of operation, Ethiopian has become one of the continent’s leading carriers. Ethiopian commands the lion’s share of the pan-African passenger and cargo network, operating the youngest and most modern fleet to more than 100 international passenger and cargo destinations across five continents. Ethiopian’s fleet includes ultra-modern and environmentally-friendly aircraft such as A350, 787, 777-300ER, 777-200LR, 777-200 Freighter and Bombardier Q400 double cabin with an average fleet age of five years. Ethiopian is the first airline in Africa to own and operate these aircraft. Ethiopian is implementing a 15-year strategic plan called Vision 2025 that will see it become the leading aviation group in Africa with seven business centers: Ethiopian Express & Ancillary Services; Ethiopian International Services; Ethiopian Cargo Services; Ethiopian MRO Services; Ethiopian Aviation Academy; ET In-flight Catering; and Ethiopian Ground Services. Ethiopian is a multi-award winning airline registering an average growth of 25% in the past seven years.


“Ethiopian’s new facility boosted their meal uplift capacity to more than 100,000 meals per day, compared to the 36,000-daily volume it produced previously.” trade and growth for the continent. As a pan-African airline, we have been advocating for full liberalization of market access between African States, free exercise of traffic rights and elimination of restrictions in line with the Yamoussoukro Decision of 1999.” The other innovation for passengers is the launch of its brand new mobile application which enables customers to manage their travel process including booking, check-in, acquiring their boarding pass and checking flight status. The app is an innovative platform that seeks to improve its customer service even further. In a separate personnel initiative, the company recently installed an A350 flight simulator to train its trainee pilots to fly the cutting-edge A350 aircraft, six of which it is operating currently.

Turning to inflight entertainment, the airline’s content providers are Inflight Audio and West Outdoor Interactive companies. “We offer audio and video content as well as games on board our flights. The audio contents include different genres of globally popular music as well as instrumentals and Ethiopian music. Audio books are also among the audio materials passengers can enjoy on board our flights,” he says. The video content also covers different genres of movies, including for children. In addition to Hollywood movies, it also offers African, Hindi, European, Arabic, Brazilian and Chinese movies. Popular TV series are also included in the video content provided, and under the game category, more than 20 different games are offered.

REGIONAL REPORT Chinese New Year was celebrated with a traditional dish on THAI Airways




he month of February, a slow month for travel in most countries around the world, was nonetheless a busy one at THAI and a time for its catering arm in the capital city to show off its capabilities. With little fanfare, the airline and THAI Catering recognized two distinct holidays from separate corners of the world — Chinese New Year and Valentine’s Day — with a special selection of meals served from Bangkok for its passengers in Royal First Class and Royal Silk Class. The mid-February New Year celebrations called for traditional delights. For THAI Catering produces upwards of 80,000 meals per day


THAI Airways IPCL and its catering unit have the responsibility of handling not only the rich food culture of its own Kingdom but meeting the culinary desires of the many tourists and airlines that travel with them around the world

its passengers to Hong Kong, Taiwan and Mainland China on February 16, THAI served a combination of orange jelly and lukchup, a type of Thai dessert derived from marzipan. Two days before, passengers from Bangkok capped their meals with a tasty lychee and raspberry sphere with raspberry sauce and rose whipping cream. In another Valentine’s Day surprise, flights from Bangkok to Phuket were served glazed donuts from the U.S. chain Krispy Kreme. Such flexibility is an important tool for a catering unit that serves an Asian crossroads airport like Bangkok’s Suvarn-

abhumi Airport and handles meal request for airlines from China, Europe, India and Russia, all of them with distinct cuisines and demanding passengers. The caterer’s diversity and efforts to accommodate customers from the four corners of the world helped earn THAI the first Compass Award from the International Flight Services Association in Long Beach last fall. To meet the needs of their customers, the unit falls back on nearly 60 years of operation and experience in the Thai capital and now produces more than 80,000 meals per day for airlines from two bases in Bangkok and serves three airport restaurants. Additionally, THAI Catering produces a special line of sauces that have the authentic flavor demanded by people in a country with a distinctive and proud food culture. THAI Catering’s 90,000-square-meter unit at Suvarnabhumi is dedicated to meal production for THAI service and the airport’s 60-plus airline customers. A second 40,000-square-meter unit at the older Don Mueang International Airport prepares meals for THAI’s domestic service and several other airline customers. “In the future, we have a plan to expand our current capacity and construct a Chaing Mai new catering facility to serve more airlines that will come to Bang-

REGIONAL REPORT kok and Chiang Mai,” said Varangkana Luerojvong, THAI’s Managing Director Catering Department. THAI Catering also takes pride in its international certification and standards adherence from many governing bodies and associations, including the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and the World Health Organization, ISO ratings 9001-2015 and 14001 as well as quality, hygiene, safety and Halal certifications.

In the skies and in the streets

When THAI became concerned that the authentic flavor of its curry dishes served on homebound flights was not up to snuff, it sought a solution at home and developed a line of four traditional sauces under the brand name Eurng Luang. The sauces are available in red and green curries: Massaman, which is a rich and relatively mild Thai curry, and Panang, which is a red curry that is thick, salty and sweet, with a nutty peanut flavor. “We can say that Eurng Luang’s main

Passengers on a flight from Bangkok to Phuket were treated to donuts from the U.S. franchise Krispy Kreme

customers are airline caterers who wish to offer genuine Thai curries for their customers,” said Luerojvong. Even as THAI’s curries and meals take to the skies around the world, the airline has taken its flavors to the streets of Bangkok in the form of a food truck that

Varangkana Luerojvong THAI’s Managing Director Catering Department, left, receives the Compass Award from then-IFSA President Jane Bernier-Tran

The first food truck from THAI Catering took to the streets of Bangkok late last year


began serving customers in November of last year. “The purpose of developing this project was, primarily, to introduce our new semipremium menus as well as differentiate these new menus to the current ones,” said Luerojvong. The project is in its initial stages, and plans for this summer include appointing franchise representatives, with a larger vehicle capable of serving freshly cooked meals expected to launch by the end of this year. The menu aboard the THAI Catering food truck is diverse. Croque monsieur sandwiches are served alongside roast beef and barbecue pork ribs. A spicy minced pork called larb pak is on the menu along with international dishes like almond croissants and banana caramel cheese sticks. Other orders can be served in the sky. THAI is several years into a meal preordering program for its front cabin. Royal First Class passengers can pre-order their choice from menus currently offered for breakfast, lunch and dinner with Thai, Chinese and Western-style dishes such as chicken green curry with rice, Chinese roast duck, Lobster Thermidor, grilled fillet of beef Rossini, scallop Provençale and oven-roasted rack of lamb. In Royal Silk Business Class, the airline has launched a new selection of entrées prepared in Thai set menus called “Samrab,” which basically means “with rice.” THAI Catering developed a variety of dishes, each with different tastes, textures, colors and cooking methods. “This year we have done some minor changes in entrée plates for Business Class,” said Luerojvong. “Therefore, food services in Business Class will be re-plating.”

We are a privately-owned, customerfocused provider of exceptional passenger meals and retail meals and snacks for the world’s premier airlines and retail brands. Flying Food Group (FFG) has earned accolades and longtime customer loyalty with reliable, responsive service and superb quality products, flight-by-flight.

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Newrest rail customers can be found in Europe and Saudi Arabia

Gaining a new perspective Newrest will be coming to this year’s WTCE with new programs tapping into the latest inflight entertainment technology as well as two new inflight catering units serving customers in France and Colombia


oming off of a year that brought the company growth, development of new programs for its customers and some unexpected challenges, Newrest started 2018 with completed construction projects and new programs in place with the promise of turning emerging technologies into revenue streams in the aircraft cabin and passenger railroad cars. The company has built a reputation by offering a diverse range of services and a portfolio of customers unique to the catering industry. Visitors to this year’s World Travel Catering and Onboard Services Expo will know the company mostly for its air and rail catering operations as well as its onboard retail support. However, in other parts of the world, Newrest’s team of nearly 31,000 employees are supplying out-of-home food and related hospitality services for a wide range of markets from health and education facilities to oil, gas and mining sites. This multi-sector catering


approach spans 49 countries and grossed Newrest €1.807 billion (US$2.2 billion) in sales for 2016/17. Newrest maintains a business structure where its more than 300 managers own a total of 88.7% of the company. True to the collective nature of its ownership, a team of two chairs the company: Olivier Sadran and Jonathan Stent-Torriani. Jonathon Stent-Torriani

Toulouse, France, has been the company’s headquarters since its inception in 1996 and much of its business takes place in its home country and throughout Europe. “We foresee for the year ahead a continuity in the inflight catering development in Europe where we met a growth of 14.4% in 2016 and 2017,” Sadran tells PAX International. “South American and African Olivier Sadran




CATERING activity volumes have known a similar double-digit growth as well." Planners are also eyeing additional business opportunities in Europe, currently experiencing renewed growth in the travel industry. Sadran confirms that Newrest has established an innovation team within the company with the objective to look for innovative ways to provide clients with differentiation, sales and cost efficiency. “We are well aware of the changes occurring in onboard hospitality and consumption pattern shifts,” said Sadran. One of the ways that Newrest plans to offer services and training potential to customers will be through a new program called TRE3 . The first two letters of the program refer to “travel retail” while the third letter and exponent signifies a three-point approach that brings together equipment, entertainment and experience. Through TRE3, Newrest says it can provide sales approaches to airline and train catering, retail concessions and support services. The equipment phase of the program further assists customers by developing, designing and producing concepts for onboard services and adapting them to the individual corporate identity of their clients. The entertainment aspect makes use of emerging options for airlines through digital media, most prominently the bringyour-own-device (BYOD) systems that Newrest can adapt with software, content and applications. For this, the company took on a partner in the Netherlands-based AirFi, a maker of portable IFE systems that can be placed anywhere within an aircraft or a train. “Digital media [is] becoming a new way to generate additional revenues on board,” said Sadran. TRE³ works with AirFi to provide the clients with a total concept on board. Next to the onboard entertainment, TRE³ and AirFi have a full integration with the connected crew and AirFi box on board. This creates a new sales concept in the form of an “order from your seat” BYOD solution, said Sadran. The final leg of the company’s TRE3 program, experience, makes use of Newrest’s onboard program management teams with more than 20 years in onboard services, sales and supply. An important part of the company’s business is its rail catering operations that provide products in the cabin and in the stations around Europe and beyond. Newrest Wagon Lits customers include


Newrest partners with Netherlands-based AirFi for buy-on-board and crew functions

Eurostar, Thalys, SNCF, Austrian Railroads and Comboios de Portugal in Europe, plus Saudi Arabian Railways Organization among others. “We invested strongly in logistical support, marketing and onboard digital solutions,” said Sadran. Among the company’s developments for rail customers is a system where passengers can place online orders for meals. This “click and collect” system is aboard 600 trains and has resulted in a 20% increase in meal sales. The other technological advancement is an integrated point-of-sale (POS) solution that allows crew to accept the latest contactless payment systems, such as Apple Pay. This system is tablet-based and will host futures digital developments such as e-learning, crew portal, crew incentive and motivation. The products can be further integrated into the wireless entertainment systems that were available to rail operators late last year.

A summer setback

The seasoned management and staff at Newrest were no doubt put to the test this past summer when a mid-July fire swept through its inflight catering unit at Charles de Gaulle (CDG) airport in Paris. The overnight fire, traced to an electrical

source, caused no injuries but completely destroyed the facility, saving only the logistics center and truck fleet. Newrest convened a crisis management team with the goal of maintaining service to its customers. Production units at nearby Orly and Le Bourget airports were mobilized for support and the company leased another production unit from which they operated until Newrest opened a new facility in February 2018. Located in the town of Compans, the new catering facility is 7,500 square meters with 10 loading docks and with access of less than 15 minutes to the airport access at CDG. “We gratefully thank our clients and partners for the support brought to us during this difficult period,” said Sadran. “Newrest is convinced that this new facility, which combines within the same site our food and logistics activities, will be a great asset for the Group in order to deliver to our clients excellent service at an optimized and competitive cost.” The second unit inauguration took place under less challenging circumstances, across the ocean in the Zona Franca of Bogota, Colombia (BOG). The BOG inflight kitchen opened in February of last year at 2,100 square meters with a capacity of 12,000 meals per day.


Visit us at WTCE Hamburg 2018 10.-12. April 2018, Hall A – Stand 4D40 W W W. F R A N K E N B E R G . C O M




shore to


Flying Food Group is one year into a nationwide expansion of its catering units in the United States as demand and customers increase by RICK LUNDSTROM


y the end of the year, Chicagobased Flying Food Group (FFG) plans to put the finishing touches on a considerable expansion at catering units across the U.S. in an investment that surpasses US$150 million. The expansion is going on at nine catering units. The improvements range from small — a little more than 5,200 square feet at its unit in Kona, Hawaii – to the opening of a 96,000-square-foot dedicated airline catering facility at Los Angeles International Airport and a 70,000-square-foot kitchen at San Francisco International Airport by the end of this year. Several expansion projects, among them an airline catering unit in Kona, a retail products production facility in California and an addition at Liberty International Airport in Newark, were completed last year. Also set for completion this year is expansion in Honolulu and Kauai and additional square footage at units in Phoenix and Miami. Much of the expansion is designed to meet the increased demand from airline customers, but also for customers at FFG’s bustling retail sales division, which prepares parfaits, salads, sandwiches and boxed lunches for specialty coffee chains, grocery and convenience stores around the United States. The retail products are made in dedicated units and at FFG’s network of “hybrid” kitchens that house assembly lines for both airline and retail customers under the same roof.


