PAX International October 2020 Issue

Page 1


New s and analy sis for the passenger ser vices executive

Conscious collaboration When passenger experience matters most

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5 g of beef bacon crumbles

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1 fennel frond

12 toasted pumpkin seeds

A smidgen of paprika

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1 finely chopped scallion head

4 crushed black pepper grains

5 tiny square-cut pieces of smoked salmon

A dab of togarashi

8 drops of balsamic vinegar

A drizzle of truffle oil

A touch of cayenne pepper

A trickle of hoisin sauce

9 cilantro leaves

A dash of hot sauce

12 drops of fish sauce

15 g of crumbled feta

8 croutons

1 finely chopped jalapeno

5 finely chopped coriander leaves

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Seeking solutions



s we were putting this issue of PAX International together, some interesting news moved through the commercial aviation supply community illustrating the need for collaboration. In Amsterdam, dnata partnered up with technology and food delivery companies to develop a fast, efficient meal delivery service for one of its airline customers, Transavia. With the help of an app commonly used for ordering meals at home, passengers can now get a range of tasty meals delivered to their flight departing Schiphol Airport. “App-led food delivery services continue to grow immensely across the world, with the ease of use, choice of cuisine and loyalty driving incredible consumer uptake,” said Robin Padgett, Divisional Senior Vice President of dnata’s catering division in the October 12 announcement. “By partnering with the leader in this field, we’re able to deliver exactly what customers want to their seat. Passengers are no longer restricted to what’s available in the air.” The IFE portion of cabin service has been pioneering the use of airline apps to help passengers program and plan their entertainment choices (Singapore Airlines is a prime example). The average smart phone has more than 40 apps, so it is no surprise that consumer acceptance would bring about

the changes to the airline industry. Another partnership that is linking IFE to food service has dnata teaming up with portable connectivity supplier Bluebox Aviation Systems to drive ancillary revenue onboard aircraft in Australia and New Zealand. “IFE as we knew it was already evolving to deliver so much more than in-flight entertainment, and COVID-19 expedited our delivery of touch-free payments for on-board retail and the digitization of materials that support ancillary revenue generation, such as digital menus and magazines which provide significant advertising revenue for airlines,” said David Brown, Business Development Director, Bluebox. These partnerships represent how ideas, not necessarily new ones, are being prioritized, as necessity is the catalyst of invention. In addition to solving problems, they’re also important to generating innovation across the industry. The kind of innovation that we strive to find in our editorial and deliver in our PAX Panel discussions that you’ll see in this issue. The next one, in cooperation with the Tarsus Group, is in the works as we put this digital issue to press. As our panel discussions evolve and change, we welcome your input and hope to bring you similar stores of industry partners finding a path to solutions in trying times.

years; $400 for three years. Art and photographs will not be returned unless accompanied by return postage. The views expressed in this magazine do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the publisher or editor. July 2019. All rights reserved. Nothing may be reprinted in whole or in part without written permission from the publisher. © PAX International magazine

ISSN 1206-5714 Key title: Pax International

Rick Lundstrom Editor-in-Chief PAX International




Features RAIL NEWS


EXPLORING NEW ROUTES LSG Sky Chefs New Zealand has inked a deal to cater three trains for KiwiRail, marking another strategic pivot in its dedication to create success despite the pandemic


16 17


18 19

A STEP IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION The Airline Catering Association provides an update as it continues to advocate for the industry TRAY TALES These suppliers are taking sustainability, passenger confidence and airline restrictions into account as they launch products for inflight food and drink service CHANGING HANDS The catering and duty free sales operations of Korean Air will be rolled into a new corporation with a Korean investment company as the primary owner HOW COVID-19 IS INFLUENCING PASSENGER FOOD HABITS José Lirio Silva, Head of Onboard Retail Europe for the LSG Group’s onboard retail expert brand, Retail inMotion, explores the current food habits in the airline industry and discusses some encouraging trends


Suppliers and caterers discuss sustainability and food service solutions in second PAX Panel

22 23




New s and analy sis for the passenger ser vices executive


Retail inMotion’s José Lirio Silva, Head of Onboard Retail Europe, looks at the current food trends in the airline industry, on page 19


When passenger experience matters most

Departments EDITOR’S NOTE






6  OCTOBER 2020

CATERING KOSHER Emirates Flight Catering will train chefs and open a dedicated facility called Kosher Arabia early next year SASCO’S STAND Vietnam’s newest airline caterer is going through a launch year like few others and building up a wealth of experience ESSENTIAL KNOWLEDGE LSG Group Director of Global Communications, Waldo Martin, pens this Q&A with regional Head of Operations Value Chain Edgard Graterol about how a team in North America met the pandemic with a training program designed to keep their employees safe and healthy



Conscious collaboration

THE TRUST FACTOR The end of the year has Flying Food Group waiting for longtime customers to again resume full schedules into the United States


HEALTH V. LUXURY In the first installment of PAX Panel, the new virtual roundtable discussion series, Angie Fung, Managing Director Asia-Pacific, SPIRIANT; Addy Ng, Design Director, Amenities, SPIRIANT; Andrew Yiu, Air Canada; and Joel Fragata, Head of In-Flight Product, TAP Air Portugal, discuss how safety and hygiene are top of mind for providers, but that the importance of luxury has not been forgotten AMENITIES ROUNDUP Here’s a snapshot of amenity kit news from key suppliers


DRIVING CHANGE FORMIA CEO and Managing Partner Roland Grohman shares how the company is approaching sustainability through the pandemic


34 36 38

INNOVATION STATION These onboard snacks, beverages and solutions are fit for the future, no matter what that may look like


JUICY DETAILS This beverage producer boasts a portfolio of water and juices for health-conscious flyers CHEERS TO CHANGE Until airlines start serving alcohol again, companies like Crafthouse Cocktails are finding new business in the airport environment



DRESSING FOR SUCCESS, PROTECTION AND PRESERVATION This aviation uniform supplier predicts sustainability and digitization are the next biggest trends in flight crew, cabin crew and ground staff uniforms



GETTING SOME AIR Air Astana Catering Manager Graham Hobbs tells PAX International how operations are adapting to the return to travel



FUTURE FORWARD Anne De Hauw, Founder of IN Air Travel Experience and Member of the Advisory Board of the International Aviation Waste Management Association, explores how the current aviation market presents an opportunity to digitize, demonstrate adaptability and innovate quickly to create sustainable experiences


50 A CHANGING WORLD PAX International’s Asia Correspondent Jeremy Clark shares an update on caterers and suppliers in the region as the crisis continues



34 50

THE WAY BACK IFSA and APEX CEO Joe Leader fills PAX International in on the group’s plans and what he sees as encouraging signs from several fronts


56 RESILIENCE AND PLANNING The International Flight Services Association heads into the end of the year with some new policies in place and a goal to help give direction to the industry, when business and the industry is in flux


REOPENING REQUIRED With airlines burning through revenue, IATA is calling on governments worldwide to find a way to open up





Monty’s Bakehouse rolls out low-touch solutions Monty’s Bakehouse has used its time during the pandemic developing solutions at its Innovation Centre. “Having spoken to a number of customers around the globe, we fully understand the need to pre-empt potential solutions that support their onboard product offering,” said Bridget Paice, Director of Key Accounts at Monty’s Bakehouse, in the August press release. “[This ensures] that we can adapt products to the ever-changing onboard service requirements too, whether it be hot, chilled or ambient.” Using five key trends identified by Monty’s insights team, the supplier has launched a variety of low-touch products, including a freeze-thaw offering and duo box. The freeze-thaw boxed meal solution has a nine-month shelf life, reducing waste. It is then defrosted and served chilled. It features tamper-proof sealing and can be used for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The frozen, sealed and tamper-proof duo box product could be used as a second service chilled product. It can be adapted to the destination profile and provides variety to the onboard service.

The frozen, sealed and tamperproof duo box by Monty’s Bakehouse makes an ideal second service chilled product and can be adapted for the airline


Tillamook cheese announces individually packaged cheeseboards Tillamook, represented by airline broker McGuire & Associates, has announced the launch of a range of individually packaged cheeseboards, available in four distinct combinations featuring Tillamook cheese, fruit spreads and artisanal

crackers. These new boards feature eight grams of protein and 10 grams of sugar or less. Each board is individually self-contained and packaged, offering the modern snacker a clean and healthy product with minimal touchpoints with cabin crew.

Tillamook Cheeseboards are now available in a variety of flavors for domestic and international outbound services

8  OCTOBER 2020

ELEVATED END-TO-END SAFETY With the introduction of Air Canada CleanCare+, we’ve elevated the steps we’re taking to keep you safe throughout your travel with us. Learn more at



INFINITELIVES introduces green sustainability initiatives

Greening Landfill initiative takes waste from aircraft off load and separates single-use plastics

INFINITELIVES has announced the creation of three sustainability initiatives. As pressure to demonstrate and implement sustainability solutions continues for airlines, INFINITELIVES is introducing eco-friendly programs that offer the potential for cash back, reduced municipal charges and stronger environmental, social and governance (ESG) programs. The initiatives include the Greening Landfill, Green Bag Sustainability and Zero Single-Use Plastics in the Cabin. Greening Landfill takes waste from aircraft off load and separates single-use plastics; dramatically reducing the volume of waste trucked to landfill and reduces the landfill charges paid by the airline or caterer. Green Bag Sustainability allows crews to collect all plastic glasses using the Green Bags. Customers are encouraged to join the initiative by dropping their plastic glasses into the Green Bags. On the ground, INFINITELIVES will collect the Green Bags from each flight and take the contents away for sterilization and repurposing to new, valuable onboard service items Zero Single-Use Plastics in the Cabin zeros in on the importance to move to zero plastics onboard. Recyclable content materials such as Limex - limestone composite material - are now available to create identical-looking dishes and cups that are cost neutral to existing plastic dishes.

10  OCTOBER 2020


Etihad Airways teams up with Lumitics to reduce food waste Etihad Airways has partnered with Singapore food technology startup Lumitics to trial the use of computer vision and machine learning to reduce food wastage on Etihad flights. The partnership will see Etihad and Lumitics track unconsumed Economy Class meals from Etihad’s flights, with the collated data used to highlight food consumption and wastage patterns across the network. Analysis of the results will help to reduce food waste, improve meal planning and reduce operating costs. Lumitics’ Insight Lite will track unconsumed meals from a plane when it touches down at an airport. Using AI and image recognition, Insight Lite is able to differentiate and identify the types and quantity of unconsumed meals based on the design of the meal foils, without requiring manual intervention. Etihad Airways has signed the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the United Nations and has committed to the UAE Food Waste Pledge led by the UAE Ministry of Climate Change and Environment. The pilot scheme with Lumitics is one of many sustainability focused initiatives undertaken by the airline, following the launch of its Etihad Greenliner program, which is designed to help improve operating efficiency and sustainable practice through engagement with expert partners.

