Wednesday, November 16, 2011

“the feeling of being home….”

Airlines, over the decades, have tried to achieve the elusive goal of home cooking, and Emirates has the same comforting plans, even as it expands in every direction.

Over the next year, more than 30 aircraft will be added to the fleet or delivered to phase out older jets. Emirates made aviation history this week, with an order of 50 777s. It is the largest value order Boeing has ever received.

As Emirates grows to take its place among the world’s largest and most service-oriented of airlines,  those in its food and beverage operations are studying new approaches to their work and looking where past practices have been successful.

Terry Daly (left) and Darren Bott
accepting this year's PAX International
 Readership Award for Emirates. 
On a recent visit to the headquarters, I chatted with Terry Daly the Divisional Senior Vice President of Service Delivery and Darren Bott, the recently appointed Manager Regional Catering Service Delivery at the carrier’s headquarters in Dubai. Bott comes to Emirates from Food Point, the manufacturing subsidiary of Emirates Flight Catering. The trained chef from Australia has also worked for Q Catering during which time he supported the launch of the Qantas Airways' long association with the Rockpool Group and at their manufacturing operation, Snap Fresh.

“What we have done is we have put in place the organization that will manage the next growth phase of Emirates operations around the world,” Daly said. “Because we really have a significant number of aircraft deliveries coming up over the next five to six years.”

The scale-up means that every aspect of the catering operations has to be evaluated to maintain quality and control costs. At this level even small changes carry big ramifications. It has also meant that Daly’s department has to keep a wary eye on competition. While he promised news of important changes in food service in the months and years to come, both men stated that specifics would have to wait until the announcements.

“We’re a great airline, we’ve got some great hardware and great jets,” Bott added  “But it’s really about setting a standard and theme for our cuisine and beverage on board and making sure that where ever we uplift, if you fly onboard Emirates Airline and the aircraft interior was completely white, and you were only served food, you would know you were onboard an Emirates jet.”

Dubai may be an incredible place of growth and business and tourism. But for many people, it’s also home. And Emirates seems to understand the importance of what a taste of home can mean to a passenger who’s been traveling a long time.

-- Rick Lundstrom

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