FFG is now catering Qantas Airways from its station in Honolulu

Businesswise, FFG is coming off a year crete proof that a U.S.-based company can of brisk sales where revenue increased earn the loyalty and business of the world’s 12%. Nicolas Rondeau, Executive Vice leading global brands,” Rondeau said. President of Marketing and Sales at FFG, The growth of last year and the rest of said the company’s core catering custom- 2018 come as the year starts with increased ers — international airlines operating into competition within North America. Airthe United States — are driving the need line caterer dnata, for instance, recently for these expansions. announced plans to expand into Canada “We want to make sure we have the right (see page 50). And though 2017 saw consoltools to serve our customers and expand idation within the airline catering industry, with current customers in new markets,” Rondeau stated that, contrary to rumors, Rondeau tells PAX International. Among FFG was not for sale and again stated the the additional tools that FFG is amass- beliefs of the company’s founder, Sue Gin, ing is a fleet of airline catering high-lifts that competition is welcome and good for made by the German company DOLL airlines and their caterers. that are equipped with the latest safety equipment and accommodate new aircraft such as the A350 and 787. A large percentage of the new customer business for FFG’s catering division came from Asian airlines expanding operations in the U.S. market with greater frequencies and larger aircraft. In the past year, FFG picked up airline customers Japan Airlines at Kona, Scoot and Qantas in Honolulu, Air India at Washington Dulles International Airport and Xiamen Airlines at LAX. “FFG’s $150 million Nicolas Rondeau, Executive expansion program is conVice President of Marketing and Sales at Flying Food Group


Global focus,

local flavors gategroup’s Chief Commercial Officer Federico Germani takes a moment to share how he got into the airline catering business, and where he sees the business taking him


ow the largest onboard caterer in the world, gategroup has been making even more waves as of late with announcements ranging from partnerships with Virgin Australia, Norwegian and Asiana Airlines to a lift in revenue and EBITDA last year. Helping the company reach its business goals and increase customer satisfaction is Federico Germani, the company’s Chief Commercial Officer. PAX International spoke with Germani in February for insight into how the company continues to make waves in the onboard catering industry. PAX International: Can you give us a bit of background on where your career has taken you? Federico Germani: I am an industrial engineer, originally from Argentina. Early on I worked for IBM and then I did my MBA in Chicago at Northwestern University. I worked for McKinsey & Co. for a little over five years before I joined what at the time was LAN Airlines as the Vice President of Planning for their cargo business; I then became the Chief Operating Officer of LAN Cargo Global. In 2011, I was asked to run the integration office for the merger between LAN and TAM airlines, a deal that was executed in mid-2012. I stayed in Brazil for about six years finalizing the merger. My last position was Senior Vice President Services and Innovation [at LATAM], which basically covers all the customer touchpoints of the airlines, including call centers, global airport operations, inflight customer experience, catering, inflight retail and crew. Overall, I managed over 25,000 people in over 150 stations worldwide. From there, I moved to gategroup in October 2017. PAX: How was your transition to gategroup? Germani: The quality of the people and the management team at gategroup were some of the things that most attracted me


to the company. I worked in my previous jobs at LATAM for 14 years. I look forward to an equally great run at gategroup. For me, getting a new job after so many years was very exciting, though I enjoyed what I used to do at LATAM. At gategroup, I am learning every day – and also loving it.

Federico Germani, gategroup’s Chief Commercial Officer

PAX: What sort of things have you been learning? Germani: When you are on the airline side, you think you know about the [catering] business, when in fact you only know a little bit. In the airline industry we say we run a global business and the same is true for catering: our customers are everywhere. On this side, I think it is even more global because our customers are truly global. You basically have to travel around the world to meet with the management of the different airlines you work with. And that reflects my role because I have teams everywhere; I receive requests and emails 24/7 from around the world, so you really need to be organized. But one of my favorite parts is meeting the fantastic people working for the airlines, and having the opportunity to work with my talented colleagues around the globe to support them. gategroup has four Centers of Excellence (Innovation, Culinary, Retail and Technology), all of which support our global commercial operations. Take Culinary, for example: we are fortunate as we can leverage the experience and knowledge of our 400 top-rated chefs deployed locally where we operate, including chefs who have won multiple Michelin stars as a part of Servair’s Studio Culinaire. Our talented chefs use their expertise and time to develop meals that are served at 40,000 feet. And that is super important.

PAX: Can you talk about some of the innovations that gategroup has brought to the table? Germani: We have our Innovation Center of Excellence, and that is the one I am very close to because it is the one that is constantly adding innovation to the different elements of the onboard passenger experience. As you can imagine, running any inflight [service] is very complex – there are a number of processes and protocols that need to be followed by the crew, and these practices are designed to make sure everything runs very smoothly. This Innovation team is constantly interviewing passengers and following trends, and we have a proven method to bring innovations that, combined with our deep understanding of onboard protocols, are able to translate into something that the crew and airlines can really use to improve the passenger experience of their customers. Our other Centers of Excellence are Technology and Retail. These four groups of excellence work in a coordinated way, aiming to add value to the airlines by delivering new ideas with impeccable execution. For example, our MiniBarBox and Absolutely One onboard solutions are just two successful examples which were a result of our Center of Excellence and data-driven approach.


Improving Travel Experience


gategroup’s retail on board initiative, dubbed “From the aisle to your device,” puts the power of onboard purchases in the airline guest’s hands

PAX: What makes your relationship with your customers different? Germani: We are constantly running focus groups with passengers from all airlines, and the important thing is that we then share the results of our research with our airline customers. It is not something for us to keep, and this is something that is also very unique with gategroup in that we partner with our customers to build longterm relationships. We are very proud of having earned the trust of executives from airlines around the world, trust that we nurture every day by giving our best effort in delivering excellence, reliability and consistency to all services and products to our customers. It’s not only about developing the menus, and it’s not only about supporting the customer experience side. Each day, any large airline may have between 300 to 600 takeoffs at any given airport, and supporting that operation with on-time performance to ensure that the catering operation won’t delay any flight is very critical. PAX: What are some areas that the company is looking toward in terms of potential growth? Germani: We want to focus on growing in the emerging markets, particularly APAC and Latin America. Not that I am biased, but I find Latin America very exciting from a culinary point of view. Peru is famous for its ceviche, Argentina for its beef, Chile for its salmon, and Brazil for its tropical fruits and vegetables. And on top of that you have Chile and Argentina, which are two of the world’s largest wine producers. We are constantly working with the region’s airline teams in developing new and exciting menu offerings, and it is important not only for the Latin American airlines but for all international airlines that are flying into Latin America; for example, how we balance the local flavors


with what the [average] passenger coming from outside the region expects. And that mixture of cultures makes the culinary design very exciting – you may use a particular ingredient from the local region but you also may choose a condiment that comes from another region to give it some familiarity to the passenger from outside of the Americas. PAX: Can you speak to the Customer Experience function that you are managing and how that will affect your business? Germani: The Customer Experience function is one that we recently created, and the role of that team is something the industry was asking for: to provide a group of people who not only can understand and relate and bring innovation to the airline but are also able to execute it and bring it into reality. The innovation is worthless if it cannot be translated into real practices on board. It’s a unique group of individuals with mixed backgrounds who, with their real airline experience and large transformational projects expertise, are currently running several projects for many airlines around the world. PAX: What about your Retail on Board initiative? Germani: Retail is all about data. We are the largest retailer in the skies, and our innovative approaches resulted in retail on board revenues increasing by more than 100% over the past two years, reaching CHF 628 million in 2017. And we are growing strongly. Traditionally in retail on board, what you have is the crew pushing the trolley but also running the transaction. We have a project we are introducing as we speak that we are calling “from the aisle to your device,” the passenger’s smartphone; this way, the passenger will have more control of the experience. They will have access to the menu on their smartphone, be able to select the product or a combination of products they want to buy, and then they

will be able to pay on their device as well. This makes the experience much more on-demand and not just when the trolley happens to pass by their seat. It will also be much more enjoyable and efficient for the crew, allowing them to provide a different kind of service that is more personalized. This technology also allows us to capture enormous amounts of product and sales data which we will then use with very complex algorithms we have developed with different partners so we can better predict [the customer’s] next purchase. This will also allow us to optimize the load of the trolleys. Typically, if you have fresh food on board, one of the highest costs of the program is, due to differing food disposal regulations, throwing away unsold fresh food. With this data analysis, we are able to optimize the load of the cart and, predicting the behavior of the passengers on a specific route, we are able to load the right amount of fresh foods so that the program runs in a more efficient way. PAX: Time for a fun question: if you could travel anywhere you have yet to go, where would you choose? Germani: My dream, since I was very young, was to be in outer space. I would love to be able to orbit the planet. I don’t know if it will ever become a reality for the average citizen, but if it does and I am healthy when it happens, I would love to try because it is really one of my obsessions. PAX: That’s so interesting! Did your love of space inspire you to get into the airline industry? Germani: I don’t know. When I was younger I thought I was going to be a jet pilot and get into the air force, and later I ended up going into engineering. I guess you are drawn to things for different reasons, and I ended up very close to the airline industry. It wasn’t by design, really, but I love it. It’s such a fascinating industry – super challenging and so complex and it never stops. I feel very lucky to be so close to the airline business and on this side in particular, which is helping our customers design and deliver their best customer experience possible.

Creating Remarkable Experiences


Catering at the

crossroads by RICK LUNDSTROM

Executive Sous Chef Wang Dexiang prepared an Asian dish at EKFC

With airport capacity and airline activity both pegged for extensive growth, DXB’s sole dedicated flight caterer will be at the center of an important period in the UAE’s commercial aviation future


n August of last year, Emirates Flight Catering opened its doors to His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum and his entourage for a whirlwind tour of the 106,000 square meters of space in Dubai that houses meal preparation, a vast array of impressive automation and a busy staff that at full capacity numbers more than 11,000 employees.

Saeed Mohammed, CEO of Emirates flight Catering


During the tour, His Highness saw some of the caterer’s accomplishments over the past year, including the opening of the EKFC central commissary and baking facility called Skybake. Among the other highlights were the unit’s new in-house ice cream and pasta products, and a bakery that uses 3,300 tons of flour per year and produces nearly 100 unique food items. The sheer size of the complex, with the neighboring EKFC 1 and EKFC 2 facilities averaging 180,000 meals per day, is comparable to the scale of growth that is taking place across the emirate, where a new project of immense proportions seems to constantly be completed or planned for some point in the future. As more growth takes place in the commercial aviation sector, EKFC plans to expand its capabilities in the year ahead as DXB, its home airport, expects passenger numbers in 2018 to rise to more than 90 million. His Highness has no doubt sampled the cuisine produced by EKFC many times. As the sole caterer out of DXB, it has charge of all the VIP and VVIP aircraft

movements handled out of the airport. An entire division is dedicated to the operation of executive jet catering, and EKFC is in the final stages of developing technology through an online portal to handle these special flights. But even with the luxury of operating as the sole catering unit at one of the fastestgrowing and dynamic aviation hubs in the world, EKFC CEO Saeed Mohammed stresses to his employees that they should take no customer or business for granted. “Yes, we are a single-source supplier,” he told PAX International during a December visit to the unit. “But the way I as a CEO look at my employees, [I] treat them and ask them to behave like any competitor in the market would behave.” Saeed takes comfort in the letters of appreciation he gets from EKFC’s many airline customers at DXB. He also closely follows the demands that passengers are now placing on the quality of onboard dining and the critical part food is playing in travelers’ decision-making processes and how it affects his customers. “We cannot in any way start giving people only what’s acceptable. You have to go beyond that. You have to be better than the others,” he stressed. EKFC can trace its history of supplying airlines back to the mid-1970s when its

CATERING Chocolatiers are an important part of the EKFC kitchen staff

an average 180,000 meals per day. At capacity, the complex can produce up to 220,000 meals per day. But numbers alone do not tell the complete story of the unit’s capabilities or priorities, as Saeed explained. “There is an increased focus on food security, within our own production and supply units and with Salmon being prepared in the EKFC hot kitchen

first incarnation was born under the name Abela Dubai Flight Catering, formed by one of the pioneers of the industry in the Middle East, Albert Abela. The Emirates Group’s dnata division stepped in six years later and the facility changed its name to dnata – Abela. By the late 1990s, growth in the emirate was gaining momentum and dnata – Abela was producing approximately 21,000 meals per day.

Emirates Flight Catering opened in 2003, and shortly after that the company opened the doors to its Food Point food manufacturing facility and Linencraft laundry business. The EKFC 1 unit, catering to Emirates Airlines’ fleet, opened in 2007 with a capacity of 115,000 meals per day. Now, across its facilities bordering Dubai International Airport it produces  |  PAX INTERNATIONAL  |  47


PAX International Publisher Aijaz Khan (left) visited Emirates Flight Catering in December. He is shown here with EKFC CEO Saeed Mohammed (center) and Faysal Moufarrej Senior Vice President Airport Catering Services

our suppliers,” he said. The operation has significant X-ray technology monitoring incoming and finished goods, and quality controls are always being monitored and improved. In the past year, Saeed said EKFC has also been looking at efficiencies and focusing on a safer workplace for employees. “We are looking at increasing our investments in smarter high-loaders going to the aircraft — and [not] simply more, but smarter equipment to manage simple tasks, where we remove guesswork on weight and cooking time, but importantly maintain the attention to detail we’re known for. “People are passionate about food and what they are served on board influences passenger satisfaction, primarily with the airlines – our customers. Therefore, we need to balance operational improvements with maintaining our focus on creativity and that touch of quality that only comes from skilled chefs.” With such equipment and practice innovations in place, Saeed said there is an ongoing reduction of employee exposure to hazards, which in turn improves output, safety and customer and employee satisfaction.

like the United Arab Emirates executives must think about and plan for future growth, which appears all but inevitable. Flag carrier Emirates recently announced an order for 36 more A380s valued at US$16 billion, with deliveries of the big jet starting in 2020. With a backlog of 41 aircraft, the new order will one day bring the Emirates fleet of A380s to 178. Some of the latest order will be earmarked for replacements of aircraft now in service. The scope of the order brings into sharp focus the emirates’ plans for additional expansion. Starting this year, Dubai’s Al Maktoum International Airport (DWC) is scheduled for an expansion project that will continue until 2025 at its location near Jebel Ali. According to reports, the low-cost carrier flydubai will move

Planning for DWC

Even as EKFC carries out daily activities, as with any business operating in a region Mezze appetizers bound for premium cabin service


its operation to DWC, with Emirates slated to take up residency at the facility in 2025. At that time, Dubai will take its place among the elite crossroads in the world, handling an estimated 146.3 million passengers per year. If the plans pan out, Saeed said EKFC would be ready. “We have the plan set, but growth into Dubai will be based on other airlines moving here,” he said. “Our investment is going to be approximately a billion [US] dollars, taking into account everything from production to logistics and technology.” At this time, he said EKFC is looking to secure commitments from Emirates and other players and work with them on a timeline for completion and relocation. There are also other considerations, includ-

CATERING ing the distance from DWC and a desire to minimize the environmental footprint that the massive project would produce. For now, EKFC will eye the future while continuing to deliver the diverse cuisine and service that has earned it recognition across the industry. An ongoing task is to continue to raise the profile of the industry and exactly what goes into airline catering – the unique ingredients EKFC sources from across the globe, Michelin-starred chefs and a neverwavering eye for improvement. In a place like the Middle East, high-quality service is expected of all the competing airlines. “That’s a challenge we relish – helping all our customers reach new heights and drive passenger satisfaction. “While passengers interact with the airline, as an industry we [caterers] can tell our story – through sharing content and experiences with customers, passengers and suppliers, innovating alongside our airline partners and always investing in capability.” Saeed stressed to PAX International: “People, passengers and innovation will take us to a different level.”