Etihad Airways and Lumitics have teamed up to reduce food waste on Etihad flights



ESA astronaut to take LSG Group snacks into space When European Space Agency astronaut Matthias Maurer leaves for the International Space Station (ISS) at the end of 2021, the LSG Group will supply several “Crew Choice Meals” as a supplement to standard space food. The bonus meals, intended as treats for Maurer and the rest of the crew onboard the ISS, are made sufficiently durable through autoclaving. Autoclaving uses high-pressure steam and guarantees both the necessary shelf life of two years as well as the preservation of many of the nutrients, which is particu-

larly important in space food. “Thanks to the technology, we can make complex recipes suitable for everyday use and send culinary delights to the ISS,” said Jörg Hofmann, Head of Global Culinary Excellence at LSG Group in the October press release. “Of course, the technology can also be applied for catering on earth to ensure that highquality dishes have a long shelf life without refrigeration.” The special feature of the LSG Group’s new space mission is the competition to select the final dishes. Ten restaurateurs from Maurer’s homeland, the Saarland region, will submit a two-course menu from each of their restaurants. These submissions will remain available for public voting on the Saarland Tourist Board’s website until November 7, 2020. A panel of judges will then taste the three dishes with the highest votes on a Saarland Radio television program on November 21, 2020. The winning dishes will be prepared by the LSG Group, autoclaved and flown to the ISS. Next to Tobias Hans, the Minister-President of the Saarland region, Jörg Hofmann will also a member of the jury. The LSG Group catered for ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst in 2018, providing a semblance of home on the ISS, which is located 400 kilometers above the earth’s surface. LSG Group takes its culinary excellence to space





FORMIA expands its Clean Kit offering Since the launch of its Clean Kit earlier this year, FORMIA has continued to develop and evolve its offering of PPE and sanitizer products and has recently announced its expanded Clean Kit range. The enhanced range offers airline customers more choice of products and concepts, and brings more brand partners from FORMIA’s extensive portfolio into the cabin. The latest brands announced include innovative sanitizing experts Raze, iconic lifestyle brand Smiley, Norwegian skincare specialists Sprekenhus and health and wellness brand iFLYSmart. By offering airline partners a broader selection of collaboration opportunities, FORMIA is both putting the safety and welfare of airline passengers first, and helping restore passenger confidence in travel by creating an environment that evokes joy and comfort. Underpinning the developed Clean Kit range is considered, sustainable packaging and material solutions such as washable kraft paper and recycled PET, highlighting FORMIA’s commitment to sustainability.

FORMIA has expanded its Clean Kit range offering more brands from its portfolio, including Raze, Smiley, Sprekenhus and iFLYSmart

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12  OCTOBER 2020

RAIL NEWS LSG Sky Chefs New Zealand is catering scenic routes for KiwiRail, including Coastal Pacific route from Christchurch to Picton



SG Sky Chefs New Zealand Ltd. (LSG NZ) is exploring new business avenues during the pandemic, announcing in September its first ever rail partnership and expanding its existing range of supermarket offerings. LSG NZ is catering three of state-owned rail operator KiwiRail’s scenic trains, known as “The Great Journeys of New Zealand.” The service includes the TranzAlpine route, the Coastal Pacific route (Christchurch to Picton) and the Northern Explorer (Auckland to Hamilton). The caterer provides a full offering with a cold breakfast, lunch, cheese platters and farewell canapés. Meals for the TranzAlpine and Coastal Pacific journeys are produced in Christchurch, while LSG NZ’s facilities in Auckland and Hamilton will supply the Northern Explorer starting in November. “The trains really take you on an adventure. You can take pictures, look around, and enjoy our great Kiwi hospitality with fresh, delicious, daily-made food on the side,” Bilal Ozturk, Sales and Service Director at LSG Sky Chefs New Zealand and Pacific, tells PAX International in October. “Huge respect for the landscapes and the country itself. It’s amazing. It’s beautiful.” The meals are inspired by the scenery of each route. “We always offer different options for different locations, like we do for

14  OCTOBER 2020

LSG Sky Chefs New Zealand has inked a deal to cater three trains for KiwiRail, marking another strategic pivot in its dedication to create success despite the pandemic by JANE HOBSON

our different airline customers,” Ozturk says. “All those customers bring different flavors to your kitchen. We developed the menus together using local ingredients, such as fruit and vegetables and of course the awesome cheese.” Additionally, the company supported KiwiRail with finding the right equipment such as trays, drawers, tableware, glassware, service ware, napkins and tray mats. Ozturk says LSG NZ hosted in-person workshops, trials and tastings with KiwiRail whenever the pandemic situation allowed, most of which happened in the Christchurch kitchen. “This shows that opportunities never end. Challenge is always good because challenges bring new rewards.” While the contract with KiwiRail covers one year, Bilal says LSG NZ is of course optimistic and confident that

Ariel Quiroga, Account Manager, LSG NZ (left) with Bilal Ozturk, Sales and Service Director at LSG Sky Chefs New Zealand and Pacific, at the Auckland LSG NZ facility in October 2020

this is the beginning of a successful and long relationship with KiwiRail. The agreement with KiwiRail comes as a result of LSG NZ’s other ventures in the consumer market. Ozturk says KiwiRail approached LSG NZ after seeing the meals and sandwiches it is developing for grocery distributor Foodstuffs’ retail franchises New World and PAKn’SAVE. LGS NZ made moves into the supermarkets sector in June with in store ready-to-heat meals. Next, the caterer is planning to introduce a cooked lobster offering to its supermarket customers. Along with providing catering services for airline and train customers under its LSG Sky Chefs brand, the LSG Group also develops software solutions for onboard retail programs using its expertise in logistics, culinary and technology.








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A step in the right direction The Airline Catering Association provides an update as it continues to advocate for the industry by JANE HOBSON


n Europe, the Brussels-based Airline Catering Association (ACA) is demanding the support of governing bodies to allow free movement. The continent was undoubtedly one of the hardest and earliest hit regions, reporting upwards of 236, 000 deaths and 6.5 million cases as of October 15, according to data retrieved from the European Centre for Disease Prevention. “Aviation has been one of the hardest hit sectors in Europe and in the world,” Fabio Gamba, Managing Director, ACA, tells PAX International in mid-October. “The hopes of seeing some forms of recovery in Europe or the US have partly waned because of largely uncoordinated policies that have made air travel much more cumbersome than necessary.” In September, the ACA published the Open Letter to Mrs. Ursrula von der Leyen, President, European Commission stating that it fully supports the Commission’s proposed EU coordination framework for travel restrictions for travelers from higher-risk areas. The framework outlines measures for Members States that support travel during the pandemic. The open letter was signed by the ACA, Airport Council International, the European Travel Commission and the International Air Transport Association (IATA), among others. “We thought that the EU coordination

16  OCTOBER 2020

framework was long overdue, and we wanted to encourage those still reluctant Member States to adopt and implement it,” Gamba says. “Of course, in itself it will not suffice to fully restore passenger confidence, but it is a step in the right direction. What we wholeheartedly support about the framework is first and foremost its request for coordination.” The framework encourages the use of digital solutions to simplify processes related to passenger arrivals in Member States by aircraft, and Gamba says the ACA predicts a lot more digital data requirements will come into place for caterers. “The digitalization of the industry is already well underway; the technology is quite mature in many aspects. Catering is no exception and it, too, is confronted with its own digitization agenda. I am just not sure how the pandemic will affect it.” Part of the Association’s advocacy throughout the pandemic includes the release of the summer travel guidelines on the safety of inflight food and the system it calls the ‘4Ps’ in June. The 4Ps represent People, Premises, Policies, Processes & Procedures and Procurement in assessing risk. Gamba says the ACA has received positive feedback from the industry on these guidelines, particularly from small inflight caterers

Fabio Gamba, Managing Director, Airline Catering Association

who are not receiving other guidance on how to ensure business continuity while faced with lower volumes. The Association is discussing a possible second edition with the International Flight Services Association (IFSA) that could be released before the end of 2020. “With the evolving of the situation we realize some additional aspects could be worth adding,” Gamba says. For example, the ACA is looking to help caterers adjust to new forms of auditing that airlines have established during the pandemic. “Having flown myself during these last weeks, I witnessed how people felt so relieved when the flight crew came with snacks and drinks. It meant that they could take off their personal protective equipment, indulge themselves, break this boring routine of sitting for a few hours with a face mask on. Traveling can be so cumbersome. People will want to continue to count on these welcome interludes once they resume their travels. Airlines know it.”



The ‘Palm’ option of stainless steel cutlery by Sola

These suppliers are taking sustainability, passenger confidence and airline restrictions into account as they launch products for inflight food and drink service


ake an airline concerned about passenger experience and the ongoing concerns about cabin waste and you have a recipe for anxiety for most everyone involved. This handful of tableware and serveware products represent efforts by suppliers to listen to customers at a time when solutions are needed quickly for problems that didn’t exist just months ago.

Infinite use

Gispol has re-imagined rotable drinkware with its ‘infinite use’ plastic cup. The Lilly Glass is available as a replacement for single-use tumblers and wine glasses during inflight drink service. It is shatter, odor, scratch and stain resistant, has long-lasting clarity, is BPA free, dishwasher safe and lightweight. The elegant cup is 79mm wide and 79.5mm tall with a capacity of 220ml. “It’s a game changer,” says Ricardo Alves, General Manager at Gispol. “The product is an upgrade from all disposable glass solutions and designs. It sends a strong message to the passenger about sustainability.”

Waiter’s friend

To help make work in the cabin as convenient as possible, RMT Global Partners has introduced an

The ‘infinite use’ plastic cup by Gispol is shatter, odor, scratch and stain resistant, has longlasting clarity, is BPA free and lightweight, and can be put in the dishwasher

all-in-one tool featuring a corkscrew, bottle opener and extendible foil cutter. The service item was designed with feedback from crew in mind. “[It] is a welcome addition to any busy galley or drinks service,” says Richard Tuttle, President and CEO at RMT. “The incredibly compact design and vital features makes this bottle opener perfect as a pocket-sized multi-tool your cabin crew can’t do without.” The core, lever and corkscrew are stamped from 420 stainless steel with a handle made of high-quality polypropylene for a smooth and comfortable hold. It features a double-hinged lever for a smooth pull and that can manage long corks. The extendible foil cutter adjusts to a variety of bottle tops for convenience, with four circular blades that remove foils safely for a professional finish.

Upgrading disposables

Global Inflight Products (GIP) has designed a cost effective, disposable replacement for First and Business Class meal service products, including First Class tray table linen and a napkin pouch for cutlery. The sustainability-minded products are non-woven and printed in a tone-on-tone jacquard-look – which can then be customized with the airline logo. “This is a new opportunity for the

industry to streamline it offerings to support the health and safety of passengers while improving the environmental impact as well,” says Lisa Banzaoui, CEO at GIP. The company’s Green is Possible line includes products made from sustainable and compostable materials.

