Global Inflight Catering Market – Insights
Inflight or airline catering is a service provided by companies during air travel and at the airports. Catering becomes a very critical part of the business, especially for Network Carriers serving long distances. Meal design and meal planning are important processes of catering services. According to International Air Transport Association (IATA), catering planning and catering operations are important areas of activities of inflight services. Various organizations and groups are formed in order to regulate and organize inflight-catering activities. For instance, Inflight Catering Work Group was established in 2004, to bring together airlines and caterers in order to discuss issues of mutual concern and of special interest of the catering community, identify potential areas of cooperation, as well as implement concrete solutions. Moreover, Inflight RFID Task Force, focuses on catering trolley tracking and its maintenance history. Both these groups work with IATA.
Meals segment is expected to show a significant growth in the global inflight catering market in 2018. This is attributed to increasing number of international passengers and long air travel. Key players are opting various marketing strategies to attract customers’ attention such as mini-meal and healthy snacks provision. For instance, OTG, which operates over 300 restaurants and retail concepts in 10 airports across North America, provides local foods for global passengers. It uses locally sourced ingredients from local farms straight to the airport.
Economy class segment held significant market share in global inflight catering market in 2018, owing to affordable economy class air tickets. Governments of various countries are introducing customer friendly policies to fuel growth of the aviation industry. For instance, UDAN-RCS, regional airport development and ‘Regional Connectivity Scheme" (RCS) of Government of India, was launched in April 2017, with the objective: "Let the common citizen of the country fly". The scheme aimed at making air travel affordable and widespread, to fuel inclusive national economic development, job growth, and air transport infrastructure development of all regions and states of India.
Europe held significant market share in the global inflight catering market in 2017, owing to increasing number of people travelling to European countries and travel friendly policies of the European government. For instance, the Directive 96/97 by European Union applies to all types of airside and landside ground handling services, such as passenger and baggage handling, aircraft services and aircraft maintenance, fuel and oil handling, and catering services at all EU airports is open to commercial traffic with annual traffic over two million passenger movements or 50,000 tons of cargo.
The global inflight catering market was valued at US$ 16.8 billion in 2017, and is anticipated to register a CAGR of 6.2% in terms of revenue, during the forecast period (2018– 2026), to reach US$ 28.02 billion by 2026.
Figure 1. Global Inflight Catering Market Share, By Aircraft Class, 2017
Source: Coherent Market Insights, 2017-18
Figure 2. Global Inflight Catering Market Share, By Region, 2017
Source: Coherent Market Insights, 2017-18
Players operating in the global inflight catering market are adopting various growth strategies such as technological advancements, buy on board food, ordering and paying via tablets and mobiles. For instance, in May 2013, OTG installed around 7,000 of food-ordering iPads, at half-dozen of the U.S. airports. OTG made a strategic partnership with renowned chefs and restaurants to showcase locally sourced ingredients and seasonal menus.
Major players operating in the global inflight catering market include, SATS ltd., Gate Gourmet, LSG Sky Chefs, DO & CO Aktiengesellschaft, NewrestInternational Group, Emirates Flight Catering, Flying Food Group, Journey Group plc, and DubaiNational Air Transport Association.
An inflight catering, airline food, or in-flight meal is a meal served to passengers on board a commercial airliner. These meals are prepared by specialist airline catering services and normally served to passengers using an airline service trolley. The quality and quantity of the meals served in flight differs by the airline companies and the classes of travel.
Rising number of airline passengers is fueling growth of the inflight catering market. For instance, according to Bureau of Transportation Statistics, in the U.S. total passenger enplanements in 2010, was 720.5 million which was increased to 763.2 million in 2014.
By aircraft class, economy class is gaining traction in the market. Rising number of passengers traveling through economy class is fueling growth of economic services in the inflight catering market. In economic class, the focus is more on affordable meals, beverages, and shelf-stable food for purchase in both long-haul and short-haul flights.
Europe held a significant market share in 2017, due to increasing number of people travelling to European countries and high number of domestic players in inflight catering services market. For instance, one of the important player in the inflight catering services market, LSG Group, headquartered in Germany, served 205 airports with 696 million number of meals by 2017.
Key features of the study:
“*” marked represents similar segmentation in other categories in the respective section.