Appetizers undergo a critical food safety check before completion  |  PAX INTERNATIONAL  |  49




Vancouver International Airport will be the next location for dnata’s catering division, and the Dubai-based caterer is clear that North American expansion is in its sights by RICK LUNDSTROM Worldwide, dnata produces more than 320,000 meals per day at its 64 airline catering operations


n airline caterer and an airport, both with bold expansion plans, found common ground earlier this year as Vancouver International Airport (YVR) announced it will be welcoming dnata to its fold of airline caterers. The announcement was made in late February that YVR had selected the Dubaibased caterer to join gategroup and CLS, a partnership between Cathay Pacific Catering and LSG Group, to see to their airlines’ food service needs. Planners at YVR began the search for an additional caterer for the airport a year ago after assessing market conditions related to inflight catering, issuing a Request for Expressions of Interest and finally a Request for Proposals last year. With the approval, dnata is moving ahead with a 48,000-square-foot unit located 10 minutes from the tarmac. This move will mark the 13th country in which dnata now has catering operations, but the company is no stranger to Canada and plans to not be a stranger to other parts of North America for much longer. Though it will be the first airline catering unit for dnata in Canada, the company


had a foothold in the country for the past three years. Cargo and ground handling vehicles from dnata currently operate at YYZ, an airport dnata entered following their agreement in 2016 with Canada’s GTA Aviation to purchase a 50% stake in its cargo and ground handling operations at Lester B. Pearson International Airport in Toronto. “We are building to a scale and level of efficiency that will allow us to serve a significant proportion of the market,” said Robin Padgett, Senior Vice President of dnata’s airline catering division. The catering unit is currently being fitted out and the company is scheduled to begin operations in the fourth quarter of this year. The company plans to spend approximately CAD$7 million (US$5.45 million) on the unit. The YVR kitchen will be dnata’s 64th airline catering unit in its worldwide network and comes on the heels of an opening in January at Dublin Airport. The Dubaibased Emirates Group, parent company of dnata, has expanded considerably through acquisitions of companies like Alpha Flight Catering, which was established in 58

airports when dnata acquired it, including operations in Australia. Having established a strong reputation Down Under, dnata is now bringing all the catering units in Australia under the dnata brand. Only UAE and the U.S. remain Alpha-branded, with the latter likely to be rebranded shortly. Approximately 66% of dnata’s business is conducted outside the United Arab Emirates, according to the company, and worldwide it now prepares more than 320,000 meals per day from its operations. With the expanding network, dnata see synergies between its customer base and the opportunity to establish broader, exclusive contracts, said Padgett. “YVR connects directly to a number of airports we already cater at,” said Padgett, “which opens potential opportunity to serve our customers at both ends. “We think we can bring a level of culinary capability and attention to detail that would be appreciated by carriers departing YVR.” That number of carriers will only grow if the airport’s plans pan out. At the beginning of 2017, YVR unveiled a

CATERING plan that includes expanded terminals, new taxiways, a “geoexchange system” and upgraded roads and bridges. Dubbed “Flight Plan 2037,” the airport’s governing authority plans to spend CAD$5.6 billion (US$4.36 billion) to build an airport infrastructure that will handle an estimated 35 million passengers per year by 2037 and firmly establish the airport as an important hub connecting Asia and the Americas. “This plan is built to provide for the long-term capacity needs at YVR while meeting and enhancing our sustainability

goals and ensuring we build in an incremental fashion,” said Craig Richmond, President and CEO of the Vancouver Airport Authority, in the January 2017 announcement of Flight Plan 2037. YVR is the second-busiest airport in the country and funneled an estimated CAD$11.7 billion (US$9.11 billion) into the Canadian economy, according to YVR planners. Last year, YVR served 24.2 million passengers, and there are currently 56 airlines operating into the airport that fly to 127 nonstop destinations.

The growth plans for YVR mesh perfectly with dnata’s plans to find new locations in a new region, said Padgett. dnata also recently announced an agreement to acquire 121 Inflight Catering, a New York-based commercial and VIP inflight caterer with equally lofty growth plans. “We are exploring other exciting opportunities in North America and think we can bring a level of culinary expertise and creativity to the region that airlines and their passengers would appreciate. "Watch this space," Padgett advises.

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their attention

In conjunction with their 70th anniversary, TAP Air Portugal released a retrostyled bag and matching cabin crew uniforms

We reached out to Simon Ward, industry expert and founder of the annual TravelPlus Airline Amenity Awards, to give us the lowdown on limited-edition collectible amenity kits that have recently caught his eye and to share what makes them stand out


y fascination with onboard amenity kits started in the ‘90s when I was working for a major international Telco based in Washington, DC. Most weeks I would be on board flying between Europe, the Americas and Asia. It was a time when the smoking ban on airlines had just been introduced, blankets and pillows waited for you on your seat and your Bloody Mary came with a celery stick. Contrast that with today, when you need to request comfort items and a Bloody Mary is served only with a pepper packet. (Okay – not in all classes!) Many of my flights were on British Airways, due to their air miles program, and I fondly recall those Molton Brown kits, a partnership that provided the skincare company a platform that helped their global expansion into the U.S. and Asia. Most amenity kits during the 1990s were comprised of a zip-up wash bag in a drab color. Very soon the excitement and novelty of receiving these gifts dissolved and I found myself leaving them on my seat as I exited the plane.


Thankfully for passengers today this is no longer the case, with many of the world’s airlines launching new kits every three to six months and providing passengers with a wide variety of designs and colors. Over the past 18 months airlines have started to embrace the cherished kit as more of a celebratory opportunity, introducing kits that mark airline anniversaries, the launch of a new route or aircraft, or even an aircraft’s retirement. Kits have also been introduced on board to mark key events like the Dubai 2020 Expo, Oktoberfest and the World Cup. In 2017, airlines even marked Breast Cancer Awareness Month by introducing limited-edition pink kits. What follows is a list of a few of my personal favorite limitededition kits from the past 12 months. During your travels, which ones have stood out to you the most?


United’s limited-edition “Queen of the Skies” amenity kit celebrated the retirement of the 747 and included a collectible set of 747 trading cards

Products from New York’s The Laundress were featured heavily in Singapore Airline’s 70th anniversary kit

TAP Air Portugal

Last year TAP Air Portugal celebrated 70 years of experience, excellence and service by introducing a holistic “retro” concept based on the company’s past. Their airplanes were branded in a TAP retro design, and the hostesses and flight attendants wore ‘70s-style uniforms designed by Louis Féraud. At the same time, TAP also introduced a retro style-amenity kit. A cotton canvas bag with leather applications was gifted to all passengers traveling in TAP’s Executive Class on all retro-branded flights and contained a number of traditional cosmetic brands and items from Portugal. In this case, TAP had to go back in time to create an authentic retro version of an amenity kit while at the same time satisfying their modern customers, explained Wolfgang Bücherl, Managing Director at skysupply, who added that they were very excited about the result and hope for “many more returns.”

Singapore Airlines

To celebrate Singapore Airlines’ 70th anniversary, a limitededition amenity kit was gifted to Suites, First Class and Business Class passengers, in collaboration with The Laundress, a New York-based company that specializes in an eco-friendly line of detergent, fabric care and home cleaning products. The inspiration for this amenity kit was Singapore Airlines’

hope to cater to their passengers’ needs beyond the flight. The amenity kit featured a collection of handy items that would ease their guests’ stress and make their journey fuss-free, even after they had left the comfort of the aircraft. In addition to The Laundress’ best-selling items, the kits also included products such as lip balm, hand cream, hand sanitizer and a loofah in convenient travel sizes for passengers to keep with them for use on their future journeys. Two versions of the limited-edition amenity kits were available on selected flights for a limited period.

United Airlines

United’s gray, collectible first-class amenity kits were released to celebrate their history with the Boeing 747. These kits contained everything travelers need to arrive at their destination feeling refreshed and revitalized with fun, collectible 747 mementos found inside, too. The kit contents paid homage to the “Queen of the Skies” with several branded components, including socks and a padded eye mask. There was also a set of 747 trading cards included, giving frequently flying customers a chance to collect all 15. United partners with Cowshed, the premium spa and lifestyle brand of Soho House, to offer high-end skincare products in their amenity kits. These products are made in England from the best in organic, wild-crafted and fair-trade plant extracts.  |  PAX INTERNATIONAL  |  53


Qantas, in collaboration with Oroton and Australian Artists Craig & Karl, offered Business Class customers a limited-edition amenity kit exclusively on its Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft. Featuring a black embossed print on Oroton’s trademark highquality kit, each section of the artwork is a nod to a different part of the Australian landscape and the cultural icons of the country. It includes a wraparound eye mask bearing the same Craig & Karl design as featured on the kit, as well as ASPAR skincare products, socks, a dental kit and earplugs. This special limited-edition kit is an extension of the “Qantas Curates” Business Class amenity program, comprised of 16 unique kits featuring leading Australian artists who specialize in a variety of different styles including pop culture, photography, fine art, abstract landscape, indigenous art and textile design.

Each section of the artwork on Qantas’ kits represent a different part of the Australian landscape and the cultural icons of the country


The six amenity kits released by Emirates to celebrate Expo 2020 Dubai feature bold colors and designs that reflect the subthemes of the event

The faux-leather heart-shaped Oktoberfest amenity kits from Lufthansa reflect the celebratory side of German culture


Emirates introduced special-edition Economy Class amenity kits featuring print patterns inspired by Expo 2020 Dubai. Emirates are a Premier Partner of the first World Expo in the region, and these six new amenity bags celebrate this landmark occasion. Expo 2020 Dubai’s main theme, “Connecting Minds, Creating the Future,” provides a platform to foster creativity, innovation and collaboration. Emirates have captured the collaborative spirit of the Expo in their amenity kit designs, with each kit representing one of the subthemes of the Expo. Passengers can collect all six water-resistant kits and place them side-by-side to create one complete image. The reusable kits are filled with travel essentials to help the passengers arrive feeling refreshed at their destination. Guests are encouraged to reuse the kit bags as travel wallets, device protection covers or make-up pouches.


The Lufthansa Oktoberfest kits for First and Business Class reinforced the popularity of the Wiesn (the typical colloquial name in Germany for the Oktoberfest) and simultaneously embraced the fun, celebratory side of German culture. The designers were inspired by gingerbread confections when creating the heart-shaped kits, which have the typical blue-andwhite patterns of the Bavarian flag as inner linings. The First Class kits are made of ultra-soft and smooth fauxleather and were available in gray for ladies and beige for gentlemen. They are zip closed with an embossed edelweiss flower tag as an additional detail. The Business Class kit is made with a felt fabric and metallic imitation leather as an accent. It has an embroidered edelweiss flower on the front and, like the First Class kit, is closed by a zipper. It’s small enough to hang onto a belt, but roomy enough to carry some Oktoberfest necessities, making it perfect for going right from the plane to the festivities. Every detail of the kits was selected to create an emotional connection with Lufthansa’s passengers. They are fun, multifunctional, and available for a limited time only.


Delta Air Lines

In 2017, Delta Air Lines released a purple amenity kit in support of the American Cancer Society

Delta released special-edition kits to support the airline’s fundraising efforts for cancer research. In October 2017, many items in Delta One’s TUMI amenity kits were updated to a pink hue to support Breast Cancer research, and in May 2017 contents were purple for one month to support fundraising for the American Cancer Society. Qatar Airways partnered with BRIC’s for this beautifully hued pink amenity set, released in recognition of Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Qatar Airways

Qatar Airways has also shown similar support for worthwhile causes. To promote Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Qatar made an amenity kit available for the entire month of October with stylish Italian luggage brand BRIC’s, designed as miniature versions of their Bellagio and Sintesis suitcases. The amenity kits featured a hard shell with Tuscan leather trim and were presented in a carefully selected “Rose Pompadour” pink color, a shade prized for its vivacity and beauty. They contained matching pink accessories plus skin care from Castello Monte Vibiano Vecchio and were available to men and women in First and Business Class on long-haul flights throughout the month. The TravelPlus Airline Amenity Awards ceremony will take place on the evening of Tuesday, April 10, 2018, in the Helmut Schmidt Auditorium at the Bucerius Law School in Hamburg.

Albéa looks to the future of amenities Albéa, a longstanding name in the cosmetics packaging market, is looking toward the future of the amenity kit in several notable ways. The company’s Travel Designer department has a unique positioning, according to Corinne Brand, Director of Airlines Activity at Albéa, as it has been working with airlines for 13 years. “We understand what makes our customers unique: their heritage, background, brand values and brand DNA,” Brand explains to PAX International. Albéa achieves the goals of its clients while also focusing on sustainability, utilizing materials that are eco-friendly, made from recycled materials and are Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) certified. The company has also worked to build a network of reliable and audited partners, according to Brand. “For the latest Air France Business Comfort kit, some accessories are made from corn starch, such as the toothbrush, comb and shoehorn,” Brand adds. Providing customization has also been a growing strategy for Albéa. Their two-year-old Mix&Match online configurator provides a playful, fun and user-friendly way for clients to make the perfect packaging for their product in more than 3,000 combinations, plus the option to personalize with logos and other branding elements. Mix&Match is ideal for time-to-market as it provides speedy configurations, 3D views and requests for pricing, making it a good fit for small, medium, heritage or indie brands, Brand notes. For more on Albéa’s offerings, visit stand 1A50 at WTCE. — Rachel Debling 56  |  PAX INTERNATIONAL  |  MARCH/APRIL 2018

In addition to eco-friendly accessories, Albéa’s Air France Business Class amenity kits contain Clarins comfort products such as moisturizing cream and lip balm

How do you solve all your product and service inconsistencies across your network?


Product and service solutions to anywhere in the world. Since our beginnings 15 years ago, En Route has travelled millions of miles both figuratively and logistically. Starting in the UK, sourcing and distributing premium baked goods, we have grown into a full-service solutions provider in the travel food industry with operations in the USA, UK, UAE and Australia. Throughout the course of our journey, we have continually provided customers with innovative, problem-solving products and services.

One of our key strengths is our ability to standardise perfectly tailored, high-quality products across our clients’ networks. This is achieved through a robust supply chain managed by our in-house Logistics team. Our in-house New Product Development and Creative teams thrive on developing travel optimised solutions in line with current trends, whilst at the same time actively setting the standards for new ones. Upcoming trends that are presently revolutionising the way passengers view dining in the travel industry include: • Snacking and sharing foods such as afternoon tea and tapas • Healthy focused, ‘free from’ and protein power food • Environmentally friendly packaging • Disposable/biodegradable vs rotable tray sets • New focus on high-street retail, food-on-the-move

“One of our key strengths is our ability to standardise perfectly tailored, high-quality products across our clients’ networks.” We pride ourselves on our transparent, collaborative approach and the ability to offer an agile service through our global, multi-temperature distribution platform. This way, we ensure consistency in quality across local, regional and global networks and seamlessly distribute 2,000 pallets of ambient, chilled and frozen products by road, sea and air to 100 locations worldwide every month. In the upcoming months, there will be a range of new and exciting products available to the travel industry exclusive to En Route. Want to know more or set us a challenge? Contact the team in any of our regional offices, visit us at or even better come and see us at WTCE 2018.