Palm perfect

In development ahead of the pandemic, Sola Netherlands is introducing its range of super lightweight cutlery. The steel cutlery is part of Sola’s preparation for the EU ban on single-use plastics – which is looming heavily on airlines as COVID19 continues to demand disposables. “We reinvented a concept solution to the plastic problems and [have now] adapted it to a solution for this extreme challenge,” Sola Netherlands Export Manager Hans Engels told PAX International in June. “Despite all the restrictions and distancing that will come and go, service is the one thing people both want and indeed need.” The washable, recyclable ultralight range adheres to environmental restrictions and is offered in three patterns, Oasis, Palm and Manhattan, which makes it suitable for various service styles. All patterns are available in 0.5mm or 1.00mm thickness. PAX-INTL.COM



Korean Air has signed a business transfer agreement with Hahn & Company for the sale of its inflight catering and inflight sales business units

Changing hands The catering and duty free sales operations of Korean Air will be rolled into a new corporation with a Korean investment company as the primary owner by RICK LUNDSTROM


longtime airline catering operation will be mostly in the hands of a private equity investment firm, as the COVID-19 virus outbreak forces airlines to shed businesses units. Korean Air at the end of August signed a business transfer agreement with Hahn & Company for the sale of its inflight catering and lucrative inflight sales business units. The deal was hammered out August 25 at a Korean Air Board meeting in Jung-gu, Seoul. Hahn & Company will pay 990 billion won (US$864.5 million) for the catering business, with operations transferred to a new corporation to be established by Hahn & Company. In August, the airline said the full deal will take two to three months to complete, and details were still being finalized in October. Korean Air plans to acquire a 20

18  OCTOBER 2020

percent stake of the new corporation in order to keep its supply of inflight meals and duty-free goods. Korean Air also plans to sign an inflight meal supply contract and an inflight duty-free sales contract with the new corporation before the end of the deal. The first move in the deal was signing a Memorandum of Understanding with Hahn & Company on July 7, with discussions on follow-up steps later. “Korean Air and Hahn & Company plan to work together closely to ensure stable business operation of the new corporation while making efforts to successfully complete the deal based on the business transfer agreement,” said a release from Korean Air. Korean Air is making various self-help efforts to protect the company’s survival in preparation for the prolonged effects COVID-19. It has recently

secured more than 1 trillion won (US$872.3 million) through paid-in capital increase, and all of its executives and employees are also contributing to the company’s self-rescue efforts by returning wages and joining an unpaid leave. Korean Air is currently selling its assets, including a site in Songhyeondong, Jongno-gu, Seoul, and a stake in Wangsan Leisure Development Co., an operator of Wangsan Marina. The carrier’s catering business provides an average of 71,000 meals a day out of its unit at Incheon Airport. In addition to its airline catering unit, Korean Air Catering owns its own farm located on Jeju Island in the southern part of the country. It raises thousands of chickens, a herd of Angus cattle and has three high-tech hydroponic greenhouses producing red pepper, cherry tomatoes and blueberries. But the other lucrative business in the sale is Korean Air’s duty free sales operation. In 2019, The Moodie Davitt Report, duty free industry watcher, reported that the airline’s duty free sales was expected to earn between US$134 million to US$135 million, and would continue its legacy as the world’s most successful inflight retailer. The airline’s well-known Sky Shop was part of the design of Korean Air’s first A380.


Retail inMotion sees increased hygiene standards and passenger trust in onboard food consumption as the two major trends that will define industry innovation in years to come

HOW COVID-19 IS INFLUENCING PASSENGER FOOD HABITS José Lirio Silva, Head of Onboard Retail Europe for the LSG Group’s onboard retail expert brand, Retail inMotion, explores the current food habits in the airline industry and discusses some encouraging trends


ore than six months into the COVID-19 pandemic, the world is slowly beginning to come to terms with the ‘new normal’ and all the realities that have emerged in the wake of this crisis, including social distancing and increased hygiene standards. In this column, José Lirio Silva, Head of Onboard Retail Europe for Retail inMotion, looks at how the virus is influencing passenger food habits.

With crisis comes rapid innovation

Crises are notorious for speeding up the conversations that usually bring adjustments. Although the pandemic has dramatically altered the onboard retail experience, some aspects remain unchanged, such as travelers’ expectations in terms of options. They expect a broad food and beverage selection but understand that the offer may be restricted due to the pandemic and its repercussions. One thing is certain: the trends that were booming before the pandemic, such as healthy eating and sustainable sourcing, will still influence the ‘new normal’ but to a different extent. It might seem that sustainable foods have taken a back seat in these past few months, but they will pick up again. Biodegradable mate-

rial, local sourcing, organic options still remain crucial to consumers but other trends are more important for the time being, like health consciousness and the demand for higher hygiene standards.

How COVID-19 is accelerating passengers’ desire for healthy and sustainable food

We, at Retail inMotion, believe that social distancing will greatly influence the inflight service offer and processes. We have identified at least two trends that will determine the course of our industry for years to come, namely increased hygiene standards and passengers’ trust in food consumption onboard. COVID-19 has had a significant impact on consumers’ lives, as they continue to deal with stress factors such as job insecurity, quarantine and home schooling. These massive lifestyle changes result in increased stress levels, which often affect food choices. Nowadays, consumers are putting a greater emphasis on the basic assortment (diminished demand for higher-priced products, such as premium wines). At the same time, consumers focus even more on their health and well-being. We expect to see an increased demand in healthy food options onboard. Hygiene awareness onboard has

José Lirio Silva, Head of Onboard Retail Europe, Retail inMotion

increased considerably, thus influencing crew processes, which translates into minimized contact between passengers and crew (for example, all food and beverage products are offered within one walkthrough). The increased hygiene awareness and simultaneous demand for a wholesome food and beverage offer will encourage topics like pre-order and digital menus onboard.

The next step in the onboard retail experience

In the last few months, airlines have become more interested in exploring the Buy-on-Board solution as an alternative to traditional catering, given the multitude of benefits such as cost savings, minimal risk exposure, heightened hygiene requirements, and the need for quick implementation. The ‘new normal’ will require innovative solutions, such as Onboard Retail Lite (OBR LITE), Retail inMotion’s new approach to onboard retail. This solution allows us to implement an Onboard Retail concept within eight to ten weeks with minimum viable products and services. OBR LITE is ideal for pilot projects, tight time restrictions or phased transition to retail. PAX-INTL.COM



PACKAGING PRIORITIES Suppliers and caterers discuss sustainability and food service solutions in second PAX Panel by JANE HOBSON

ALAN HAYES, Sales & Managed Services Director, dnata

MARTIN HAMBLETON, Head of Procurement, En Route International

VASSILIOS GEORGAKOPOULOS, Director Customer Concepts, LSG Group


ustainability remains a major focus for airlines despite the increased demand for disposable products. To deliver this properly, caterers and food packaging suppliers must be more agile, adaptable and flexible than ever. Episode Two of PAX Panel, the virtual roundtable discussion series, entitled PAX Panel: Food Production, Packaging and Presentation in the Pandemic Era, Martin Hambleton, Head of Procurement, En Route International; Vassilios Georgakopoulos, Director Customer Concepts, LSG Group; and, Alan Hayes, Sales & Managed Services Director, dnata, discuss how sustainability is still a major focus. “It may be a slight misconception that these priorities have gone by the wayside, but there’s without doubt been a shift in focus,” Hayes says. The global outbreak of COVID-19 has also caused passengers to improve their diet, and as a result, dnata is seeing some very specific healthy dietary requests, he adds. En Route International launched light-touch snacking and meal solutions in mid-May. They are designed to be flexible so that airlines can choose the options most suited to their passengers’ behaviors and preferences. The company also rolled out two other ranges, “ovenable” bakery items and a “flip and peel” cheese platter where the lid becomes the plate.

20  OCTOBER 2020

“You have to create something that’s absolutely sustainable in the nature of its packaging itself and also deliver it globally,” explains Hambleton. LSG Group developed a standardized food and packaging product portfolio that can be used either on its own (disposable) or combined with the existing airline equipment and can be customized on a regional basis. The equipment supports minimal contact with crew and maximum passenger satisfaction. “Our designed food and packaging solutions have a perception of premiumness and safety, as it’s important to pacify the customers and [instill] a kind of confidence that the food is

wholesome,” says Georgakopoulos. The opening of the new dnata unit in Dublin in mid-September came together the same as any other despite COVID-19, Hayes says. “It’s quite unusual to have a success story in the middle of this crisis,” he says, adding that the project partners worked tirelessly to ensure the pandemic was not an excuse. The physical building itself, it was held to the same “incredibly high” controls and design certifications as all of its other units. “Making sure that level of confidence reaches our customers – and that our customers can then talk to their customers – has been a key part of the communication process.”


The trust factor

Flying Food Group opened a new unit in San Francisco in the spring of this year


The end of the year has Flying Food Group waiting for longtime customers to again resume full schedules into the United States


n the fall of last year, Flying Food Group filled the left-hand column of its FFG Update newsletter with stories of new and continuing contracts with airline customers from three continents. All of the airlines had years, and sometimes decades, of association with the Chicago-based caterer. LOT Polish Airlines topped the longtime loyalty list, as a Flying Food Group customer since 1990. Next up was Singapore Airlines that had purchased meal service from the company since 2003. Other associations not mentioned in the news go back further. SAS had its first Flying Food Group meals more than 30 years ago, Alitalia 29 years ago and Korean Air 27 years ago. Associations like that are something Nicolas Rondeau, Executive Vice President Airlines Sales and Marketing, says the company values greatly as the air travel industry slowly emerges from the worldwide outbreak of COVID-19. Load factors are still far below industry highs and scheduled service is lagging. Still, he tells PAX International that the company delivers a diverse selection of cuisines to airlines from Europe, Asia and the Middle East daily.

22  OCTOBER 2020

But to get back to robust schedules will take some time, and the scope of the challenge is revealed in figures from the Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS). In April of 2020, the number of international passengers had dropped to below 400,000 for the month; a figure that in the spring of a normal year is in the tens of millions. The number of international travelers had increased slightly to 770,000 by June, according to the most recent information available from the BTS at the time this was written. International flights (normally a six-figure statistic in any month) had fallen to fewer than 9,000 in April and increased slightly to 11,387 by June, according to BTS. Until traffic again returns, Flying Food Group and other caterers in the United States will adjust operations to fit guidelines of the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention. Protocols for screening staff and wearing of personal protective equipment has been in place since March. Other adjustments are taking place in day-to-day business. Rondeau says the company is keeping operational expenses and staffing in line with regular revenue streams. Flying Food Group is fortunate that

Nicolas Rondeau, Executive Vice President Airlines Sales and Marketing, Flying Food Group’

there has been a significant rebound in its Fresh Food Solutions business that supplies products to the consumer marketplace. As workers began trickling back to offices and work over the summer, increase in demand has followed. “It is an area that is reopening much faster than the airline business,” Rondeau says. Rondeau says he is getting requests from airlines for First and Business Class meals that are pre-plated in the kitchen, and bread that is pre-wrapped. For the company’s airline customers, meal presentations are now done in the digital realm. The new meal presentation format has been accepted by customers that have come to expect what the years of association with the caterer have shown them. “Right now, the trust factor is very important,” Rondeau says.



kosher From left to right: Jeff Schoenfeld, Partner, Brown Brothers Harriman; Eli Epstein, Businessman; Ross Kriel, Founder, CCL Holdings; Godrume Kriel, Head of Kashrut, CCL Holdings; Eric Fingerhut, President & CEO, The Jewish Federations of North America; Saeed Mohammed, Chief Executive Officer, Emirates Flight Catering; Rabbi Yehuda Sarna, Chief Rabbi of the Jewish Council of the Emirates; Mark Medlin, Executive Vice President Finance Resource Development – UJA Federation of New York

Emirates Flight Catering will train chefs and open a dedicated facility called Kosher Arabia early next year by RICK LUNDSTROM


hen the travel market recovers and Dubai returns to being the worldwide draw that it has been for decades, Emirates Flight Catering (EKFC) will have kosher food at the ready with a stand-alone purpose-built facility. Announced this fall, Kosher Arabia will be certified by the Kashrut Division of the Orthodox Union (OU), and South African Union of Orthodox Synagogues (UOS). The culinary team at EKFC will handle all food production, while a company called CCL Holdings will provide certification and production supervision including support for menu development and foodstuff procurement. In addition to training EKFC’s existing team of chefs, the caterer plans to hire dedicated kosher-trained supervisors to ensure the food meets the firm guidelines.

“As one of the world’s largest catering operations, EKFC has the unique ability to cater for all requirements across various industries,” Saeed Mohammed, Chief Executive Officer EKFC tells PAX International. “By setting up our own capability to produce kosher food, we are confident that we can better serve our customers not only in the aviation sector, but also in the hospitality, food and beverage, and events sector including the upcoming Expo 2020.” Important events, and even the recent diplomatic agreement between the UAE and Israel, are only part of the reason for the new facility. Saeed Mohammed says the UAE has always had a strong demand for kosher meals, particularly by EKFC’s airline customers. Watching the global trends, the caterer expects that demand for kosher food in the UAE and region will grow quickly.