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COMPANY PROFILE A look at the new Vector seat from HAECO

Filling the blank canvas Whether it is the company’s specialty airline seating or any other touchpoint in the passenger experience, airlines have turned to the designers at Acumen Design Associates to find inspiration in the details by RICK LUNDSTROM


hen United Airlines was designing the products for its Polaris front cabin service, it turned to cabin products giant Zodiac Aerospace to make the new seating that is now flying passengers in comfort over the great oceans of the world on the airline’s 787s, A350s and 777s. However, behind the airline’s new cabin layout was a patented invention from one of the United Kingdom’s well-known design companies, whose ideas gave the airline’s Polaris cabin its unique features. That company, Acumen Design Associates, has earned a reputation for original thinking in airline seating design. Designers and associates at the firm know that as important as seating is, it is only one part of a greater image that airlines must maintain from their lounges to the cabin if they want passengers to remember their experience. Another recent collaboration took place with seat maker HAECO. The company wanted to give its Vector lines a more contemporary look without changing the engineering. Acumen developed features for the seat like the patented Arc™ headrest, made with a high level of articulation and a dress cover upholstery that looks smooth in all positions. To come up with the design, Acumen mined the expertise of specialists in luxury automobiles. Last year, Cathay Pacific Airways took delivery of the first of the newly designed Vectors in an order of 25 shipsets for its A350-1000s. Perhaps less heralded, but by no means less important, Acumen’s latest project with VT Volant is already being hotly pursued by some of the world’s leading airlines following its launch this month. The ‘iki’


washroom interior (Japanese for simplicity and sophistication) is set to transform the lavatory areas across all classes for the global 777 fleet. Anthony Harcup, Acumen’s Associate Director, and Catherine Barber, the company’s Brand Development Manager, spoke with PAX International in early March over the telephone from the company’s design studio in London. Harcup and Barber talked about what they were seeing in the aircraft interiors sector and the demands of creating a passenger experience that starts in the nose of the aircraft and runs to the tail – and in some cases even beyond the confines of the airplane. Like many in the industry, Harcup says he’s seeing a sea change in the modern Business Class cabin. “The differential between Business Class and First Class has narrowed to the point of being negligible,” he said. Features such as full privacy doors in First Class will soon become more common in Business Class, he predicted, which has lately been outfitted for more privacy and comfort. Airline customers of the future will also be coming to companies like Acumen Design Associates to give a refined look to parts of their narrow-body fleet as well. Harcup said the “blank canvas” of the future would be narrowbody aircraft such as the A320 and 737 MAX pressed into longer-haul service.

However, that “canvas” can be found throughout the aircraft, and airlines are anxious to put their mark on just about every element. Lavatories and galleys also cry out for design solutions as passengers spend more time up and about the aircraft, mingling and grazing on snacks or making their way from the airline’s elegant lounges to their seats, said Barber. She said it is also important that a premium passenger sees the attention to detail from the lounge to their seat. “If you have to walk to a very industrial [galley] before you get to your seat, you break that link,” she said. At any point, Barber said passengers might take out their telephones and snap pictures that are immediately sent to friends and family. This practice has changed the way airlines view the front cabin. Since its inception in 1981, Acumen has been responsible for some of the most important cabin design breakthroughs in the industry, including The Residence, First Apartments and Business Studio and First Class Suites for Etihad Airways. It also worked to develop the Aura Business Class seat that is part of the Boeing 787 catalog as well as the being the inventor of the first lay-flat bed – the Bed in the Sky – on board British Airways in 1996. Having worked on more than 40 full design programs for the world’s biggest airlines, the industry awaits the launch of Acumen’s next ground-breaking design. Aircraft interior specialist VT Volant worked with Acumen on this lavatory design


Drinks ahoy by RACHEL DEBLING

Keeping guests happily hydrated in flight is easier than ever with the latest in coffee, tea and non-alcoholic beverage offerings that are as easy to serve at 40,000 feet as on the ground


hough it may feel as though cocktail and wine offerings get all the glory in any discussion of inflight beverages, non-alcoholic drinks have recently begun to reclaim their spot in the sun. Caffè di Artisan has been making headway in the competitive inflight coffee category by putting a proprietary spin on an home kitchen favorite: coffee pods. Winner of the 2016 Mercury Award for Ultimate Food Tech Disruption as well as Best New Product Worldwide at the 2017 WTCE, their single-serve coffee pods deliver café-quality coffee with just the addition of hot water. Lattes and other handcrafted beverages can also be created

The single-shot liquid pod design that Caffè di Artisan is known for has recently caught the eye of several potential customers


on board with the addition of milk and a frother in 60 seconds flat. The benefit of their design isn’t just a high-quality coffee delivered in the face of typical galley constraints – namely available space, weight restrictions and tight turnaround times. It also provides a solution to another catering concern: cleanliness. Coffee machines are hypothesized to be among the most germ-riddled appliances in the home, a theory that was confirmed by a 2015 study published in the journal Nature. Caffè di Artisan solves this problem with single-serve containers that are easy to store and prep. “Currently, airlines are using either coffee machines, which cost money [and]

The latest coffee offerings from Finnair celebrate a delicious tradition of the company’s homeland

cleaning and maintenance time apart from breeding germs, or instant, soluble coffee, both of which result in low-quality coffee up in the air,” explains Aakaar Gandhi, Business Development and Special Projects at Caffè di Artisan. They even offer a version of their product with a higher ambient shelf life of six months or more for clients who require this characteristic. While their products are now being served by private jet operators around the world, Caffe di Artisan is looking to expand into the commercial airline space. In fact, when they spoke to PAX International earlier this year, the company was in talks with three major airlines in Europe, Asia and the Middle East and they are hoping to seal a deal with one airline in particular in the next quarter. And they aren’t only looking to the skies – the company’s products have piqued the interest of cruise companies and rail operators around the Americas and Europe. Finnair is also showing their guests a different side of coffee. In February the carrier treated their Business Class passengers on inbound flights from Seoul, Tokyo and Shanghai to “Kahvikutsut,” a coffee served with treats like Karelian pies, cinnamon buns, coffee cake and traditional Finnish chocolates. And others are showing that the benefits of hot beverages can extend far beyond entertainment, refreshment and simple hydration. On March 24, Qantas

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FOOD AND BEVERAGES Airways introduced a new menu on their 787 Dreamliner Perth to London route that includes a bespoke herbal tea developed by Dilmah Tea with sleep-promoting ingredients such as lemongrass and lemon verbena chamomile. They have also released new tummy-taming bottled options as part of this menu, including cold-pressed probiotic drinks from Botanica and kombucha, a fermented tea served cold, from Remedy. But what about chilled options? Look no further than Coca-Cola, a name synonymous on earth with refreshment and a reign that extends to the skies as well. Millions of airline passengers enjoy about a billion servings of their beverages annually, estimates David Conley, Vice President, Strategic Partnership Marketing at Coca-Cola North America. “We have long-standing relationships with our airline partners,” explains Conley. “Delta and Coca-Cola’s partnership began in 1927 and was strengthened in 1941 when Delta moved its headquarters to Atlanta, the hometown of The Coca-Cola Company. The first United Airlines flight to serve Coca-Cola was the San FranciscoHonolulu run in 1947. Coca-Cola and SouthWest Airlines have been partners since 1971.” These well-established relationships with airlines across the globe are valued by Coca-Cola as a brand and help them to further cement their prominence in the beverage realm. “Our airline partnerships enable us to connect our brands with millions of diverse travelers worldwide,” continues Conley. “We know our brands don’t make the travel experience, but we believe they enhance the experience.” Ready-to-drink teas and coffees are also emerging more and more in the skies, a category that Coca-Cola is happy to explore. For instance, low-cost airline Allegiant Air serves Dunkin’ Donuts Ready-ToDrink Iced Coffee, which is produced and distributed by Coca-Cola and its bottling

partners. Coca-Cola is the global leader in RTD coffee, Conley notes. Much like carriers, waste is a large concern to Coca-Cola, and the company has plans to address the issue over the course of the next 12 years. Coca-Cola’s President and CEO, James Quincy, announced in January of this year that they would be collecting and recycling the equivalent of every bottle or can the company sells internationally by 2030. To meet this goal, Conley says, the company is actively working toward making all of its packaging completely recyclable and, along with its bottling partners, aims to make bottles with an average of 50% recycled content. Their efforts can already be seen in the beverage landscape: more than 99% of their packaging is fully recyclable and more than 25% of their PET plastic in the U.S. is now in PlantBottle™ packaging, which is made with up to 30% plant-based materials and is still fully recyclable, just like traditional PET plastic. Other large players in the beverage domain have an equal amount of respect for the possibilities that onboard catering holds. Nestlé, the largest food company in the world, is served internationally to passengers in every class. While they declined to provide airline sales numbers to PAX International, they did reinforce their commitment to the industry with the following

As part of their commitment to the environment, Coca-Cola bottles their Dasani line of drinks in packages that are up to 30% plant-based yet still recyclable


Qantas Airways is serving a variety of healthpromoting drinks as part of the new menu on their 787 Dreamliner Perth to London route, including probiotic drinks from Botanica

statement: “Nestlé Professional provides innovative products and out-of-home food and beverage services to various partners worldwide including airlines. We work with airlines that care about quality and taste and who offer creative food and drink solutions. As consumers become aware of trends and their service expectations rise, our airline partners also reciprocate appropriately. We are fully committed in helping our partners achieve their ambitions to enhance standards. We promise to deliver and bring value to our customers in terms of brand relevance, quality and operational efficiency.” Sumptuous wines and easy-to-prep cocktails, like gateretail’s recently introduced MiniBarBox, will certainly continue to help elevate airline passengers' journeys. But for those who choose to teetotal, it’s clear that airlines around the world are stepping up to ensure they have just as many exciting, invigorating (or relaxing) options as their imbibing seatmates.

GUEST COLUMN The Mercury Award statues still bear a striking resemblance to the first ones distributed 36 years ago

Making the

Mercury Awards Mercury finalists and winners 2017: A behind-the-scenes view from resident judge Jeremy Clark


t’s only when you see how nervous the presenters are as they begin their 20 minutes of make-or-break presentation time that you understand what the Mercury Awards really mean to them. As one of the six judges on that panel, I can tell you that every single applicant is given the same respect by all. Attention is very closely paid to everything said, difficult questions are asked and no one leaves until all of us have what we need to make the proper decisions. That’s why those 20 minutes on stage are so often overrun – much to the frustration of our organizers who plead for a strict timetable! But there is a lot at stake here. We are about to decide who walks away with a valuable gold-plated statuette that represents the pinnacle of achievement. It’s our reputation on the line as well as theirs, and the independence of the new Mercurys under SIAL Middle East underpins the value of this recognition by the industry. Our 36th edition, held in December 2017, saw a big increase in the number of entries as we reintroduced judging sessions in London. Such was the success that plans are to extend this and look at locations


elsewhere for regional sessions. The Mercurys are an award in which we still insist on meeting the people and touching, seeing, tasting and experiencing the product in a live environment. It’s the only way to get a really close look at what is being presented and to have a proper Q&A with the contestents to give them the chance to explain why they think they should win. It may be inconvenient and it may cost more, but it is what the Mercurys stand for so that will never change. Our panel will also always be a collection of experts and independents with many years of experience and overall knowledge. So now that you have some idea of the behind-the-scenes setting, let’s take a look at the results. Winning for Airline Meal – Premium Class was Perth Inflight Catering and their “Seasons of Western Australian Seafood.” It was a close run against the next highest score in this category from THAI Airways with their magnificent Sumrub meal, a beautifully presented range of Thai dishes built around this very traditional concept. However, Perth Inflight pipped them at the post with an outstandingly

well thought-through choice of items and by paying full attention to locally sourced, healthy provenance and applying interesting twists and re-inventions to traditional recipes. Their redesigned fish and chips with a stuffed potato and pea puree was particularly innovative. The panel was also impressed by their costing mechanism, allowing for a constant price to be maintained over the four rotations. The Gingen Ginger Tea from Al Rabia Al Diam F&B might seem a surprising choice for winner of the Beverage class, but there are many teas served on aircraft and most convenience types taste like reconstituted tea. This product was a world apart, almost indistinguishable from fresh ginger tea made from the root. The product is all-natural and additive- and sugar-free. Radnor Hills was highly commended for Fruella, a first-class tasting product made exclusively for the airline market that is lightly pasteurized to maintain its best quality and is also completely additive- and sugar-free. Passenger Equipment gets a lot of attention, with very innovative ideas springing up all the time. This year was no exception


Winners and judges at the 2017 Mercury Awards

Mecury’s big night was last December in Abu Dhabi

with Buzz Products winning a Mercury for its Alessi development for Delta Air Lines. Everything about the design and execution was exquisite with attention to practicality, weight and the passenger experience. The designs by Alessi are clean and sharp without being impractical. Kaelis was a finalist with a real innovation in disposable linen that cuts down on the usual laundry bills and logistics that go with it. The quality is first-class, the cost is low and the disposability is acceptable as a fully biodegradable and nontoxic product. Another finalist in Passenger Equipment was Heathergrey Collective for their Etihad FC pillow covers which were beautifully crafted and innovatively designed with manmade fabric that looks and feels like raw silk. Now we turn away from the glamour of food and beverage service to ITW Envopak for BoB Revenue Protection Seal System, winners in the Production Equipment category. They readily agree this is far from Hollywood; what it is, however, is a re-invention of something in use for 60 years – trolley seals. The product is a well thought-out and very

carefully designed new solution to the growing plastic mountain of waste seals. It saves airlines money, it is more secure than existing systems and it is easy to manage. For the Mercurys, no idea or invention is “too boring” for recognition. Finalists Zodiac Aerospace presented a cool-trolley designed with weight and efficiency in mind. With little changing in the basic aircraft galley since the 1950s, it is good to see innovation that can save resources and money for airlines in this challenging sector. The other finalist was RMT Global Partners for the Inflight Tidy Kit. Who would have thought a dustpan and brush in a plastic bag could be interesting! It was a clever and convenient all-in-one replenishable cabin maintenance kit for crews. Back to food and the winner of the Savoury Product category: The Bake Factory for their Taco Sliders, a really great tasting and well-designed product that is ideal for the buy-on-board or Economy Light meal service. These soft taco shells are specially made for easy production and consumption and are great for two people to share.

Gluten-free bread is really hard to make well, and Tawa Bakery were finalists for their collection of highly authentic products. The Food Product – Snack winner, STR-EATS Food Ltd for its Mumbai Street Food Pastries, was outstanding – street food in a boiled pastry shell created specifically for the airline market and utilizing a range of recipes based on street food experiences from around the world. Joe & Seph’s gained a Highly Commended designation for their double-salted caramel popcorn box pack. It is a delicious and easy-to-distribute product with a real artisan preparation story resulting in a very high-quality product. Whenever Lily O’Brien’s enters you know you’re in for a surprise, and they did not disappoint with UTZ Certified Chocolates and Desserts Collection which won the Food Product – Sweet category. We were extremely impressed with their focus on environmental issues by addressing Rainforest Alliance requirements. In both product and packaging, Lily O’Brien’s has reacted to the Mercury judges’ comments from previous submissions and built them into these products. Tawa Bakery was also a finalist in this category for their Gluten-Free Caramel Éclairs. It is a truly delicious and highquality product that is totally gluten-free, and it fits well in Premium cabins or lounge service. An interesting new concept winner of the Airline Meal – Economy Class award was En Route International for Cloud Dine Meals. En Route created a well thought-through solution to the pre-order concept for crew that is adaptable for passenger use. The range of meals is comprehensive and the quality of the delivered product from supplier Frankenberg GmbH is outstanding. Also highly commended was Marfo BV for Bon Appetito Concept, specially designed for loading to maximum ergonomic ability for economy meals and providing all the food items for the trays including hot and cold meals. Last year’s Mercury entrants offered variety, innovation and faith that the industry is still alive with enthusiastic creators armed with amazing ideas and concepts. And the entire time they are here, we are here too as an independent body to provide a platform for them to market their ideas and gain deserved recognition for the work they do. See you at the 37th Awards December 10, 2018!  |  PAX INTERNATIONAL  |  67


A newbie’s guide to the WTCE We reached out to three companies who are returning to the WTCE expo floor to learn what they appreciate most about this annual event

THE COMPANIES Dr Schär (Stand 1A98): Dr. Schär Group is a well-known manufacturer of gluten-free products. Its aim is to improve the quality of life of consumers and to respond to the specific nutritional needs of those who are intolerant to gluten. Schäfer Travel Retail (Stand 4C40): Schäfer provides airlines and catering companies with a one-stop solution for children’s products and amenities. Their full range of services include the development of products, design, testing, production, warehousing and after-sales service. Eurosnack (Stand 1A85): Founded 75 years ago, Eurosnack is the owner of the brand FORNO DAMIANI. Nowadays, with Massimo Damiani, the company is also active in vending products, and are now playing a key role in food service, retail and airline catering.

Can you describe your previous experiences at WTCE? What brought you back? Dr Schär AG (Rene Pfitscher, Sales Manager BU Dr. Schär Foodservice Europe): We attended the WTCE exhibition for the first time in 2017. Having found the experience really useful and an excellent forum to meet with new and existing customers, we rebooked to return this year. Schäfer (Joachim Schäfer, CEO): The convention has always been a fantastic platform to meet new and existing customers. [We] explored the show as a visitor before making a booking and it was clear that we needed to have visibility at WTCE. It is now our fifth year. Eurosnack (Rita Preziotti, Export Manager): We are a regular exhibitor at WTCE, as it is one of the most pivotal shows for the industry. We usually take a stand in Hamburg, and last year we exhibited at WTCE in Dubai. 68  |  PAX INTERNATIONAL  |  MARCH/APRIL 2018

How would you characterize the atmosphere at WTCE? Dr Schär AG: In three words, the exhibition comes across as sociable, stylish and charming. Schäfer: It has a casual feeling while being professional, which we really enjoy and you only find that kind of atmosphere at WTCE. Eurosnack: [We] very much enjoyed [our] time at WTCE last year, as well as finding it to be a perfectly professional forum in which to do business. Based on your experience, what tips would you give to people who are attending WTCE for the first time? Dr Schär: There is a lot to see, so firsttime attendees [should] take their time and visit all aspects of the exhibition. There are always plenty of interesting stands to see that give you great ideas or provide new contacts. The exhibition

The crowds at last year’s WTCE in Hamburg flocked to stands such as LSG Group’s, pictured here

stretches across three days so it is wise to plan your schedule to avoid missing out! Schäfer: Take more time when visiting WTCE so you can fit in plenty of detailed meetings as well as checking out exhibitors of interest – there are many! What do you have on tap at your booth for this edition of WTCE? Dr Schär AG: We’ll launch a unique Special Meal for the travel industry that Oakfield Farms Solutions Europe has developed with us – Schär’s Gluten-Free concept. It contains an authentic Italian hot meal, a bread roll, a portion of a creamy butter and a chocolate-covered wafer snack. As well as this, we will bring our popular main product line for the travel catering branch. Schäfer: We have developed a new range of amenity kits for kids especially for launch at WTCE, which will be accompanied by a 24-page catalog. We have chosen this show to launch these products as WTCE is very important to us and our customers are expecting it. Eurosnack: At WTCE this year we will launch eight new products for consumers looking for healthy and organic snacks. Our main product line, which is so much appreciated on board, will be shown as well.



DNA by STATHIS KEFALLONITIS, PH.D., Founder and President

Stathis Kefallonitis presenting at the 2015 edition of the Passenger Experience Conference in Hamburg

The unique elements that deliver a memorable and personalized passenger experience in every class and at every stage of the journey should be of the utmost concern to all airlines


e spend a lot of time thinking about the passenger journey and the opportunities that exist in delighting a passenger. How many speeches have we listened to that promise and highlight a passenger-centered product? What is good, and why is it good? There still is a lot of confusion out there. In reality, things are somewhat a little less clear. An airline may have the latest aircraft, onboard equipment and any kind of luxury that exists and still get it wrong. Passenger engagement is used here purposely, as we are in an era that goes beyond the mere passenger experience (a traditional one-way communication: from airline to the passenger). Today, there is a lot of interaction between an airline and its customers. This is a two-way-communication that makes it a passenger-engaging interaction. This interaction should be part of an airline’s DNA, a bundle of products and

services that drive all the airline stands for. These should be consistent throughout all flights, as well as sustainable in order to enhance the positive passenger experience. A successful passenger experience includes emotional engagement and the elicitation of positive feelings. These may include instances when an airline goes beyond the call-of-duty to please or delight


and often fuzzy elements of the passenger engagement become very important. Getting your favorite drink before you even ask for it, a birthday surprise, an inflight nanny or an unexpected gift onboard become instant game changers!

Drivers of change

Airlines should not reinvent the wheel but rather look closely at their DNA. Identifying a few elements of the passenger engagement that work well would ensure recognition and ultimately success. It is often the little things that make a big difference. Being passionate about

“A successful passenger experience includes emotional engagement and the elicitation of positive feelings.”

a passenger. These experiences are often priceless, based on current airline trends and air transport research data. All these experiences strengthen positive airline brand associations and translate to passenger loyalty, and in turn these ambiguous

airline DNA elements that make you stand out in competition ensures brand and product differentiation. Take a look at Air New Zealand and their association with New Zealand culture in movies, such as The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings


“Strengthening brand identity through partnerships with established and popular brands helps to differentiate an airline among competitors”

franchises, or Singapore Airlines and the iconic Singapore girl. Customizing the passenger experience as much as possible with a touch of storytelling seems to be a recipe for success.

People’s business

We are working in a service industry that relies on people; some call this a people’s industry. Each and every front-facing airline employee is a personification of the airline brand and as such an airline employee ought to be seen as an opportunity to excel on passenger engagement. Initial interactions with crew members, initial reaction to the cabin environment, the onboard services and various other aspects of the flight service are perceived as a representation of the airline’s brand.

Food and beverage

It is essential for air carriers to determine the most attractive food items offered throughout the available classes of service. Positioning these in a way to have maximum impact will increase customer satisfaction. Additionally, identify ways to increase and sustain passenger excitement in their initial reaction to the meal and strengthen the onboard service delivery and service culture.

Plating and layout

Distinguishing the most aestheticallypleasing serveware, such as which dish makes the food look better and which shapes or color variations work, will reduce service time by identifying designs that lead to fewer accidents or awkward use. Plus, exploring new concepts and potentially replacing some existing serveware to

maximize positive passenger interaction and excitement is crucial as it highlights the “wow factor” of this aspect of an airline’s service.


Highlighting food and beverage brands to maximize brand recognition and cobranding enhances the value-for-money proposition and strengthens further passenger satisfaction.


Strengthening brand identity through partnerships with established and popular brands helps to differentiate an airline among competitors. Creating and promoting the airline as a lifestyle brand supports loyalty and increases market share.


Last but not least, airlines should thank passengers for their business at every opportunity. Acknowledging a passenger’s business after booking a ticket, recognizing premier frequent flier status and using post-landing messages can strengthen the connection between the passenger and the airline.

The 2016 menu from Delta Air Lines, being presented here, is a great example of how to elevate the passenger experience with a fresh menu  |  PAX INTERNATIONAL  |  71


Anatomy of a


Oakfield Farms’ Schäerbranded gluten-free meal solution includes a hot meal, bread roll, butter and a dessert


Leading food service suppliers are brimming with creative new concepts for their latest snack box ranges by MARY JANE PITTILLA

Oakfield Farms Solutions

Oakfield Farms Solutions offers snack boxes in three temperature ranges: chilled, ambient and frozen. The product range is suitable for a buy-on-board service on low-cost or charter airlines, or as a complementary service (for example, a second service on long-haul flights). The meal box graphics are completely customizable with either the customers’ corporate identity or something different. The packaging size is also up to the customer, according to Jennifer Fendel, Senior Sales Manager, Oakfield Farms Solutions. The standard meal box sizes optimize the space in trolleys or drawers but the customer can develop any shape Snackbox To-Go’s Just Fries snack box contains 100% natural potato fries

of meal boxes; for example, with windows to showcase the products better or open compartments so that a sandwich or hot meal can be added. New products from Oakfield Farms include a chilled meal box for a Scandinavian charter airline with integrated hot meal slot for a frozen meal, available in breakfast, all-day and child versions. A collaboration with Schär, a globally renowned brand of gluten-free products, offers a Schär-branded gluten-free packaged meal solution that includes a hot meal, bread roll, butter and a dessert. Oakfield Farms likes to follow a theme with its meal boxes and create a storyline around it, whether it is for a typical English

afternoon tea, a ploughman’s meal box or a Mediterranean-themed product. “This means that content, design and look need to go together,” Fendel says. “We also like to co-create meal boxes with our customers, including placing nominated products they choose in the concept stage into the boxes. We also find co-branding partners that would like to, for example, produce the product packaging in the customer’s corporate colors.” Contents are very important, she notes, and inspiration is found in many different ways. “We scout the internet, the market and tradeshows on a regular basis to always have the most up-to-date products on hand to show to our customers. We do the same for packaging – we like to take inspiration from retail packaging or even fashion/ clothing patterns.” Oakfield Farms’ meal boxes have come a long way since the business began trading in the US with ambient meal boxes in 1994. The company brought the concept over to

Snackbox To-Go expects its new pizza and fries snack box to be a hit, as it combines two of the world’s most famous snacks


Exclusively for

Buzz creates signature products and experiences for travel. Let’s collaborate at WTCE Hamburg 10-12 April 2018, stand 4D50. MELBOURNE . LOS ANGELES . MILAN . DUBAI . LONDON . SHANGHAI . HONG KONG


One of the latest additions to En Route’s wide snack box offerings is Alfonso’s Tapas Range, which is an ambient product

Europe in 2011, where it started with fresh and ambient meal boxes, soon adding frozen meal boxes to the range. “We started working with various copackers all over Europe so that we can also offer meal boxes that are typically Scandinavian, Italian or Belgian, for example,” Fendel says. “Current trends are special meals, which is why we offer a gluten-free buy-on-board meal box as well as the Schär meal box. There is also a high demand for retail brands to be included in the meal to serve something to the passenger that is recognizable and that they would buy in their daily life in a retail environment.” The company’s target audience operates in the travel, leisure or recreational sectors, and current customers range from airlines to buses, trains, ferries and cinemas. “Basically anybody who is looking for a convenient packaged meal solution on the go,” she says. To manage the distribution, Oakfield Farms has various warehouses located all

New products from Oakfield Farms include this chilled meal box for a Scandinavian charter airline with an integrated slot for a hot meal


over Europe and the U.S., and can offer a global logistics network to its customers. For sales tracking, it uses its own IT systems which have been customized especially for its individual needs, as the travel industry differs slightly from other industries, the company says.

Snackbox to-go

Snack boxes created by Snackbox to-go are designed to be perfect for inflight catering because they are convenient. They are freezable, ovenable and can be presented to the customer immediately after prep. This no-handling process is fast and hygienic, says Jeroen Kosterman, co-owner of Snackbox To-Go. The Dutch firm was founded around the innovation of crispy fries. Later, it created a unique type of fries for preparation in airline ovens inside a specially developed snack box. Today the company supplies many different kinds of snack boxes filled with cakes, hot snacks, pancakes, paninis, burritos and chicken wings. It also produces boxes for breakfast and tapas, which

are designed for sharing. “A new product that we expect to be a great hit is the pizza and fries snack box – the world’s most famous snacks combined. We will be releasing this product at the WTCE 2018 in Hamburg,” says Kosterman. Snackbox to-go’s corporate identity is fun and playful, consisting of a blackboard design with doodles. In the same vein, fun facts are written on the product packaging. In a further innovation, the company has developed ovenable packaging with a special divider to separate the fries and pizza. The packaging incorporates perforation holes to make sure the product is heated evenly. The firm also offers multiple snack boxes in different sizes and with different purposes, all with the same easy-opening and ovenable capabilities. Additionally, it has designed special ovenable paper-film for its bread products. In terms of trends, Kosterman points to healthy eating. “We think that people who travel will treat themselves on board.

DFMi Although U.S.-based DFMi does not produce snack box packaging, the company does offer the contents. “DFMi is always searching for healthier products and innovative packaging that offers extended product shelf life that meets the snack box providers’ requirements,” says Kim Brown, Director of Marketing.


off! o’s that is ready to take A new range from Nand our savoury snacks, all with From saucy sachets to u keep twist, these will help yo trademark PERi-PERi at-recliners in check. se of s ou lli be re t os m even the

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WTCE 2018, Stand 1F30, Hall A1

FOOD AND BEVERAGE Snackbox to-go will be releasing this pizza and fries snack box at the WTCE 2018 show in Hamburg

However, more healthy choices, veggie and Halal are also in our portfolio, and this trend is growing rapidly. “Our customers are airlines that are looking for innovative and good-tasting products,” he observes. “We are a flexible company that can adjust to the requirements of our customers fast. Our products are perfect for airlines, but also suitable for other to-go businesses like petrol stations and retail.” Snackbox to-go distributes its products from the Netherlands. “As Holland has the biggest port in Europe, we can transport swiftly worldwide. Our customers track the sales on board and we have regular meetings to discuss the needs of the passengers. Our chefs try to surprise our customers with inspiration sessions to develop new products that are tailormade.”