Though it is largely dependent on the recovery of international travel, Saeed Mohammed says early indications show that Dubai could see more than 50,000 visitors from around the world per year that could require kosher food. Ross Kriel, founder of CCL Holdings, and President of the Jewish Council of the Emirates (JCE) added, in a release from EKFC, “Kosher Arabia was set up to supply kosher food to meet the growing demand in the UAE, not only from the Jewish community here but also from other consumers looking for healthy and halal-compliant options.” The UAE is home to people from nearly 200 nations, including a thriving Jewish community. In September 2019, the UAE announced the construction of an interfaith complex in Abu Dhabi, which will house a Jewish synagogue, Christian church and Islamic mosque. PAX-INTL.COM



SASCO’s stand Vietnam’s newest airline caterer is going through a launch year like few others and building up a wealth of experience by RICK LUNDSTROM

Keerthi “Happy” Hapugasdeniya, General Manager Inflight Services, SASCO


n just about any other country, the introduction of an entirely new catering facility at the start of a memorable 2020 would have signaled hardship from the beginning.

The Southern Airports Services Joint Stock Company (SASCO), however, is better able to weather the pandemic due to the efforts of its home country’s government, a resilient economy and a bustling tourism market. With the spread of the virus handled on a national basis, the country is reaching out to the world. “All efforts were taken very seriously by the general public and [followed] rules set by the authorities without a hitch,” says Keerthi “Happy” Hapugasdeniya, General Manager, Inflight Services at SASCO’s catering facility at Tan Son Nhat International Airport in Ho Chi Minh City . “The nation got together and [adapted] very quickly to the new way of living.”

With domestic air traffic in the country now open, there is increased demand from SASCO’s launch customer Bamboo Airways, which operates a full service fleet of Embraer E195s for in-country service. These aircraft mainly bring local business travelers to Can Tho International Airport in Mekong Delta, where an average of 5 million to 6 million travelers pass through in a given year, Hapugasdeniya tells PAX International. The SASCO unit at Tan Son Nhat has the capability to serve more than 10,000 meals per day. Hapugasdeniya says that Bamboo operates a two Class service with meals changed monthly. International air travel is reopening slowly, with flights to Japan and South Korea resuming. Passengers returning to Vietnam still required quarantine. In addition to flag carrier Vietnam Airlines, the country has Vietjet and Bamboo Airways operating in a nation of 100 million people. One of the Vietnams leading tour company Vietravel has received the license for its airline and will operate its first flight in December.


Beemster Cheese variety bo x

The same traditions... repackaged for a changed World It seems that everything has changed, but for Beemster, traditional artisan cheesemaking has not.

We have re-aligned all our packaging and supply solutions to a new and highly specified touch-free system ensuring passengers can still appreciate Beemster’s award-winning flavours with an absolute guarantee of safety.

24  OCTOBER 2020

Whenever life gets back to normal, we CAN help

to recycle


Thorough handwashing is a must at LSG Group units, and everywhere, to reduce the spread of contagious viruses

Essential knowledge LSG Group Director of Global Communications, Waldo Martin, pens this Q&A with regional Head of Operations Value Chain Edgard Graterol about how a team in North America met the pandemic with a training program designed to keep their employees safe and healthy

A Edgard Graterol, Head of Operations Value Chain North America, LSG Group

26  OCTOBER 2020

s an essential business, LSG Group knew from the beginning of the pandemic that its inflight catering units would have to adapt quickly to a new way of working – one that would take prevention, safety and hygiene to a whole new level. This would require a plan for full compliance with the new rules and provide necessary knowledge to keep all employees safe and allow the operations to continue producing meals, not only for their traditional customers but for several new ones acquired during the crisis. In this industry Q&A, Director of Global Communications Waldo Martin talks to Edgard Graterol, Head of Operations Value Chain (OVC) in North America, about how the pandemic training package was developed and how the Group has conducted more than 16,000 COVID training sessions, and 5,000 Return to Work programs with the help of an online learning management system.

Working stations with partitions to minimize contact is one of the newly enhanced hygiene features in LSG’s inflight catering kitchens

Temperature checks are conducted upon entering each LSG Group facility

WALDO MARTIN: What triggered the idea for creating a new training curriculum for employees on duty and those returning from leave? EDGARD GRATEROL: The idea goes back to March when the infection rates were just beginning to spike and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued guidelines to help blunt the spread of COVID-19. Right away, we knew we had to adopt them and ensure that our employees followed them, not only in our units still in operation, but also at our regional headquarters. Therefore, we began drafting an instructional plan for on-duty staff members and those coming back to work under our current conditions. This is knowledge they can also apply outside their working hours in order to protect themselves, their families and stay healthy.

GRATEROL: Most sessions are conducted with properly distanced and mask-wearing groups in meeting rooms. Alternatively, people can take individual sessions on their own computers. Our learning management system gives us the ability to assign training and track progress regardless of the way it is administered. One big advantage is that most of the modules are available in English, Spanish and French, the most commonly spoken languages in our units. In the last month alone, we facilitated some 5,000 training sessions for our returning employees and 20,000 overall in the last two months. Installing the Alchemy system has been effective in consolidating and standardizing our onboarding modules. Another advantage of this platform is that it gives us visibility in terms of how our overall training is progressing. It also offers hard evidence of our proactive reaction to the pandemic.

MARTIN: What do the training sessions cover and how long are they? GRATEROL: The sessions cover basic facts about the virus and how to fight it with simple habits like wearing masks, keeping proper distance and assiduously washing our hands. They also cover food and ramp safety, regulated garbage and some modules on how to manage change. The idea is to solidify our knowledge in these areas while operating in the middle of this pandemic. In terms of the length, some can take 10 minutes or less, making them easy to digest and retain. Taken all together, the entire training package for returning employees would require about half a day. But, of course, we break it up in modules. The four courses related to COVID are mandatory for everyone. Returning employees have to take an additional three COVID sessions.

MARTIN: Who else is working with you on this project? GRATEROL: The entire OVC team in North America is involved in this effort under the leadership of Charles Bravo, Director of Occupational Safety, who is temporarily steering our COVID response. There is also Rosie Miranda, Director of Quality, who is monitoring the implications of the pandemic as they relate to quality. Tatiana Bergantin, who is in charge of training and development, Jennifer Echeverry, Head of Lean and Process Management, and Charles Wright, Area Safety Manager. Their teams have been heavily involved in producing and vetting the necessary material. The amount of information that we have had to sort through and adapt in order to have it ready for consumption has been tremendous. But they have been able to successfully create great manuals, training modules and communication aids to help us navigate through this crisis. We believe the knowledge we are providing is positively impacting the lives and safety of all of our employees and their families.

MARTIN: How are you conducting the sessions, and how have you managed to provide so many so far?




HEALTH V. LUXURY In the first installment of PAX Panel, Angie Fung, Managing Director Asia-Pacific, SPIRIANT; Addy Ng, Design Director, Amenities, SPIRIANT; Andrew Yiu, Air Canada; and Joel Fragata, Head of In-Flight Product, TAP Air Portugal, discuss how safety and hygiene are top of mind for providers, but that the importance of luxury has not been forgotten by RICK LUNDSTROM

ANDREW YIU, Vice President of Product, Air Canada

28  OCTOBER 2020

ADDY NG, Design Director, Amenities, SPIRIANT

ANGIE FUNG, Managing Director Asia-Pacific, SPIRIANT

JOEL FRAGATA, Head of In-Flight Product, TAP Air Portugal


arlier in the year, the industry saw amenity providers shift their supply from luxury eye shades, skincare and cosmetics to mass-produced personal protective equipment (PPE) and sanitizers. In September, PAX International published its first PAX Panel, entitled ‘Amenities and comfort in the post-COVID cabin,’ to learn what the future of onboard amenities may look like as the pandemic evolves. With passenger behaviors and expectations still largely up in the air as the situation continues to affect worldwide travel, the panelists shared the sentiment that it will be paramount for amenity suppliers to continue to seek the balance between health and luxury in order to help build passenger confidence and contribute to the industry restart. At Air Canada, Andrew Yiu, Vice President of Product, predicts that contents of the company’s amenity kits will change little in the short term, as the world waits on a COVID-19 vaccine. “As we start to plan the next couple years, we think it is going to be less about luxury and more about well-being in the amenity kit items,” says Yiu. While the thinking is much the same across the ocean in Portugal, TAP Air Portugal recently launched its back-to-normal service initiative. Business Class passengers will see a balance of necessary personal protective equipment teamed with a selection of products from Portuguese fragrance maker Castelbel. Joel Fragata, Head of In-Flight Product at TAP, says that although passengers need to feel safe while flying, those in

the front cabin environment will also want to see product differentiation. Passengers are flying much less often for business, but the challenges of making products that are collectible, environmentally sustainable and desirable remain. “People are behaving in a very different way onboard since this pandemic started and so of course there are new habits, news necessities and new obligations for the airlines,” says Fragata. With a foothold in the Asian market, and a big logistical partner in Lufthansa German Airlines, LSG Group’s SPIRIANT was able to adapt quickly to the change in demand, says Angie Fung, Managing Director Asia-Pacific. Maneuvering the many government regulations, licenses and certifications that exist country-to-country is an important skill learned over the years. “For us it was not much of a challenge because we were already working with these suppliers,” she says. “But what will remain a challenge for companies like SPIRIANT will be combining products, materials and designs that match a younger, more conscious consumer that is looking for products that reflect a new set of priorities. Commercial aviation has been watching the demographic board aircraft for years. In a post-pandemic world, those social priorities could be even more pronounced.” “When I am designing, it is not enough to have luxury brands or have [amenity kits] look luxurious,” says Addy Ng, Design Director, Amenities at SPIRIANT. “It has to serve a function. It has to have a second life. It has to be sustainable. The brand has to have a sort of socially responsible kind of value.”

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Artisan Products | Specialty Ingredients Mediterranean Components Charcuterie & Meats | Quality Cheeses Bakery | Snacks | Packaged Products | PPE Visit us at: PAX-INTL.COM



Amenities roundup Here’s a snapshot of amenity kit news from key suppliers by JANE HOBSON

 Protective clothing – AK-Service: AK-Service is producing personal protective equipment for airlines and other companies. The supplier not only produces masks, gloves and sanitizers, but also protective clothing made from non-woven materials and Tyvek for markets such as airlines and railways. All of the equipment is produced at the home factory in Russia where employees are still able to work with proper COVID-19 restrictions in place.

 Updated website and PPE Platform – Kaelis World: Kaelis has modified its company registration name from Kaelis On Board Services S.L. to Kaelis World S.L. And with this, it has a launched a new website. This comes as the supplier extends its commitment to its global personal protective equipment (PPE) supply-chain management, moving beyond just supplying onboard services. The website includes a dedicated PPE section with a catalog where customers can access the latest products and information.

 Essentials collection – WK Thomas: WK Thomas (WKT) has launched its Essentials collection, a new onboard products range that covers personal protective equipment (PPE), disposable food packaging and hygiene products. The Essentials PPE products include face masks, powder-free vinyl gloves, aprons and hairnets. WKT also stocks anti-bacterial soap, hand sanitizers, a touchless hand sanitizer dispenser station, and a range of signage illustrating social distancing guidelines. “COVID-19 has introduced a new dimension to both food service and facilities management,” said David Thompson, Head of Travel at WKT. “Hygiene and personal protection are now more important than ever and will remain so for the foreseeable future. Our Essentials Range provides timely and practical support for businesses now operating under different rules.”