En Route International

UK-based En Route’s snack box range is vast and can be tailored to any airline, diet, cuisine or end customer. “We pride ourselves on being able to take on any challenge to meet the specific requirements of our clients and deliver a great 76  |  PAX INTERNATIONAL  |  MARCH/APRIL 2018

final product,” says Robert Dalboth, Managing Director. Two of the latest additions to its snack box range include its Tiny Teacup Afternoon Tea service and its Alfonso’s Tapas Range, both of which are ambient. When creating a new snack box, En Route always focuses on the end passenger and the experience they will receive. As the team designs new products, they always keep up-to-date with packaging and food trends to ensure each snack box is truly unique. En Route’s range of kids’ snack boxes aims to add interactivity to the overall experience. Both its Scribbles & Nibbles snack box and its Sky Squad range feature activity books to satisfy even the youngest passenger. Current trends include snacks to share and providing the passenger with choice. “When designing our snack boxes, we always pay close attention to how each product is packed, handled by the caterer

En Route supplies this new, ambient Tiny Teacup Afternoon Tea box

and served by cabin crew, making sure each pack is perfectly optimized for on board performance.” says Richard Wake, Creative Director. En Route’s target audiences are air, rail and cruise operators, and its distribution is global. The company offers an end-toend service; products are custom branded, pre-packed and delivered to anywhere in the world through an in-house team that coordinates delivery and manages a complex international supply chain.



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HALL A1, 1F80


INTRODUCING PASSENGER TECHNOLOGY SOLUTIONS Bluetooth and geofencing, Big Data, artificial intelligence and passengercentric design: just some of the topics on the agenda at the inaugural Passenger Technology Solutions event


or years, guests have jetted into Hamburg for the Passenger Experience Conference, World Travel Catering & Onboard Services Expo and Aircraft Interiors Expo to hear about the latest trends in passenger experience. This year, alongside these must-attend events, a brand-new event is taking off. Passenger Technology Solutions (PTS) is an entire event dedicated to the endto-end passenger journey, exploring how technology can bring together different aspects of travel into one integrated and seamless experience. With speakers including Airbus, Norwegian, Amtrak and JPA Design, PTS will shine a light on trends in passenger behavior and service design to inspire and educate visitors about the future of travel. It will also spotlight some of the most forward-looking and cutting-edge startups in the sector. Here are just a few of the exciting exhibitors whose tech-enabled solutions will be presented at the show.


The airline commerce platform that Guestlogix will be showcasing at PTS is built on the rails of the best on-the-ground e-commerce technologies, which include passenger analytics and product mix optimization, data-driven sales and marketing tools and comprehensive payment functionality. The platform has three main components: Management Console, Flight Attendant POS and the Passenger Experience App. The platform makes service faster and easier for flight attendants, improves passenger experience, empowers mobile travelers throughout the day of 78  |  PAX INTERNATIONAL  |  MARCH/APRIL 2018

Exciting hands-on tech testing will be available to PTS delegates

travel – before, during and after the flight – and uses advanced retail analytics for personalized selling and higher revenue.

a better understanding of passengers and allow new data-driven solutions to emerge.


airfree digitally connects travelers to duty free retailers and service providers worldwide by offering the first digital marketplace dedicated to inflight shopping. This allows airlines to translate flight time into incremental sales. By offering an independent marketplace model in the duty-free industry, airfree creates opportunities for value creation for each stakeholder of the flying experience. For the first time during PTS, airfree will live demonstrate its technology, reproducing the connectivity conditions of an aircraft (satellite connectivity bandwidth & latency) to show how the platform is designed to minimize bandwidth consumption and optimize loading time.

Aviget is a technology start-up developing multi-platform chatbots to help airlines to engage with their social media audience and provide better passenger experience. Chatbots allow passengers to get an instant answer to any question, book a flight, check-in online, get flight status alerts and even rebook canceled flights automatically, using a familiar chat interface.

Black Swan

When black swans were discovered in Australia, 17th century Londoners were astonished, as it was previously assumed all swans were white. From then on, a ‘black swan moment’ came to describe an unforeseen event that turns all preceding knowledge and wisdom on its head. Black Swan uses data science to create black swan events for airlines, taking advantage of advances in connectivity and new certification techniques – alongside its expertise in data analytics and technology – to enable


Hear from…

Jorge De Luis Sierra, Cabin Interior Design Manager, Airbus Jorge is the primary project-lead responsible for interior design, branding and customization. He has a proven track record

PASSENGER EXPERIENCE WEEK with completed projects in architecture, interior design modification, branding, product development and aviation design project management. Ben Kaufman, Marketing Manager, Norwegian Ben heads Norwegian’s North American commercial efforts and launched both its Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner and 737 MAX 8 fleets. Previously he led Qatar Airways’ entry-into-service marketing program for the Airbus A350 and played a key role in developing and launching JetBlue’s Mint Experience. Peter Wilander, Vice President, Product Development and Customer Experience, Amtrak Peter is in charge of developing Amtrak’s new customer service standards. He was previously Chief Commercial Officer at gategroup and Managing Director Onboard Services for Delta Air Lines, where he was responsible for the worldwide catering operation, food and beverage design and implementation, onboard retail programs and crew service delivery procedures.

Augmented reality is an exciting new way to enhance a passenger’s inflight experience

A CHANCE TO ZOOM OUT Archana Sharma, Exhibition Director for Passenger Technology Solutions, shares the thinking behind the show We are launching Passenger Technology Solutions to join the dots between different parts of the passenger journey, showing how innovations from biometrics to smart baggage can be brought together into a single, seamless and personalized experience. PTS was inspired by the idea that we could help visitors ‘zoom out’ from individual aspects of the passenger journey to explore the bigger picture. New technologies and innovations are only useful to people if they can talk to other systems in an intelligent and beneficial way. Passengers know that the travel industry is edging ever closer to a truly integrated experience, but in the meantime they are frustrated with having to juggle multiple apps and negotiate a whole string of non-compatible systems to get from A to B. At Passenger Technology Solutions, we plan to inspire and educate attendees on how these challenges can be overcome  |  PAX INTERNATIONAL  |  79


Vintage The wines of Estate Castillo de Aresan are now in the portfolio of Groupe Les Grand Chais de France

challenges by RICK LUNDSTROM

Europe was rocked this year by weather that has affected wine volumes. But amid the problems, companies at this year’s WTCE continue to work through the troubles to position themselves in regions around the world


ate last fall, growers and followers of the European wine business learned again that nature is still very much in control of not only their continent’s fate but the fate of other parts of the world as well. In mid-October the European Union’s Department for Agriculture and Rural Development announced that nearly all the wine growing regions across the continent would see sharply reduced harvests that could be attributed to all manner of weather, from hail the size of tennis balls to drought, and from biting hard frosts to a heat wave that earned the nickname Lucifer. By the end of the year, statistics of wide-


spread harvest woes could be found everywhere. Nearly every country in the EU fold was looking at a drop in the fall wine harvest. Leading the way were some of the consortium’s largest-producing nations: France saw a 17% drop, Italy was down 19% and Spain dropped 15%. Combined with its other nations, the European Union was looking at a harvest that was down to a 36-year low, and in the 28 nations that make up the EU wine production for 2017/18 dropped 14%. Total volume for the EU wine harvest was expected to reach 145 million hectoliters. A few bright spots could be found in the fall EU report. Though the country experienced drought conditions last

year, Portugal was predicted to see a 10% increase in wine volume from 2017. Austria also fought through a difficult frost to see an expected increase of 23% this past year, while Romania saw the greatest increase with 61%. Andrew Brown, one of the founders of Ratcliffe & Brown, a longtime supplier to airline industry, said as a result of the perfect storm of weather wine volume has been “absolutely decimated around the world.” While these were initial figures from the fall, the industry is no doubt watching for the final figures that would be submitted to the European Commission by the member states in mid-March. Those final figures had not been released at press time. While the 2017/18 growing season in Europe will eventually go down in the history books as a bad memory, demand for the product is still strong among airlines,


A mignonette package of creamy liqueurs will be at the Bottega stand at this year’s WTCE

cruise lines and railroads. Suppliers at this year’s World Travel Catering and Onboard Services Expo will be visiting with airlines intent on finding the best that the wine industry has to offer. Despite the weather setbacks, French winemaker Groupe Les Grands Chais de France was in acquisition mode this past year. In November, GCF announced the purchase of the German winemaker Binderer Group, a major player in the German wine market with sales of more than 60 million bottles per year. Binderer was founded in 1951 in Munich and today includes Germany’s St. Ursula Weinkellerei and two wineries in the Danubiana Group in Hungary. One of the Hungarian wineries is located in Gyöngyös in the northern part of the country, while the other is in Bonyhäd to the south. In addition, Grands Chais de France acquired the Estate Castillo de Aresan, a 200-hectare vineyard in the Vino de la Tierra de Castilla winegrowing region of Spain. “We are reinforcing our international dimension,” said Laurent Jacquemont, Travel Retail Manager at Grands Chais de France. The company has several brands that are well known among airline suppliers. J.P Chanet, in its signature curved-neck bottle, has been popular among airlines for years, and another of their brands called Grand Sud includes a selection of Merlots and Chardonnays. Also in the company portfolio is Calvet Bordeaux and a selection of French vodka called Jezlin. Grands Chais de France products can be found on Delta Air Lines, Air France and Lufthansa German Airlines. The company also supplies the TGF and Thalys trains in France. With a link to winegrowing regions in Germany, Spain and Hungary, Jacquemont said that GCF has improved its position to capitalize on the growing demand for wines from all regions of the world. Bottega SpA will be traveling to this year’s WTCE with two new products and several new listings. Bottega has more than 50 airline and rail customers who stock its 82  |  PAX INTERNATIONAL  |  MARCH/APRIL 2018

products for onboard pouring and duty free sales. “The global travel retail business is steadily growing for Bottega,” said Irene Patruno, International Press Officer for the company. “We recorded a 10 percent increase every year.” This year, Bottega will introduce two new products: a mignonette package containing a range of creamy liqueurs and a Bottega gin with the product name Bacûr. The company recently launched Bacûr in the commercial aviation market on board Singapore Airlines “Our gin is produced in Italy using botanicals like juniper berries, sage and lemon zest that stand out thanks to the fragrant and natural ingredients used in the recipe, harvested on the Alps and in the Italian countryside,” said Patruno. Bottega created the new gin product by mining its experience with distilling grappa and brandy. Both those spirit varieties in addition to gin require a high level of distil-

The Dunavar Collection of wines from Hungary are now in the fold of Group Grand Chais de France

lation techniques that have been perfected over the years by Italian distillers. But the top sellers from the company’s line for this year have been Bottega Gold, Bottega Rose Gold Champagnes and Bottega Limoncino, the company’s limoncello brand. The popularity of its brands and global reach take Bottega to some far-flung places. In February of this year, Bottega became the only winery and distillery to have its products listed at Sunrise duty free shops in Shanghai’s Pudong International Airport. At the shops in Terminals 1 and 2, the distinctive shine of the Bottega bottles will be accompanied by the company’s red wines, Brunello de Montalchino and Chianti Classico, along with its Limoncino and the new Gin Bacûr. For Bottega, the listing in Shanghai is one of the highlights of a 15-year investment in time and money to sell products in travel retail and duty free, in addition to inflight service. “We are already present in most Asian countries’ domestic markets, but this is an outstanding commercial achievement for our company because it is the only Italian wine brand present on the shelves of the duty free stores of Shanghai airport,” said Sandro Bottega, owner and Managing Director of the company. In 2017, Bottega reported that the company’s global travel retail and duty free business accounted for nearly a third of its overall export turnover.

Distilling techniques from brandy and grappa making were used by Bottega to develop Gin Bacûr

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Cheers to the future A few of the wines in the Aaldering range

Aaldering Vineyards & Wines, a longtime supplier of premium products to airlines, will be adding growing land and varietals in the Devon Valley of South Africa by RICK LUNDSTROM


n important event in the world of wine was taking place as PAX International went to press, and like many wine producers that will be filling the stands and walking the halls of the World Travel Catering and Onboard Services Expo, South Africa-based Aaldering Vineyards & Wines was there to talk shop. ProWein, held March 18 to 20 of this year in Dusseldorf, Germany, attracts trade visitors from around the world. Up to 58,000 people in the wine trade from 130 countries were estimated to be on hand, and among the scheduled exhibitors were more than 100 growers from South Africa. It’s no doubt weather will be on the mind of many during the three-day event. Much of the European continent has recently endured a series of weather events that severely cut production in France, Spain and Italy. At press time, the winegrowing region in South Africa is experiencing a drought that limits the use of water to 50 liters per person and watering gardens and washing vehicles is forbidden. Despite the challenges, Fons Aaldering of Aaldering Vineyards & Wines told PAX International in March the orchards fared well through the trying times, and in the years to come the small upscale winery would be adding to its 24 hectares in the


Devon Valley of Stellenbosch, which Fons and his wife Marianne founded in 2004. “Actually, we did not have a lot of problem with the drought,” Aaldering said. The vines usually get very little water even in good years, he noted, and he repeated the winemaker’s familiar refrain that a vine that has to fight to produce fruit makes for a premium product. Rainfall is still scarce and insufficient for many daily activities; however, irrigation of grapes is legal if growers have their own water source. While the weather can get hot, Aaldering said that the wine-growing region’s location near the ocean provides enough cool air to allow the grapes to flourish. Aaldering’s portfolio of two white wines and four red wines are known for their quality and picked for it by airline customers. Aaldering wines have been selected for front cabin service in Business and First Class on KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, Asiana Airlines and American Airlines. Aaldering Vineyards & Wines produces approximately 150,000 bottles of wine each year. For a small producer, its products are sold far and wine. Aaldering wines are currently exported to 30 countries with the most recent additions being Estonia and the Czech Republic. Grapes from the newly purchased land will be ready for limited wine produc-

tion in about four years, said Aaldering. Last year, the winery identified blocks of vineyard were not producing well. That land will be cleared of vines and used to add additional rooms to the Aaldering lodge that was built for tourists and customers of the winery. The additional four hectares of land the winery acquired will be planted with Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Malbec grapes with the help of specialists from Stellenbosch University. They will join the current Aaldering range of wines that include Pinotage in red and white, and Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon. A list of Aaldering's current vintages and available wines can be seen on the company’s website ( Sauvignon Blanc makes an important addition to the Aaldering collection. This wine is from 2014