  Fragrance-based experience for Air Astana – Galileo Watermark: Galileo Watermark has worked with Air Astana to create a sensory experience based on scent. The supplier worked with the airline to develop a signature scent inspired by the scenery of the vast Altai mountain region. The Altai fragrance forms the basis of the hand wash, hand soap and face mist provided by Galileo Watermark and found in lavatories. “The calming scent immediately transports you to the remote mountain tops and instils a sense of confidence and tranquility,” says Tamara Vazquez Perez, Marketing and Brand Partnerships Director at Galileo Watermark.

 Business Class kit for Singapore Airlines – Buzz: Singapore Airlines has launched a Business Class amenity kit featuring renowned British perfumers Penhaligon’s. The fragrance collection is focused on “expressions of personality and play,” which correspond with the airline’s approach to each passenger’s personal travel experience. The amenity kit was created by Buzz and is available via the SIA@home Business Class experience from October 5 and onboard in coming months. The Business Class kit is a green Penahligon’s branded folio-style bag featuring a signature perfume bottle stopper-shaped zip pull. Inside the kit are three luxury skin care products: Quercus Lip Balm, Quercus Hand Lotion and Quercus Facial Mist.

30  OCTOBER 2020


Driving change by JANE HOBSON

As the first part of its sustainability strategy, FORMIA will move to using recycled PET for 100 percent of its fabrics used for socks and eye masks C

FORMIA CEO and Managing Partner Roland Grohman shares how the company is approaching sustainability through the pandemic


hile discussions about passenger experience seem to be brimming with ideas on physical distancing in the cabin, low-touch food solutions and personal protective gear, suppliers are still finding ways to achieve their pre-pandemic goals despite the circumstances. With the help of external experts and consultants, onboard amenity provider FORMIA is maintaining its focus on sustainability with the launch of a new strategy meant to benefit the environment, its customers and the passenger experience. “Sustainability is not just a trend, it is here to stay,” says Roland Grohman, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and Managing Partner. “FORMIA is in the process of integrating it into its ongoing business strategy, its operations and its DNA.” Headquartered in Hong Kong, the company’s goal is to become circular in nature, from the raw materials used to the thoughtful design, brand partners, distributers and mindful end-of-life product considerations. FORMIA has enlisted sustainability research firm GlobeScan to undertake a Materiality Anaylsis to help better understand how key stakeholders perceive FORMIA –

32  OCTOBER 2020

and to learn what they see as the main issues to focus on in the near future. “A detailed landscape anaylsis as well as in-depth interviews were conducted,” says Grohman. “The findings serve as the basis for the new sustainable strategic framework and the ensuing activities as well as future products and services.” The strategy will be implemented in phases, beginning in Spring 2021. The first initiative to launch will see 100 percent of the fabric used for socks and eye masks being replaced by RPET (recycled polyethylene terephthalate). To get customers excited, FORMIA is absorbing the extra cost of the material, rendering the move to RPET fabric cost-neutral for airlines – a benefit for supporting its sustainability efforts. The transition from virgin polyester to recycled PET will save 1,500 tons of plastic waste from going to landfill each year, information based on FORMIA’s 2019 volumes of these products. “This is equivalent to 79 million bottles,” Grohman adds. In addition, according to the 2018 report by the Association of Plastic Recyclers, re-used plastic reduces energy consumption by 79 percent and greenhouse gas emissions by 67 percent, compared to using virgin PET. “As FORMIA continues to review


FORMIA has also introduced sustainable packaging for its Clean Kit range







its end-to-end processes and identifies where improvements and transformation can be made, further progress will be shared,” says Grohman. “Including development of CST programs, as part of its wider sustainability strategy, with charity partners in both local and international communities.” “We have been working hard to put the health and safety of travelers front and foremost, whilst also acknowledging that there is a huge effort needed to respond to the global climate crisis,” said Roland Grohman, Vice Chairman and Managing Partner in the October press release. “It is important for us to support our airline partners as they navigate their sustainability efforts during what is an exceedingly difficult time. Today’s announcement is the first step on our path to sustainability and we look forward to sharing further plans very soon.”

Your safety, our priority. Since the emergence of the Covid-19 outbreak, we took several measures in line with EASA and IATA guidelines to ensure your health and safety when traveling with us.

 All Staff are wearing personal protective equipment  All Crews are trained and equipped for your protection  Cabin air is recycled 20x/hour  HEPA filters that eliminate 99% of the viruses, including COVID-19  Adjusted and simplified onboard service  Deeply cleaned and disinfected aircraft Your health and safety are our top priority.



station These onboard snacks, beverages and solutions are fit for the future, no matter what that may look like by JANE HOBSON

Dilmah has partnered with Beverage Partners International to launch an iced tea range made from hand-picked, traditional loose tea leaves


hile many things in the cabin are changing for the better, one thing is certain; passengers will never stop wanting delicious snacks and drinks. Whether it is a gourmet cheeseboard, iced coffee or refilling a personal water bottle in the wellness zone, high-quality onboard snacks and drinks contribute to the overall passenger experience, and that is never going to change. In this feature, PAX International talks to snack and drink trend-setters to get the update on what tasty options are available now.

Digital innovation

Snackbox To-Go has used the COVID19 downtime to launch an updated website, implement a social media strategy and focus on new product development, says Kees Verschuure, Sales Director for The Netherlandsbased onboard snack supplier. The updated website, which went live July 1, features images of the snack selection and the new blog component, with some pieces written by Jeroen Kosterman, owner of parent-company GJK Food Trading B.V. Snackbox To-Go is now actively sharing updates on

34  OCTOBER 2020

LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram to reach beyond Europe to as much of its worldwide customer base as possible. “We wanted our customers to be able to have access to us and follow all interesting news we have to report. The blog gives our followers just the little extra – as we always [aim for with] all our customers,” Verschuure says. The snack supplier is introducing fresh-to-frozen sandwiches, ambient breakfast options – such as granola and yogurt, but also cornflakes and milk – and a more diverse selection of ambient boxes that can be tailored to the changing needs of customers due to the pandemic. “During the COVID period we ensured that our vast logistics network within Europe is complete – we can deliver to every airport in Europe,” Verschuure explains. “This can be a huge advantage for all airlines flying to and from Europe.”

Classic but fresh

During the pandemic, International Water-Guard (IWG) can help airlines build passenger confidence by guaranteeing clean water, without the use

of chemicals. IWG has combined its UVL1 water disinfection component with the Passenger Water Dispenser (PWD) that filters sediments and eliminates any foul taste and odors. It kills common waterborne pathogens and biofilms before the water enters a passenger’s bottle, says David Pohl, Director Strategic Development at IWG. The PWD is integrated into the aircraft water system and it is designed to be operated by the passenger seeking wellness and refreshment on long-haul flights. Without the need for crew or caterer involvement, fewer touchpoints and more distancing is possible cabin while simultaneously keeping passengers hydrated and better able to fend off sicknesses. The PWD occasionally needs a filter cartridge replacement, once every three to four months. The UV-LED device needs replacing once every five to seven years depending on usage. The PWD will be TSO certified as a galley component. The PWD will be NSF61 Compliant and the UVL1 will be tested to NSF 55 Class A standard for UV disinfection.

Beemster has developed four new cheese platter concepts to help airlines satisfy cheese-loving passengers inflight during the pandemic.

Brazilian Cold Brew in a can by La Colombe

Feeling snackish

Netherlands-based cheesemaker Beemster tells PAX International it has developed four new cheese platter concepts to help airlines satisfy cheese-loving passengers inflight during the pandemic. The solutions include: • a plastic four-compartment, flow wrapped tray, with the option to add a self-adhesive airline branded label • a four-compartment tray with transparent plastic lid and branded banderole closure • a platter in an enclosed box with printed information about the cheeses for a more premium experience • a paper-based pouch that holds the platter. In the fourth concept, the cheese is not visible until the package is opened by the passenger but it uses less plastic

“All the concepts are based on ‘never touched before’ philosophy; less handling between caterer, crew and passenger. This creates confidence that is so important for airlines and their passengers right now,” says Patrick den Drijver, Sales Manager Airlines, Beemster. Beemster is still delivering cheese to KLM, and Delta Air Lines started flying Beemster on flights out of Europe in 2020, den Drijver adds. Le Must prestige condiment maker has added a line of single-serve artisan preserves and honey and a hazelnut spread to its offering. Imported directly from France and USDA Organic certified, the preserves are made true to authentic preserve recipe, with sugarcane and cooked quickly in copper cauldrons to retain the freshness of the fruit. The Chocolate Hazelnut spread is made by a master chocolatier in Paris and marks the first alternative to Nutella in a single-serve format, says Moshe Cohen, Le Must Managing Partner and Creator.

Snackbox To-Go now supplies ambient breakfast options, such as granola and yogurt

Galleys and common areas around aircraft are prime places for the Personal Water Dispenser (PWD) which allows passengers to fill their own water bottles

Ready to drink

Colombo-based Dilmah Ceylon Tea Company announced a partnership with Beverage Partners International (BPI) in mid-September to launch an iced tea range. The partnership is a timely move into the ready-to-drink segment. “As awareness of the natural, antioxidant goodness in tea grows globally, especially with research suggesting that antioxidants in tea offer immune-protective benefits, there is a premiumization trend that is evolving from tea and herbs to ready-to-drink tea,” says Dilhan C. Fernando, Dilmah’s Chief Executive Officer. “The involvement with BPI combines their expertise and network in the ready-to-drink beverage segment and our core commitment to taste, natural goodness and ethical purpose.” The Iced Tea is made from handpicked, traditional loose tea leaves. The natural sweetness combined with honey, cane sugar and stevia offer a low-calorie, chilled beverage, ideal for passengers looking for a refreshing beverage other than a juice. The single-serving containers offer convenience and a clean inflight beverage experience. While the pandemic initially disrupted the growing, harvesting and manufacturing operations at Dilmah, Fernando says the situation has been remedied with social distancing and other safety measures that are in place. He says the biggest complication Dilmah faces is climate change, which he calls a “more complicated and longer story.” Founded in Philadelphia, La Colombe Coffee Roasters has launched ready-todrink canned beverages that are shelfstable, low-touch and do not need to be chilled. The line includes Draft Latte, Oatmilk Draft, Brazilian Cold Brew and Draft Chocolate Milk. The drinks are available in dairy milk, plant milk and non-milk to cater to changing consumer expectations. The cans feature the Sip Through lid that mimics an in-cafe experience. The nitrous oxide infused milk and cold brew create a premium texture, complete with a layer of foam. “All of our products originated in our cafes, which set our benchmark for quality taste and experience,” says Jacob Lake, Brand Manager, La Colombe. Allegiant Air is serving five SKUs from La Colombe onboard; Vanilla Draft Latte, Doubleshot Draft Latte, Cold Brew Brazilian and the seasonal Pumpkin Spice Draft Latte and the Peppermint Mocha during the winter. PAX-INTL.COM



Juicy details

Radnor Hills’ single-serve fruit extract Infusion drinks have zero calories and are available in canned format

This beverage producer boasts a portfolio of water and juices for health-conscious flyers by JANE HOBSON


ith health top of mind for most people around the world right now, UK-based soft drink manufacturer Radnor Hills is offering up inflight solutions that embrace the focus on single-serve, low-cal options without compromising on flavor. The company offers still and sparkling water, flavored water, infused water, fruit juices and more. Available in multiple formats and packaging, including cans, glass, recycled plastic (RPET) and Tetra Pak, the drinks are produced at Radnor Hills’ zero waste to landfill family farm in Powys, Wales. Instead of sending waste to landfill, the facility finds ways to upcycle or

36  OCTOBER 2020

recycle what would otherwise be thrown away, Chris Butler, Export Manager at Radnor Hills tells PAX International. “We developed these lines in response to the sustainability targets of our customers who were aiming to reduce use of plastic onboard.” The Tetra Pak juices come with a telescopic straw, allowing passengers to tuck it under a facemask when taking a sip and then push the straw back into the recyclable pack once finished. This eliminates the need to remove the mask to have a drink and reduces the possibility of crew touching the straw directly. The Tetra Pak juices are available in a variety of different flavor profiles and size formats, such as orange, apple and

tropical fruit juice (125ml or 200ml) and a 60 percent juice/40 percent water split, in Raspberry, Tropical and Summer Berries flavors (250ml). In autumn 2019, the company rolled out its range of canned spring waters. The water is sourced from a spring at the Radnor Hills’ farm, where it takes just seven minutes to filter from the ground to the can. Each aluminum can of still or sparkling water is 100 percent recyclable, lightweight, leak-proof and has a long-shelf life. Along with the Tetra Pak and canned offering, Radnor Hills has also launched its Infusion zero-calorie drinks in canned format. The drinks are naturally infused with real fruit extracts with a “gentle sparkle,” ideal for passengers requesting a less sweet profile or a lowcalorie option without sacrificing taste. Being single-serve, Radnor Hills beverages help eliminate fears about free-poured beverages in the cabin and crew to passenger interaction during this time, Butler explains, adding that the company looking to demonstrate that it can be agile in the onboard services market and develop solutions that meet the changing requirements of its customers.


Crafthouse Cocktails supplies beverages in 200ml containers

Cheers to change Until airlines start serving alcohol again, companies like Crafthouse Cocktails are finding new business in the airport environment by RICK LUNDSTROM


hough it has the ability to make people more sociable, alcohol consumption in an era of social distancing has been taking a hit. And, nowhere more than in the airline cabin, where passengers in the past partially relieved travel anxiety by enjoying a drink – or two. Alcohol service on airlines has dropped off the list of available enjoyments for a variety of reasons since COVID started. Flights of less than two hours still have virtually nothing in the way of service except maybe a bottle of water and a small packaged snack with a chaser of hand sanitizer. Complimentary alcohol service began trickling back in mid-summer but was largely confined to the front cabin, on carriers such as Delta Air Lines. The effects of the virus caught companies like Denver-based Crafthouse Cocktails at a moment when things could not have been going better in the travel portion of their business. “The category of ready-to-drink on an airplane was super-hot and people were expanding their applications within it,” says the company’s Co-founder Matt Lindner. “But since COVID, I haven’t heard of any airlines making any beverage decisions in the alcohol space at all.”

38  OCTOBER 2020

Crafthouse Cocktails has switched containers from glass to aluminum for better recycling

Crafthouse Cocktails’ line of pre-made cocktails have been served on United Airlines and will be available on Virgin Voyages when the cruise line takes to the seas again. It is also available on Amtrak trains in the northeast corridor. The company has switched its line of beverages from glass to 200ml aluminum cans for better recycling. Popular among the offering is the Moscow Mule, Pineapple Daiquiri, Paloma tequila drink and Smoky Margarita. Until the airline industry and inflight service recovers, Crafthouse Cocktails has been seeking out new customers and found an important one in airport concessionaire OTG Group. In October, Crafthouse Cocktails were available in four of the 88 CIBO Express outlets at airports around the United States and for take out in some airport bars.

Though it is a patchwork of state laws and airport regulations, Lindner says passengers waiting for flights are often able to walk through the airport with an alcoholic beverage. Among the notable airports where an “amusement park license” is available are Liberty Airport in Newark and George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston. There, Lindner says, the products can be consumed anywhere at the airport right up to boarding. The company has also found customers in retail sales. Crafthouse is developing large format boxed cocktails similar to a popular wine product that it plans to launch in the October. The sales have tied the company over during the pandemic, but Lindner says he is really hoping “the travel industry comes back strong, and not just for us.”

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Dressing for success, protection and preservation Jorge Pinto, Chief Executive Officer and Chairman, SKYPRO

This aviation uniform supplier predicts sustainability and digitization are the next biggest trends in flight crew, cabin crew and ground staff uniforms by JANE HOBSON

SKYPRO uses sustainable raw materials such as oceanrecycled plastic for shoe soles and vegan leather


viation uniforms serve a variety of functions. They are designed with an eye on fashion, corporate brand and values, and welcoming passengers, but as the pandemic continues to trigger airlines to reassess their business plans, the garments represent a lot more. “It is a second skin,” Jorge Pinto, Chief Executive Officer and Chairman at Portugal-based SKYPRO tells PAX International. “The pandemic will oblige organizations to be more efficient and to focus all of the effort on their core business.” Through mySkypro Portal, the Uniform Management System launched in March, crew have 100 percent control and accountability for getting their uniforms. Artificial intelligence (AI) sends a notification regarding the best time to place orders and predicts the correct sizing based on predefined parameters and past orders. This helps minimize how much stock airlines have and reduces stock waste from ordering too much of the wrong size, saving airlines money and time. The platform is fully integrated with other airline Enterprise Planning Systems and with any uniform supplier, and also features instant reporting for account managers. Pinto says SKYPRO is now developing an updated Uniform Management System that will feature radio-frequency identification (RFID).

40  OCTOBER 2020

Along with increased demand for digital options, Pinto says SKYPRO remains absolutely focused on sustainability. “There is no reason for not providing employees with professional and comfortable garments which meet all health and protection standards, and still offering sustainable products at an equalised price comparing the traditional supply,” Pinto says, adding that he predicts that the sustainability movement will have immense priority and impact postpandemic. “Bearing this in mind, all of our collections are strictly selected and tested multiple times before production.” The company works with non-profit organization CITEVE (Technological Centre for the Textile and Clothing Industries and Portugal) to develop and select the most suitable products for use in the aviation industry. SKYPRO studies, prepares and tests its collection to ensure it can withstand regular daily usage without abrasion while maintaining at the same time a great appearance over time. It only works with Oeko-Tex® certified textiles to ensure they are free from potentially harmful substances and improve the health and wellbeing of crew. The SKYPROEcologic collection for flight crew, cabin crew and ground staff uniforms was supposed to debut at WTCE 2020 but will be presented in August 2021, Pinto says. The SKYPROEcologic garments

The mySKYPRO Portal provides a customized uniform shopping experience for crew, giving them 100 percent control

are made using raw materials such as recycled bamboo-cotton biodegradable fibers, ocean-recycled plastic for shoe soles, recycled polyester linings and vegan alternatives to leather. Each item is customized for each client and products being delivered in Europe and to the Middle East are produced in Europe, further reducing the shipment’s carbon footprint from manufacturer to client. While the airline sector is at a momentary standstill, the company is introducing cotton and fabrics produced using recycled water and solar energy and “leather” shoes derived from cactus and pineapple fibres to its other customers. Pinto says company has been working from home, but he says is it still strong, grabbing for opportunities in new industries and focusing on enhancing its airline offerings in order to contribute to the “brighter future” after the pandemic.


Getting some air by JANE HOBSON

Air Astana Catering Manager Graham Hobbs tells PAX International how operations are adapting to the return to travel


ike many airlines, Air Astana enacted measures to fight the pandemic back in February. In response to the regulations implemented by the Ministry of Health of the Republic of Kazakhstan, it introduced rule changes to its tickets, allowing passengers to change the date of travel without penalty. The domestic network was reduced until May and international destinations until June and July. The year prior was incredibly profitable for Air Astana. For 2019, it recorded an unaudited net profit of US$30 million, up from US$5 million in 2018. The year 2020 was meant to be another year of growth, having moved from Sheremetyevo Airport (SVO) to Domodedovo Airport (DME) in Moscow and replacing its 757 fleet with A321LRs. But instead, the airline has spent this year making a number of flight schedule changes, implementing personal protec-

Graham Hobbs, Catering Manager, Air Astana

42  OCTOBER 2020

Air Astana is now resuming many flights, including daily flights to Turkey from Almaty, eight direct weekly flights to Frankfurt, as well Amsterdam, Dubai, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Russia

tive equipment requirements, upping cleaning and disinfecting routines and installing HEPA filters in the aircraft. A light shone in the otherwise bleak summer when Air Astana received Tripadvisor’s Travelers’ Choice Award for the third consecutive year. “I’m deeply grateful to our crews and colleagues involved in delivering such a high level of service on board,” said Peter Foster, President and Chief Executive Officer of Air Astana, in the July 27 press release. Things have picked up since August, with announcements that the Kazakhstan flag carrier has resumed daily flights to Turkey with its 767s from Almaty and eight direct weekly flights from the capital of Nur-Sultan to Frankfurt using A321LRs. Among others international destinations, flights to Amsterdam, Dubai, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Russia have resumed, with extended online check-in of 36 hours before departure instead of the usual 24. And, the airline’s buy-on-board low-cost sister airline, FlyArystan, is now operating more than 40 domestic flights daily. As for its catering operations, these swift changes have presented unforeseen challenges as onboard services restrictions vary based on destination. “Keeping up with the constant changes can be quite challenging for the catering department,” Graham Hobbs, Catering Manager at Air Astana tells PAX International. “And, we have

The Air Astana catering unit is supplying solutions, such as this disposable meal box, based on destination

obviously had to react accordingly. On some international routes we needed to supply disposable meal boxes and individual packaged beverage items, whilst on other routes, there are different or no such restrictions.” To avoid using plastics, the catering unit developed an eco-friendly cardbased alternative with a local supplier. It is now used on all routes where restrictions require it, Hobbs says. With daily COVID-19 cases decreasing in the country (66 new cases were reported on October 7, the day this was written), the future looks promising. Or, as Hobbs says, “demand is stable.” Come October, Hobbs says the airline plans to reinstate its four weekly charter operations to Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt, with new destinations planned in the very near future, pending governmental approval. “All things considered, and although we are only operating at around 50 percent of 2019 levels, we at Air Astana are all very grateful that at this stage of the crisis, we are most probably in a better position than many other of the world’s airlines,” Hobbs says.



FORWARD Anne De Hauw, Founder of IN Air Travel Experience and Member of IAWMA Advisory Board

Anne De Hauw, Founder of IN Air Travel Experience and Member of the Advisory Board of the International Aviation Waste Management Association, explores how the current aviation market presents an opportunity to digitize, demonstrate adaptability and innovate quickly to create sustainable experiences 44  OCTOBER 2020


he COVID crisis isn’t over and although the immediate future will continue to be tough, now is the time to rethink the future travel experience, accelerate business transformation and embed purpose and sustainability into your operation. As airlines recover, restructure and reevaluate, they must seize this moment to unlearn the old habits and embrace new behaviors and new ways of working, rewriting the rules of business that are fit for the future our aviation industry needs.

Demonstrate authentic leadership

This starts with leadership. Expectations on business leaders skyrocket during a crisis. All eyes are on CEOs to provide direction, answers, reassurance and solutions. Yet no amount of experience

or expertise could have prepared them for COVID-19; the context of the world is changing at a rapid pace and the path ahead is largely unknown. One of the most effective qualities a leader can display when navigating uncertain times, is authenticity. Such leaders are more likely to take responsibility, show compassion and tell the truth. They show up as a human rather than just their job title. And in the future, they will not only need to define a vision focused on profitability, growth and market share, but also include a broader vision that incorporates the wellbeing of people and our planet.