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enowned French chef Michel Roth is no stranger to the travel food service sphere, having undertaken consulting work for airline caterers, such as Servair. Now Roth is turning his attention to the food offerings at train stations across France by teaming up with SSP, specialists in the operation of food and beverage in travel locations, and rail operator SNCF Gares & Connexions to open a gourmet restaurant. The first such project recently opened at Metz station in the department of Lorraine, eastern France. This restaurant opening is part of a wider program that aims to refresh the food offerings at stations across France in partnership with top chefs. Rail operator SNCF Gares & Connexions says it is working with SSP and others to develop what it calls “exciting new partnerships with star chefs in stations across France.” Top names in the program include Eric Frechon at Gare Saint Lazare in Paris, Thierry Marx at Paris Gare du Nord, Christian Le Squer at Gare de Rennes, Jacques Maximim at Gare de Nice, Alain Ducasse at Paris Gare Montparnasse and Michel Rostang at Paris Gare de Lyon. Explaining more about the ambitious project to PAX International, SSP and SNCF Gares & Connexions say: “Our aim is to help transform the image of many iconic stations by creating a real sense of place and by working with leading chefs


from each region who are able to draw on their culinary heritage to make the offer unique at each station. In addition, we have worked with them to adapt the food and service in their restaurants so that it is perfect for a station environment and its customers.” The SSP and SNCF Gares & Connexions partnership places great importance on the overall passenger experience. “SSP and SNCF Gares & Connexions work closely together with a shared commitment to innovation and high culinary standards. This can be seen in offers to traveling consumers across the country, where we try to develop the most compelling choices and concepts that are adapted to the varying needs of our customers,” they say. In line with contemporary thinking about the importance of sustainability, the new Terroirs de Lorraine restaurant at Gare de Metz serves up a number of initiatives, both in its business operations and in its menus. “Of course, sustainability is an important part of our day-to-day business life. We try to source ingredients locally where possible and to use seasonal products in our menus. We also have a number of energy efficiency programs in place.” So what do we know about Michel Roth’s restaurant at Gare de Metz station, operated by SSP France, a subsidiary of UK-based SSP Group PLC? Roth created the menu for the restau-

In 1991, Michel Roth was named Meilleur Ouvrier de France in the country’s famous annual craftsman competition as well as the winner of the Bocuse d’Or, and is the only chef in the world to have received both of these prestigious accolades

rant, which opened on December 6, 2017, and offers cuisine that can take guests from a brief bistro lunch to a decadent evening meal. The cuisine is prepared by chef Xavier Pauly and his team of eight, with highlights that include perch fish and chips, Lorraine stew, classic mehlknepfle egg and Rossini beef fillet. The restaurant has more than 130 covers, plus additional seating on a terrace for summertime dining, and is open for business seven days a week from 11:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. The décor is decked in warm gold and cobalt blue tones, inspired by the building’s heritage (Gare de Metz was classified as a historic building in 1975 and was recently named the most beautiful station in France in 2017) but with a contemporary feel. Roth’s reputation will be paramount in the restaurant’s success, according to SSP and SNCF, noting: “The reputation of national star Michel Roth will contribute to the renewal and restoration proposed in this unique station.” Waxing lyrical about the opening of this new restaurant in his home region of Lorraine, Roth says: “Terroirs de Lorraine is born of my passion for the region, and my roots are in Lorraine where my culinary career began at my family restaurant. The Gare de Metz is, for me, a symbol of homecoming, and I look forward to welcoming customers to enjoy authentic cuisine in a


Top chef Michel Roth has opened a gourmet restaurant operated by SSP inside Metz railway station in France. Mary Jane Pittilla finds out more

RAIL SERVICES place that for me is full of history and memories. With my team, we have developed a simple and refined menu that fuses regional dishes emblematic of Lorraine and French gastronomy. With the opening of the Terroirs de Lorraine restaurant, I hope the Gare de Metz will be established as destination in its own right, as well as a gateway to the city.” Patrick Ropert, Managing Director of SNCF Gares & Connexions (a branch of SNCF which manages 3,029 French railway stations), says: “It is essential to rethink station food and beverage by creating a real sense of place and by working with leading chefs from the region who will be able to draw on their culinary heritage, while adapting their food and service to the station environment and its customers.” Gerard d’Onofrio, Managing Director of SSP France and Benelux, adds his voice: “We are particularly proud to be working in conjunction with Michel in this outstanding venture. It underscores our commitment to innovation and high culinary standards that can be seen across our offer to the traveling consumer.”

InnoTrans 2018 18 – 21 SEPTEMBER • BERLIN International Trade Fair for Transport Technology Innovative Components • Vehicles • Systems

FACT FILE: SSP and SNCF Gares & Connexions SSP is a leading operator of food and beverage concessions in travel locations, managing restaurants, bars, cafés, food courts, lounges and convenience stores in airports, train stations, motorway service stations and other leisure locations. With over 50 years of experience, it boasts nearly 35,000 employees, serving approximately one million customers every day. The company trades at approximately 140 airports and 280 rail stations, and operate more than 2,500 units in over 30 countries around the world. SSP operates an extensive portfolio of more than 450 international, national and local brands. Among these are local heroes such as MASH in Copenhagen, James Martin Kitchen in London and Hung’s Delicacies in Hong Kong. Its range also includes proprietary brands created for the travel sector including Upper Crust, Le Grand Comptoir and Ritazza, as well as international names such as Burger King, Starbucks, Hard Rock Café and YO! Sushi. The firm also creates bespoke concepts such as Five Borough Food Hall in JFK, New York, and Walter at Zurich. SNCF Gares & Connexions believes that railway stations are “places of life in their own right, at the crossroads of the courses. Lungs of the cities, the stations transform the territories and facilitate the daily life of each one.” Welcoming 10 million travelers, visitors and residents every day, the company aims to constantly improve the quality of the operation, create new services and modernize its heritage. In 2016, SNCF Gares & Connexions achieved a turnover of €1.2 billion (US$1.5 billion). Within the SNCF group, this management is autonomous and regulated. With its subsidiaries AREP and SNCF Retail & Connexions, SNCF Gares & Connexions has developed specific know-how for urban vitality. “Our mission is to make all stations the first asset of the cities and territories, at the service of all our customers: a city booster,” the operator enthuses.

Contact Messe Berlin GmbH · Mr. Erik Schaefer Messedamm 22 · 14055 Berlin Germany T +49 30 3038 2034 F +49 30 3038 2190  |  PAX INTERNATIONAL  |  87

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20.04.2017 07:14:19


New &


The 2018 World Travel Catering and Onboard Services Expo is introducing a deluge of new foods, beverages and amenity products. PAX shares a sneak peek at what you can expect to sample on the expo floor this year


With passengers increasingly looking for brands that can offer a great tasting and healthy snack on board, BitesWeLove is primed to offer travel operators an alternative to sugar-rich bars or salty instant soups, designed for onboard consumption. The healthy nut-based snack brand will unveil six new flavors at WTCE including Pecan Boo, Cheeky Apricot, Let’s Go Mango, Chili Con Karma and Soy Side Up. The brand, which has been making healthy nut-based snacks since 2014, positions itself right in the center of today’s healthy snacking movement and is now taking the steps to help passengers make healthy choices onboard with its “delicious, nutty bites.” Speaking about the brand, Marleen Basart, Founder and Director, BitesWeLove, said: “BitesWeLove is serious about nuts. We want to offer our customers, and travel operators, a brand that guarantees a great taste and healthy option onboard. Our team has put a lot of energy into developing production methods to get the best of the ingredients we use. All of our nuts are dry roasted, and even our ‘guilty pleasures’ like chocolate contain a high percentage of pure cocoa and little sugar.” Meet the BitesWeLove team on stand 1F19 at the World Travel Catering and Onboard Services Expo in Hamburg. Let’s Go Mango is one of the new flavors being released by BitesWeLove at WTCE this year

Ovin Pion

Ovin Pion Vodka is distilled five times with a special distillation process of a 17% wateralcohol mixture


In 2016, a journey led brothers Moritz and Sebastian Schafstein through the department of Charente, where in the traditional city of Cognac they met Mickaël Bouilly, a master blender whose family has been working in cognac production for generations. He is also called “le magicien” by his colleagues, an allusion to his extraordinary skills in the production of distillates. With his know-how and the willpower of the two brothers, Ovin Pion Vodka was born. The winter wheat for Ovin Pion comes from the regions of Bassin Parisien, Beauce and Picardie in the north of France, which are known for the originality of their agricultural products. The water for Ovin Pion originates from one of the purest springs in the world, near the small village of Gensac-la-Pallue, which is naturally filtered by limestone. Before bottling only one-time single filtered, Ovin Pion Vodka is distilled five times with a special distillation process of a 17% water-alcohol mixture. Ovin Pion Vodka can be found at stand 4B46 at this year’s WTCE expo.

WTCE Kabuto Noodles

The family of Thistly Cross ciders welcomes the new Cloudy Cider to their line-up

Thistly Cross

Scottish cider maestros Thistly Cross have announced the arrival of their newest Magnificent Seventh family member, their brand-new Cloudy Cider. In the fermentation of cider, one of the key questions is whether to keep it cloudy or not, bearing in mind the extended maturation that Thistly Cross is famous for tends to clear the cider over time, resulting in crisp and beautifully balanced, medium-dry cloudy cider which is packed full of unfiltered goodness. Refreshing and remarkably easy to drink, this 5.5% session cider has a delightful hazy appearance. Cloudy 5.5% will be the seventh addition to the current portfolio of six core Thistly ciders – Original 6.2%, Traditional 4.4%, Real Strawberry, Real Ginger, Real Elderflower and Whisky Cask Cider – to complement their craft collaborations and seasonal and special editions. Ahead of their first-ever visit to WTCE, Thistly’s Head Cider Maker Peter Stuart commented: “We cannot wait to launch our exciting new Cloudy Cider to the German market. We have been perfecting our recipe over a number of years and we are sure the locals will enjoy our fresh and fruity Thistly take on a classic cider recipe!” For more about Thistly Cross and their beverage offerings, make your way to stand 1A100 at the WTCE.

Kabuto Noodles’ founder Crispin Busk spent an entire year testing out every instant noodle on the market, from both British supermarkets and specialist Asian stores, before eating at every Thai, Chinese and Japanese restaurant he could find to get a sense of the kind of flavors he wanted to recreate. The result is a cupped noodle that contains no additives, preservatives, sachets or plastic – just fresh-tasting, quality ingredients brought to life by boiling water. Kabuto’s most popular recipe is Chicken Ramen, but Prawn Tom Yum is a source of pride for the company – a delicious hot and spicy Thai noodle soup. Check out more about Kabuto Noodles at stand 2B21 at this WTCE.

Years of research went in to finding the right blend of ingredients for easy-to-prepare Kabuto Noodles

20 French companies take part in WTCE’s French Pavilion

A look at previous years’ bustling crowds at the WTCE French Pavilion

Business France, the national agency supporting the international development of the French economy, will again be running a dedicated French pavilion at WTCE. The French Pavilion will gather nearly 20 companies in a 200-square-meter space, and for the first time French companies will exhibit under the brand “Made in France, Made with Love,” which is the French gastronomy excellence symbol around the world. Innovation will be the French Pavilion’s leitmotiv with an innovation corner highlighting all the new products. Visitors will be able to easily discover French innovation in terms of packaging, taste and convenience (functionality). Features of the fair include a tasting of five French products on April 10 around lunchtime at The Taste of Travel where participants will receive a box of French samples, and a networking cocktail event at 12:30 p.m. on April 11.  |  PAX INTERNATIONAL  |  89



HOT!  Liquid single-serve pods – Caffè di Artisan:

 ECO-PET Plus Blankets from Recycled Bottles – Linstol: Softer than modacrylic or wool, ECO-PET Plus Blankets are eco-friendly, naturally and permanently fire retardant, antistatic and can offer a cost savings. ECO-PET Plus Blankets are made of recycled plastic bottles and certified by GRS. In addition, ECO-PET Plus manufacturing reduces energy and carbon emissions by 70%. ECO-PET Plus can be woven similarly to modacrylic, allowing for complete customization to any airline specification, and can be used to create pillowcases and covers for coordinated blanket/pillow sets. Visit Linstol at WTCE, stand 4E30

Luxury coffee in the air without machines is finally possible. Caffè di Artisan is revolutionizing the art of fine coffee. Coffee machines are prone to breakdowns, require frequent cleaning, clog up scarce galley space and increase weight. Caffè di Artisan’s Exquisite Luxury Coffee comes in liquid single-serve pods to serve to all classes, including espressos, lattes and more in a jiffy. Winner of the 2016 Mercury Award for Ultimate Food Tech Disruption. Visit Caffè di Artisan at WTCE, stand 4B31

 PC Glassware and Bowls – RMT Global Partners: Designed to look and feel like real glass, these items are meant to replace wine, rocks and all beverage glassware, as well as bowls, plates and decanters. As they are not made of glass, fear of onboard breakage or glass chips in food and beverage is eliminated. A proprietary process produces a product without unsightly seams or fill points. Wash tested 2,000 times, they can withstand impact and pressures that would shatter traditional glass products. Visit RMT Global Partners at WTCE, stand 1D70

 SAUDIA Kids Creature Crew – Buzz Products: SAUDIA’s newest range brings their Creature Crew brand to life and introduces fun, new characters so kids better understand their journey. The kits are packed full of multifunctional items, including multiplayer activities and keepsake products for school and beyond. They involve a combination of thought-processing items which allow for creativity and activities that promote the development of communication and social skills. Visit Buzz Products at WTCE, stand 4D50 90  |  PAX INTERNATIONAL  |  MARCH/APRIL 2018

 Super absorbent polymer – Gobi: Gobi offers a revolutionary solution for a zerocatering waste goal and leak problems that can occur during a flight. With its power to absorb 150 times its weight, Gobi collects the liquid waste to allow the isolation of international catering waste (ICW) and the recycling of non-contaminated material. Composed of recycled super absorbent, it turns the liquids into a solid form, thus preventing any chance of leaks. Visit Onboard Logistics at WTCE, stand 2A10 (beside Taste of Travel)


 Singapore Airlines luxury amenity kit – FORMIA: FORMIA has partnered with Singapore Airlines in an exclusive collaboration with the world-renowned luxury brand LALIQUE to offer a special collection of First Class amenities. The offering includes luxurious ladies, gents and unisex kits which enhance the onboard experience with the introduction of a matching LALIQUE branded sleeper suit and LALIQUE lavatory items. The distinctive design of each amenity kit aims to appeal to discerning travelers who expect the very highest levels of luxury, elegant style and quality. Visit FORMIA at WTCE, hall A1, stand 1E50

 Artisan beers – GROUP SOI: GROUP SOI is introducing their traditionally made artisan beers at WTCE. These innovative beverages are non-pasteurized and single-malt, brewed with saffron and using traditional methods for flavorful, potent results with a deep golden color. At the GROUP SOI stand, you can also pair their beers with the latest authentic gourmet pizza snacks, tailormade to your preference. Choose your dough, shape, size and toppings, and they will produce a handcrafted pizza that is 100% personalized. Visit GROUP SOI at WTCE, hall A1, stand 1F60