Pivot towards purpose & walk the walk

It is more important than ever for businesses to truly commit to a purpose

The future of end-to-end uniform management is here SKYPRO designed mySkypro Portal – the industry’s first end-to-end uniform management system – to simplify a process considered by most companies as complex, time-consuming and expensive with an efficient cost and time-saving tool. Our objective when developing the portal was to care for employees in such an efficient way that managers can focus their time and resources on growing the business.

Curious? Contact us at to find out more.


and ensure they use it to guide their thinking, planning and decision-making. The pandemic has accelerated consumers’ desire to seek out organizations that support social and environmental progress, organizations that walk the walk and not just talk the talk. People want to engage with companies that are contributing to a positive impact on society and the planet.

Redefine value and create meaningful experiences through digitization

The world never been more aware of the health of our planet and society. Regardless of the industry, companies are now all required to ensure that the health of their employees and customers is first. And the key short-term requirement is to show genuine, human concern for all stakeholders with whom they interact. In the longer-term, people expect companies to act responsibly as guardians of society and nature. They expect them to foster long-term prosperity for the developing world and marginalized groups, live their purpose truthfully and enable sustainable consumption. A McKinsey post-pandemic consumer survey reveals that in some industries, two thirds of consumers already state the sustainability has become a more important priority to combat climate change. Sustainability, however, is not just about the environment. It is about economical, societal and environmental impact. Looking at inflight service, sustain-

ability means minimizing waste and costs, and maximizing efficiencies. Do passengers realize that the amount of cabin waste generated in 2017 was 5.7 million tons? Or that it cost the sector approximately US$900 million and more than 20 percent of it was untouched food and drink? Reducing food waste is the leading opportunity for sustainable consumption and innovation. It is an emerging global issue with up to 1.3 billion tons lost each year. This has been identified in the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) with a specific target to cut global food waste per capita in half by 2030.

The waste problem

That is why in June 2019, several industry experts, including IN Air Travel Experience, founded the International Aviation Waste Management Association (IAWMA). The Association aims to help tackle the impactful problem of cabin waste and develop strategic supply and collection chains. After completing global research of airlines, airports and flight kitchens, the findings highlight the need for an aggregative and multi-stakeholder approach to aid the aviation industry in its recycling efforts. The research, funded by the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), uncovered a fragmented sector and systemic gaps in policy, regulations, and material recovery practices worldwide. The findings also revealed that regulatory changes and program

development could support the industry’s transition to a circular economy. Andrew Wilson, Executive Director at IAWMA, explains: “The principal challenge is the need for broader industry-wide collaboration. We recognize that airlines, airports and catering kitchens have been doing their best given the current nationally focused and insular regulatory environment. We know from our research, the industry possesses an immense demonstrated capacity of well-intentioned people with the knowledge and skills needed to dismantle these barriers. With a more flexible and forward-thinking regulatory environment, one we see as based on scientific innovation in addition to pest and pathogen protection, the industry will unlock more circularity and rise to the challenge of reducing waste substantially.” Airlines and their service providers must work together with regulators to ensure that aviation makes a positive contribution to this UN SDG target, which starts with digitizing the experience and scrutinizing and simplifying the service to reduce wastage. Moving to an on-demand consumption model permits loading onboard only those pre-ordered items, minimizing waste and introducing a circular ecosystem. Collaborating and connecting to create a new world, rather than rebuilding old norms. Now is the time to rethink the future travel experience and accelerate business transformation.

The International Aviation Waste Management Association aims to tackle the problem of cabin waste and develop strategic supply and collection chains

46  OCTOBER 2020



Ambient breakfast

With our products’ long shelf life it lends itself to being introduced to the food on the go, retail and the travel Industry. Waste is dramatically reduced as there will be few restrictions due to its ambient shelflife of 12 months after production! We reduced the use of plastic dramatically. e.g. the spoon is 100% recyclable paper. Environmental friendly!

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changing world

SASCO is currently producing about 2,000 meals per day in Vietnam

PAX International’s Asia Correspondent Jeremy Clark shares an update on caterers and suppliers in the region as the crisis continues

50  OCTOBER 2020


s industries mature, the rulebooks of business practice and regulations grow. In airline catering, one could argue that the models, agreements and restrictions that governed the supply and delivery of something as simple as meals on planes were well overdue for an overhaul. Airline standard operating procedures the size of a New York phone book, and pricing policies that no sane business would entertain are common despite the industry shocks of 9/11, SARS and financial crashes. Then came COVID-19. It’s now a case of who will survive to pick up the bits as we emerge from the dust and debris.

A recent International Air Transport Association (IATA) report suggests this won’t happen any time soon. While general business confidence has bounced back, this has not transposed into much of a sign of recovery for the airline and travel sector. For the United States, international travel is still down 92 percent. Inter-European travel has seen a rise, but in Asia, international and interAsia travel growth has flatline as less than five percent of its pre-March levels. The story here in Asia is varied. As countries continue to attempt to isolate themselves from the rest of the world, the news that is neither sustainable nor the answer, hasn’t sunk in. Looking at Sweden with no form of lockdown or

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dnata has secured a contract to supply meals for foreign workers

travel restrictions and whose pandemic numbers now look like a strong recovery, the continued attempt to keep everyone out is delaying the inevitable – and that’s having a profound effect on the airlines and their suppliers. In conversation with a number of operators in Asia, I received mixed messages. In Malaysia, the domestic market is growing although the majority of inter-Malaysian flights are too short to be catered. AirAsia has resumed around 50 percent of its scheduled, but that is of little consolation to the major caterers. Both Kuala Lumpur International (KUL) operators are down more than 90 percent in volumes – in some cases, serving just 100 meals in a day. In Singapore, the story is a little different. The two biggest caterers have partially deflected disaster by restructuring the deliver to nonairline customers. For example dnata secured a contract to supply meals for foreign workers stuck in government dormitories during the pandemic. Vietnam has a different (but equally concerning) story. The main operator, operator Vietnam Air Caterers, is running at around 12 percent of preCOVID figures and caters domestic and international flights. The only foreign airlines to remain flying have been ANA, Japan Airlines, and Asiana. Airlines such as Emirates, previously twice daily, are down to one per week and others back-cater. The domestic market in Vietnam is buoyant and Southern Airports Services Joint Stock Company’s (SASCO) main customer base reports 60 percent of business operating but this too equates to between 2,000 and 3,000 meals per day. The

52  OCTOBER 2020

-run airlines and entities over private enterprises who are often doing a better job. The lay-offs in the industry are exponentially worse since many of them much more labor intensive than airlines when calculating revenue over jobs. There are or two lucky bystanders (if you can call it that), chief among them being SATS which is owned by Temasek. I am pretty sure that Temasek’s attempt at world domination by taking over gategroup which is still in the process of completing its acquisition of LSG Europe is beginning to feel something of a burden right now. The third theme is the difficulty some airline caterers and suppliers have in diversifying. As one spokesperson in

Some caterers, such as dnata, have restructured during the pandemic to deliver to non-airline customers

country has very few COVID-19 cases and life is pretty normal – apart from the fact that no one can leave or enter. Malaysia has a similar policy with all international travel effectively banned up December 31 and draconian quarantine procedures for anyone deciding to come. Meanwhile in Thailand, the situation is dire. Low single digit revenue percentage on international business and massive layoffs. Businesses such as Bangkok Air Catering have diversified spin-offs – including Gourmet Primo – to sustain momentum. It’s hugely sad to see so many highly trained loyal and valued employees let go. Thailand reports being basically COVID-free, but at what cost? How long can that be perpetuated? Sooner or later borders have to open and the inevitable is bound to happen. Cue Sweden, who are already there. Three common similarities arise in Asia. One is real anger that the supplier base is completely ignored when it comes to state support the travel sector. Airlines and airports get government aid whilst the supply base gets nothing. Secondly, state aid is unfairly distributed. It favors state-owned and

Indonesia pointed out, it isn’t always possible to compete on cost with producers who supply other sectors. Airlines demand high quality which means a higher cost of raw materials. Introducing second tier production is complex. Plus, caterers have higher overheads for operational needs. A meal manufacturer does not have a fleet of hi-loaders or a complex assembly area. Additionally, being located at an airport comes at a premium. So, what of the future? One reason I stopped listening to endless talking-shop webinars is that nobody actually knows. IATA’s research indicates that airlines are anticipating growth faster than the booking numbers indicate, with schedule out-pacing actual booking by a significant percentage. Both schedules and booking numbers are still down 80 percent year-on-year. For those millions earning their keep from provisioning the worlds travelling public, the immediate future isn’t great. Hopefully though, the New Norm (that isn’t anything like “normal”) will reveal a business relationship within our industry will be fairer and far less complex than it was.




IFSA and APEX CEO Joe Leader fills PAX International in on the group’s plans and what he sees as encouraging signs from several fronts by RICK LUNDSTROM

n early October, efforts to provide additional funding for US airlines and related companies were still in a state of great uncertainty, but two associations that represent a worldwide industry of companies and carriers were moving toward the future with greater brand alignment and a shared vision. The Airline Passenger Experience Association (APEX) and the International Flight Services Association (IFSA) launched new websites and a pair of similar logos tying the two groups that first joined forces in 2017. Add the Future Travel Experience and they represent a seamless transition, each with specialties that support passengers from the airport and airside through to onboard service and food and beverage. “We have been very proud to see IFSA’s strength alongside APEX,” Dr. Joe Leader tells PAX International in early October., “We work in tandem.,” says the CEO of the two Associations. One of the triumphs of the two groups working together, Leader says,

was the “government action initiative” earlier this year that resulted in $3 billion in funding additonal airline suppliers in the initial Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act for related industries. A similar initiative was stalled in Congress in early October, which calls for funding in the area of US$28 billion, with US$3 billion set aside for caterers and suppliers. If approved, the funding would be a lifeline, carrying the industry through to the end of next March. “We want to see governments helping support an industry that they have stopped from moving for far too long,” Leader says. “We need to get back to more normal travel. It is through no fault of their own that these airlines have been stopped on the vast majority of their routes.” What has not stalled is the 2020 FTE APEX Virtual Expo, launching online around-the-world for 48 hours from December 8 to 9, 2020. When PAX International spoke to Leader, organizers

IFSA and APEX CEO Joe Leader discusses new logos and websites tying the Associations together

54  OCTOBER 2020

In place of quarantines and blockades, active COVID-19 testing by airlines will help open up travel. Here, United Airlines is testing a passenger at SFO

had signed up over 500 attendees from 114 different airlines and more than 102 airports as VIP pass-holders to take part in the virtual exhibitions that will be first available online in December and continue into the new year. Based on initial signups, a group of delegates will represent a full spectrum of the cabin service industry. Leader says airline representatives and leaders in inflight connectivity, entertainment and

food and beverage have shown interest in the event which could signal something of a return to familiar inflight service. “It is nice because I cannot wait to see a bit more selection, variety and service on our airlines returning soon,” Leader says. With each passing month, Leader says he sees encouraging signs. American Airlines recently announced it would return some elements of its

food service selection, and the airline has been successful in keeping virus infection rates low among its cabin crew - lower, in fact, than its office workers. “Having that kind of data point showing that you can safely serve customers I think is very important,” Leader adds. Additional sophistication in tracking and testing for COVID-19 among the airlines is also taking shape in the industry as airlines announce they will begin offering testing for their passengers. In late September, American Airlines, United Airlines, JetBlue Airways and Hawaiian Airlines all began rolling out pre-flight testing that could supply results in anywhere from a few minutes to a few days. Such knowledge and diagnoses would allow travelers to avoid quarantine restrictions at various destinations. “I believe that we’ll see a resurgence (in travel) especially with the testing initiatives that have been put forth recently where we will be moving for quickly in Q4 toward testing, (instead of) quarantine and blockades,” Leader says “It is the right approach.”




Resilience and

planning The International Flight Services Association heads into the end of the year with some new policies in place and a goal to help give direction to the industry, when business and the industry is in flux by RICK LUNDSTROM

T Jim Ball, President, IFSA

56  OCTOBER 2020

he pandemic that engulfed commercial aviation at the beginning of the year has not stopped the International Flight Services Association’s board of directors and association management firm, The Kellen Company, from shoring up its membership base and fighting for the industry’s survival in the halls of US Congress. In some ways, they can claim a measure of success. The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES) passed early in the year threw a lifeline to airline caterers and suppliers in the United States. The US$3 billion allocated for companies that play a vital role in the country’s aviation infrastructure offered some breathing room at a critical time. Though the year isn’t over, and much uncertainty still rules the sky, IFSA President Jim Ball continues to stress the importance of industry advocacy and assuring that the association provides value to members when they arguably need it most. “It is probably the one thing that saved a number of

our companies,” says Ball, referring to CARES. Ball is also Vice President of Sales and Service at Flying Food Group. “Because the industry financials are just staggeringly off.” As the year comes to a close, IFSA can point to some noticeable improvements. Airline member engagement has increased and long-term support is secured via multi-year memberships. Fourteen caterers are now IFSA members along with the US rail carrier Amtrak. While supplier membership has dropped by 40 percent to 63 member companies , partner APEX (Airline Passenger Experience Association) and IFSA are working on incentives with an eye toward getting back to normalcy in 2021. With live conference planning on the back burner for now, IFSA is working to make its association infrastructure more appealing to airline membership. The bylaws that govern the activities of the group’s Executive Committee have been changed to limit the time of commitment of any member

who wishes to take part. Before, Ball says, members would take positions such as Secretary and Treasurer, working their way to eventually becoming President. It was a long process, requiring up to 13 years before finally becoming a Past President including an initial three-year term on the Board of Directors. Now, the President position will be held for only one year, reducing the commitment time to five to six years. “To get someone to commit to 13 years, particularly on the airline side is almost impossible given the amount of activity and movement we see in positions,” Ball says. With the process time reduced, Ball says he sees the possibility of more airline members committing to time on the IFSA Executive Committee. Among the most active segments of the Association has always been the IFSA Government Affairs and Education Committee. With the representing group lobbyist in Washington keeping an eye on regulations governing food and beverage service, the Committee has issued and industry guidance document for the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) that would apply specifically to airline catering, a unique subset of the overall food and beverage service industry. Ball says the new document will reflect airline catering with recommendations that are more “process driven” than “ingredient driven.” IFSA sees airline catering fitting somewhere between restaurant food preparation and food manufacturing. The new 140 page document issued this past year will be incorporated into the IFSA World Food Safety Guidelines. IFSA is also working closely with its newly-formed counterpart, the Airline Catering Association (ACA) in Brussels, on a second set of guidelines for catering in the post COVID-19 world. The two groups are drafting recombased on best practices from organizations like the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that will give guidance to airlines and caterers. Hammering down guidelines in a fast changing business environment presents a moving target to the two associations. Ball says companies that access the guidelines will be given Internet links and direction to sites that help users stay abreast of any of the changes in the future. In 2020 the IFSA Foundation is noting is 20th year since inception. In that time, US$1.3 million in scholarships have been given to a total of 275 students. Though doners have understandably fallen by 25 to 30 percent this year, Ball says IFSA still anticipates donations this year of approximately US$141,000 to 30 students. IFSA will be part of the virtual event planned with APEX and the Future Travel Experience and Onboard Hospitality December 8 and 9. With the four groups together, they represent every segment of the travel experience, from airport to cabin interior products to food service. IFSA members will have complimentary access to the virtual show floor and discussion, while IFSA will receive the brand recognition that will help the association move ahead with one of its most important goals. “We have always had a goal with an international aspiration, however our supplier base would be challenged to support international shows or expos because it is too difficult for our supplier base to show internationally,” Ball says. “But with APEX it gives some recognition and branding at international events.” PAX-INTL.COM




required With airlines burning through revenue, IATA is calling on governments worldwide to find a way to open up by RICK LUNDSTROM


he severity of the COVID-19 virus is rightly most often measured in lives lost, but the toll of quarantines and restricted travel and free movement also has a cost. Borders for the most part remain closed. The International Air Transport Association’s (IATA) Director General and Chief Executive Officer Alexandre de Juniac has called for a stepped-up regime in COVID-19 testing for passengers ahead of departure. Such a practice would give governments the confidence to re-open borders, he says. Until that happens, the numbers that de Juniac cited are dire. Airlines are spending approximately US$300,000 per minute making it impossible to cut costs fast enough to make up

for the impact of not being able to do business at full capacity. Government support, to the tune of US$160 billion worldwide have saved many from bankruptcy, de Juniac told the media in his October briefing, but much of that lifeline is ending. The supporting industries, such as airports and air navigation, are also struggling, also from a lack of demand for their products. Jobs by the millions are at risk. According to de Juniac, some 46 million jobs are in peril with only about 10 percent directly in the aviation industry. The rest are suppliers and contractors that rely on a healthy aviation market. “They suffer from the same lack of demand that airlines do. And increasing their unit charges – passing the cost to other parts of the value

chain – to cover the gap is not an option,” he says. “Remember, at the end of the value chain are consumers and they are price sensitive.” At IATA’s other office in Montreal, the Association has called on the Canadian government to support more COVID-19 testing measures to safely re-open international and domestic travel without the need for blanket quarantine measures. IATA is supporting the COVID-19 testing initiatives of Air Canada and Westjet as a means to safely reopen Canada to international and domestic traffic. IATA estimates that revenues generated by airlines with service to, from or within Canada could fall by 70 percent or C$22.6 billion (US17.1 billion) compared to 2019. That puts at risk nearly 410,500 Canadian jobs and some C$39 billion (US$29 billion) of Canada’s GDP, which is generated by aviation directly and indirectly as well as by aviation-related tourism. In addition to its new safety measures for inflight, Air Canada in mid-October re-opened three of its Maple Leaf Lounges equipped with several layers of biosafety measures. Visitors must wear face coverings and plexiglass partitions are found throughout. Food is pre-packaged and reading material is now all in digital format.

Canada’s quarantine impact on air travel 2020 YoY % change in international inbound ticket sales (after refunds and exchanges) -55%

August 31: Canada extends quarantine until September 30

July 31: Canada extends quarantine until August 31

June 30: Canada extends quarantine until July 31

-60% -65% -7% points


-6% points

-3% points

-75% -80% -85%







Source: IATA Economics using data from DDS Note: 7-day rolling average is applied to daily international inbound ticket sales

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What’s Hot!  Ready-to-drink beverages – La Colombe Coffee Roasters: La Colombe Coffee Roasters now offers ready-to-drink beverages including Draft Lattes, Brazilian Cold Brew and Chocolate Milk. The beverages are not required to be chilled until final consumption and have a long shelf life, available in the convenience of a can.

 MicrobeBARRIER – Buzz: Buzz has launched a broadspectrum antimicrobial treatment that is lab tested and proven to reduce the presence of germs in fabrics. MicrobeBARRIER fabric treatment protects against bacteria, mildew, mold and odors.

 Sanitizing bracelet – HandiGuru: Developed by Santa Barbara-based artist and innovator Benjamin Anderson, HandiGuru is a lightweight, refillable wristband designed to carry sanitizer or lotion for easy, on-the-go access. Currently available in 11 different colors. Each kit includes a fully recyclable, one-size-fits-all silicone wristband (20ml) and a BPA-free squeeze bottle, complete with a BPA-free applicator tip for easy refills.

 Cutlery packs – Group SOI: Group SOI has launched a hygienic set of hermitically sealed cutlery. It can be teamed with packaged sanitizers and olive oil in materials that are all biodegradable.

 Face mask tape – Cabeau: This FDA-approved medicalgrade tape seals gaps around the perimeter of face masks, reducing foggy eyeglasses and alleviating discomfort caused by ear loops.




 Spirits – IZO Agave Spirits: This collection of premium, handcrafted agave spirits is produced sustainably in the heart of rural Durango, Mexico. The supplier also produces an award-winning Mezcal.

 #indulge snacks – Novel Foods: The #indulge range is a mix of premium high-fiber, dairy-free and vegan corn snacks, shaped and toasted to nibble-sized pieces. The simple recipes and ingredients include corn, sunflower oil and seasoning. Available in a variety of pack sizes and styles, including bags of 10 grams to 225 grams and pods of 20 grams.

 Composable toothbrush – BambuuBrush: This environmentally friendly toothbrush features 100 percent composable handle and packaging, plus Charcoal Activated Infused PBT Bristles that help whiten teeth. It also has antibacterial, anti-fungal and natural elements that balance pH levels and reduce bad breath.

 Savory pies and tarts – Tom’s Pies & The Gourmet Center: Tom’s Pies produces award winning handmade savory pies and tarts using British Assured farm and freerange ingredients, locally sourced whenever possible. Tom’s provides bespoke snacks or light meal options for passengers.

 Saving Face kit – Long Haul Spa: The Australian retail beauty specialist has launched Saving Face, a new range of personal protecting equipment and products designed for international travel. The components include a black vegan leather pouch, unisex silk face mask and anti-bacterial hand gel and a moisturizer.

60  OCTOBER 2020


 Mask and snood range – FORMIA: FORMIA has developed a textiles solution using anti-bacterial technology for textile masks and snood range. The solution involves application of an advanced fabric treatment for lasting and continual germresistant protection for passengers. Fabrics can be washed up to 30 times while retaining anti-bacterial effectiveness.

 SOAP – FloraLife: FloraLife has introduced its SOAP line; liquid and powder single-use soap packets. The individually packaged soap maintains passenger cleanliness and protection in a convenient on-the-go format, ideal for travel kits.

 International WaterGuard – IWG-UVL1: This water disinfection unit uses germicidal LEDs that emit UV light in the UV-C spectrum to render pathogens that may be in the aircraft water supply harmless, ensuring the aircraft’s drinking water is free of bacteria and viruses. The device can be installed quickly in the water line, at the spigot or faucet.

 Lycobiotic Flight – Cambridge Diagnostic Imaging (CaDi): This tonic for gut immunity helps to prepare passengers for long haul flights. It boosts immunity to support the body’s resistance to potential health risks in the cabin and in the days following flight.

 Passenger Care Kit – Malton Inflight: The Passenger Care Kit from Malton Inflight includes hand sanitizer, a surface wipe, face masks and gloves in a convenient resealable bag.




 SpaceCombis – MKN: MKN’s SpaceCombi combi steamers for professional kitchens are a compact size, energy efficient and simple to clean. It ensures maximum variety with minimum space with two cooking chambers in one appliance.

 Antimicrobial comfort products – Orvec: Orvec has launched a range of antimicrobial passenger products designed for healthy travel. The products, which include non-woven head rest covers, pillow covers and pillows, are manufactured in-house using antimicrobial fabric and active ingredients registered with the FTA and the EU. Available in bespoke colors and printing.



62  OCTOBER 2020





Safe, clean water at every point of use no matter where your aircraft flies in the world IWG-UVL1 uses UltraViolet light generating LED’s to disinfect the water as it flows, killing 99,99% of germ and bacteria. The new LED technology results in a powerful, compact light-weight, low maintenance, low power, and easy to install potable water disinfection unit.


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