 Vegan-friendly noodles – Mr Lee’s Noodles: Mr Lee’ s Pure Foods offers an award-winning, healthier gourmet noodle in a cup with nutritious freeze-dried ingredients. The noodles come in six flavors with two vegan options: Zen Garden Vegetables and Dragon Fire Vegetables. All of Mr Lee’s Noodles are certified low in sugar by Sugarwise and gluten-free by Coeliac UK, and each serving has some of the lowest salt, saturated fat and caloric content (between 202 and 237 calories) of any instant noodles on the market. Mr Lee’s will be available on board TUI Airways toward the end of April 2018 and are sold in 14 and 16oz cups. Visit Mr Lee’s Noodles (Portfolio Partners Limited) at WTCE, stand 1E51

 Immersive Virtual Reality – Galileo Watermark: As part of their drive to invest in innovative, industry-leading initiatives, Galileo Watermark is excited to offer guests and partners an opportunity to experience what the future of aviation travel might offer. Galileo Watermark will be showcasing a completely immersive virtual reality experience where you’ll be transported to a bespoke cabin experience and have the opportunity to interact with their product. Visit Galileo Watermark at WTCE, stand 4C60

 Uzbekistan Airways’ Business Class amenity kit – AK-Service: AK-Service and Uzbekistan Airways have launched new luxury amenity kits for the airline’s Business Class passengers. On long-haul flights, Business passengers will receive carefully selected items by Caudalie (luxurious lip balm and hand cream), a dental kit, an eye mask, cozy slippers, ear plugs, a shoe horn, a comb and a pen. The long-haul kit is available in a herringbone fabric with blue accents, and on medium-haul flights the kit is available in deep blue with a shorter list of items that still meet a passenger’s needs. These kits are the beginning of the collaboration with Uzbekistan Airways and will be followed by a new series in iconic ethnic prints and fabrics. Visit AK-Service at WTCE, hall A4, stand 4E73  |  PAX INTERNATIONAL  |  91

WHAT’S HOT!  PET Cups – Xiamen Yamat Industries: Xiamen Yamat Industries’ PET cups come in a variety of sizes ranging from 14oz to 32oz. To ensure its product quality, the company applies a scientific management system that is in line with the BRC Global Standard for Food Safety. Their products have passed the ISO9001:2008 Quality Management System certification and are in compliance with the legislative requirements of FDA, LFGB and the Food Law of Health Ministry of Japan. Visit Xiamen Yamat Industries at WTCE, stand 1A62

 Business class amenity kit – Bayart Innovations: Bayart Innovations is introducing a new amenity kit for business cabins. The pouch contains a pair of socks, earplugs, an eye mask, a mirror, a shoe horn, a toothbrush, a pair of earphones and an earphone holder. It is designed to be kept post-flight and even used as an evening clutch. The bag is made from polyurethane (smooth outside and grainy inside) and is made with only one piece of fabric (no sewing) for high-quality finishing. Visit Bayart Innovations at WTCE, stand 4E100

 Airline towels – Hebei Sanshi: With over a decade of experience, Hebei Sanshi Textile Manufacturing prides itself in producing high-quality towels for airlines. All of Sanshi's towels are made of premium cotton yarns and microfiber fabrics, specially refined by a unique process to ensure the best quality. For its airline towels range, customers can choose between hot or cold towels that come with a wide selection of designs including hemmed plain, satin and checkered as well as oven-locked plain towels. Customization of design is also available. Visit Hebei Sanshi Textile Manufacturing Co. Ltd at WTCE, stand IE103

 New pajamas material for

 The Barista Cup – Freshorize: Few things compare to a good cup of coffee, and the Barista Cup is more than just a cup of coffee. The Barista Cup provides a coffee house experience, anytime and anywhere, even in flight. Smooth, flavourful and never bitter, it is a coffee machine in a cup. Visit Freshorize at WTCE, stand 1G50

Premium Class – Zibo Rainbow: Pajamas that are supplied to passengers by airlines reflect their service level, and Zibo Rainbow is pleased to produce various materials for VIP, First and Business Class pajamas. Zibo Rainbow is an inflight products supplier with many years of experience and is devoted to developing all kinds of comfortable and soft pajamas and pajamas materials. Their design team works with customers to develop elegant and comfortable pajamas for their passengers in every class. Visit Zibo Rainbow at WTCE, stand 1G30

 Bruschetta – MV Food & Services: Traditionally consisting of grilled bread rubbed with garlic and topped with olive oil and salt, bruschetta was born from the need of farmers to use up bread that may be ready to turn. Nowadays, this peasant dish has spread throughout Italy and is well known all over the world. MV Food’s variations include toppings of tomato, vegetables, cured meat, eggs or cheese and even sweet toppings like banana and chocolate. MV Food offers their customers a frozen version of this special Italian treat that can be served as a snack or appetizer. Visit MV Food & Services at WTCE, stand 1E60


WHAT’S HOT!  FlexiCombi Team – MKN: The MKN combi steamer FlexiCombi Team is a single appliance equipped with two cooking chambers so the user can work in an extremely flexible way with two cooking modes simultaneously. The appliance is operated using the intuitive MagicPilot touch control. The touch screens for both cooking chambers are situated at eye level in the upper part of the appliance. The comfortable height ensures particularly ergonomic operation and the lower door handle is turned 180° for convenience.

 ETRO amenity kits for Japan Airlines – WESSCO: Japan Airlines (JAL) introduced new amenity kits made by travel amenities expert WESSCO International in collaboration with Italian luxury fashion house ETRO for customers in international First Class and long-haul Business Class. These represent the first airline amenity kits with the Italian luxury brand company. Visit WESSCO at WTCE, hall A1, stand 1B10  |  PAX INTERNATIONAL  |  93

WHAT’S HOT!  Fruit and nut mixes – FlyFit: This delicious blend of premiumquality nuts and fruits provides nourishment, supplies energy and revitalizes the body. It’s gluten-free, suitable for vegans and a good source of vitamin B2, zinc, iron and calcium. Available in three delicious mixes, including savory options with soya beans and almonds, the line extension will be showcased at the World Travel Catering Expo in Hamburg. Sold in 20, 25 and 40g bags. Visit FlyFit at the WTCE, stand 1G60

 AvioLuxe cushion – Global Inflight Products: The AvioLuxe cushion adds a touch of luxury by providing extra support and comfort for a more enjoyable flight, even for the weariest passengers. Visit Global Inflight Products at WTCE, stand 1E10

 Air Europa headphones – Kaelis: Air Europa’s new Business Class headphones, designed and provided by Kaelis, cancel outside noises and allow passengers to concentrate on their inflight entertainment as if no one was around. The headphones have passive noise cancellation, removable ear cups made of ABS and hightech foam for a perfect fit to the ears, a 1.5-meter cable length and 40mm diameter speakers. As light as they are, these headphones are designed to offer a superior sound experience. Visit Kaelis at WTCE, booth 4E11.

 Get Fruity Bar – DFMi: The award-winning tasty fruit and oat bar – so fruity, it’s good for you! No artificial bits and no cane sugar, plus it’s vegan-friendly and gluten-free. The people at Get Fruity believe in #fruitforall, and their six fruity flavors provide healthy snack options for the allergy prone and health-conscious folk. Visit Get Fruity Bar (DFMi) at WTCE, stand 4F40

 East Coast Bakehouse

 Captain Kangal Children’s amenity kit – FORMIA: FORMIA and Turkish Airlines’ Captain Kangal Children’s amenity kit features a sustainable plush toy that is re-imagined from Turkish Airlines’ original iconic children’s character, representing the guardian dog of protection. The eco-friendly kit is created from sustainable materials and packaged in a reusable canvas bag, designed to deliver an exciting and educational onboard experience while integrating Turkish Airline’s sustainability directive. Visit FORMIA at WTCE, hall A1, stand 1E50 94  |  PAX INTERNATIONAL  |  MARCH/APRIL 2018

– AMI Inflight: Baked in Ireland using real Irish butter, East Coast Bakehouse’s range of cookies and biscuits are full of premium ingredients that deliver on taste and quality. The range includes flavors such as Chocolate Chip, Caramel and Pecan Cookies, Coconut Crunch and Granola Biscuits. All cookies are available in double- or single-pack portions. Visit AMI at WTCE, stand 1G11

Professional wash-up systems for Inflight Catering

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

WHAT’S HOT!  American Airlines sleep offerings – WESSCO: American Airlines launched its new advanced sleep offerings in December 2017, in collaboration with innovative global sleep company Casper. The ground-breaking program has gained extensive coverage in mainstream and flight industry media. The full line includes a mattress pad, pillow, pajamas, duvet, day blanket, lumbar pillow and slippers and is available to passengers seated in long-haul international and transcontinental First or Business Class and Premium Economy. Visit WESSCO at WTCE, hall A1, stand 1B10

 Emirates First Class x BYREDO – Buzz Products:

Emirates recently launched their new First Class Suites onboard their brand-new Boeing 777 aircraft. Each suite is fitted with an inspiration kit featuring a luxury BYREDO skincare Inflight Wellness collection found only on Emirates. Included BYREDO products are a towelette, facial toner, eye cream, pillow mist and sleep oil. The inspiration kit also includes a notebook and pen to jot down stories, memories and ideas. Visit Buzz Products at WTCE, stand 4D50

 Bamboo hot/cold refresh towel – Eyelevel: You only get one chance to make a good first impression, and the hot towel is often the first amenity a passenger will come in contact with at the beginning of your premium service. Eyelevel’s signature luxury bamboo towels will give a fantastic first impression. Made of 100% bamboo, they are absorbent, soft and a pleasure to use with great feedback from customers who reorder time and time again.


MKN Maschinenfabrik Kurt Neubauer GmbH & Co. KG


Regional Vice President International Sales Stephan Kammel Mobile: (+49) 160 98 91 03 93 E-Mail:

The International Flight Services Association (IFSA) is a 50-year old organization dedicated to the advancement of the multi-billion dollar inflight and railway onboard services industry worldwide.

Choose IFSA Because We... ADVOCATE for our industry with regulatory agencies within the US and globally.

PROVIDE SOLUTIONS by recognizing and celebrating industry leaders who bring innovative solutions to market at IFSA’s annual Expo.

ENGAGE influencers through our one-of-akind events designed to provide networking opportunities with the leading executives in onboard hospitality.

GIVE BACK to our community by developing our future leaders and helping them achieve their educational goals. To date, more than $825,000 in scholarships have been granted to nearly 170 students.

Celebrate excellence and innovation in the onboard services industry with the new IFSA Compass Awards Network with a wide group of colleagues and industry leaders Explore the Expo floor featuring the latest in inflight passenger experience Register today at

Join hundreds of airline, caterer and supplier executives from around the globe committed to elevating the onboard passenger experience at this year’s Annual Conference & Expo.

Co-located with:


Launching the ACA Following the announcement of the formation of the Airline Catering Association this February, PAX International had the opportunity to discuss the association’s bright future with LSG Groups’ Erdmann Rauer, president of the association’s Strategic Committee. Here’s what he had to say about the idea behind the ACA and where the founding members hope to take it PAX International: When was the idea for the ACA first planted? How long has it taken to get to this stage? Erdmann Rauer: The idea of an Airline Catering Association has been on my mind for quite some time. The launch of the WTCE back in 2012 as the numberone airline catering global exhibition was initiated and supported by us. This was the first step in this direction. It has proven to be very successful in terms of exhibitor and visitor numbers, which underlines our thinking that our industry needs a common platform. PAX: Why do you believe that an association of this nature was needed? Rauer: Airline catering is an industry that does not really fit into larger industry sectors such as food production or logistics, and it has inter-dependencies with various very different industries. Airline catering is complex and sensitive – transporting sensitive products a million times every day around the globe, crossing borders and, as such, legislation and regulatory frameworks. Today, we perceive the regulatory frameworks as being inconsistent and not taking into consideration the complexities of airline catering. Therefore, key players have joined forces to get a “bigger voice” in order to work together for a consistent and efficient regulatory environment for the benefit all involved stakeholders, primarily our customers.


PAX: How frequently will the Strategic Committee meet? Rauer: The Strategic Committee meets at least once a year. The first official meeting of the Committee will take place on April 8, 2018, the day before the WTCE in Hamburg.

Erdmann Rauer, LSG Group’s CEO and President of the ACA’s Strategic Committee

build on his experience in trade bodies and the air transport industry.

PAX: Will the ACA have a presence at any trade shows? Will having committee members speak on behalf of the organizations at such industry events be something the founding members would consider doing? Rauer: All current ACA members are and will continue to exhibit individually at trade shows, as those are primarily platforms to meet with customers. We can certainly imagine that the ACA will also have a voice at industry events, most likely through our future Managing Director, Fabio Gamba.

PAX: Are you accepting applications for membership at this moment in time? How do companies go about doing so? Rauer: Yes, we are. Applications should be sent to Fabio Gamba in his position as MD of ACA as of early March. They will then undergo a structured process for verification that all conditions for membership are fulfilled. For Effective Members, this would mean that they should have consolidated global revenues greater than 500 mio EUR in airline catering in the year preceding the application with a significant presence within the EEA and Switzerland, or consolidated revenues greater than 200 mio EUR within the EEA and Switzerland. For Associated Members (no voting rights), they should have consolidated global revenues greater than 500 mio EUR in airline catering in the year preceding the application with no significant presence within the EEA and Switzerland, or consolidated revenues less than 200 mio EUR within the EEA and Switzerland.

PAX: Will the ACA have full-time employees in addition to their committees? Rauer: Fabio Gamba has been entrusted with the management of the ACA Secretariat. In his role as Managing Director of ACA he will shape the association and

PAX: If people want more information on the ACA, where should they turn? Rauer: Ahead of the ACA’s website launch, they can reach out to Fabio Gamba will share his contacts with the industry once he has assumed his position.

PAX: Will the ACA be hosting any industry events? Rauer: The primary focus will not be on industry events, but on addressing common issues. Once we have succeeded in doing so, I can well imagine that we will take this into consideration.

Practical + Inspirational You can have both – that’s the #SpiritOfSPIRIANT

We design everyday essentials that are far from everyday, such as this ‘magician’s box’ that saves up to 50% of trolley space. Whether exploring exciting new sustainable materials or developing ways to make items even lighter, we balance performance with inspiration so that you needn’t compromise. That’s the Spirit of SPIRIANT.

Visit us at the LSG Group booth 1E20 (Hall A1)

Create memorable experiences Treat your customers to a great food experience. Entice them to come back for more. The LSG Group works together with you to create food and service concepts that are tailored to please your specific customers and enhance your brand in their eyes.

Meet us at the WTCE 2018, Hall A1, Booth 1E20 10–12 April, Hamburg, Germany Connecting Experts. Creating Experiences.