Friday, September 28, 2012

Rewarding sustainable travel initiatives

From one corner of the trade floor to the other, this year’s International Flight Services Association event featured the latest efforts by companies seeking to satisfy the demands by airlines for products that meet environmental standards.

Several of those companies are from the United Kingdom and would do well to consider offering their products and green initiatives for the 2013 Ashden Awards for Sustainable Travel, sponsored the railroad Eurostar. The awards are open to travel related businesses in the United Kingdom, France and Belgium.

Eurostar is considering programs that promote more sustainable forms of travel, help improve quality of life, reduce congestion and pollution and cut carbon dioxide emissions.

Entries for the awards will be open for another month, but end October 30. Two winners will share a £30,000 prize at a ceremony next June. Last year’s winner was the City of Ghent in Belgium for a UK car-sharing website.

The award is part of Eurostar’s Tread Lightly program, undertaken to improve its own environmental impact. Interested parties can visit the Award's website for more information.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Air France and Servair’s Dakar Flight Celebration

To mark the second edition of the French FĂȘte de la Gastronomie September 22,
 Air France and Servair offered gourmet treats and a question and answer session with chefs for passengers of AF 718 between Paris and Dakar.
During the flight, passengers were be able to talk to the chefs and learn the fine points of the travel catering trade. Seasoning a dish served on board,  ingredients not compatible with air transport, advice on presentation and other insider information about airline cuisine were shared during the trip.
 “We are delighted to give our chefs the occasion to meet passengers and demonstrate our devotion to fine cuisine and give them an insight into our universe”, added Claude ThĂ©nevin, Executive Vice President Sales, Marketing and Innovation at Servair.
On the menu
Economy passengers: Autumn Verrine made from lentil and duck magret salad, mushroom carpaccio and fried prawns
Business and Premium Economy passengers: Salmon Mousse Roll

Friday, September 7, 2012

LSG Sky Chefs receives Fraport Energy Award

A dishwashing information management tool that reduced consumption and saved energy has earned LSG Sky Chefs Fraport Energy Award 2012 in the category "highest savings.”
The program, called SIMBA, started as a pilot project in April 2010, when it was installed in the eight dishwashing lines at Frankfurt International Airport. Reductions in energy and water consumption were noticeable immediately. The system also allows for easy documentation of chemical usage and temperature measurement. Data is captured at 16 points throughout the dishwashing process by an in-house developed software tool, and is made available in real-time through an intranet.
"If defined target values are exceeded, alarm messages are sent to the service technician, who can react immediately to the deviation", explained Gerd Aeckerle, Section Manager Facility Management in FRA ZE.
SIMBA has since been rolled out globally and was initiated immediately after the successful pilot project in Frankfurt International. Sixty-five LSG Sky Chefs facilities worldwide are working effectively with SIMBA.
Fraport presented the "Fraport Energy Award" for the first time this year. All companies that purchase their energy from Fraport were asked to submit their energy efficiency projects in the categories "highest savings" and "innovation.”

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Cruise shipping growth comes to Asia

About the same time as the airline industry will be gathering in Seattle and Long Beach, another segment of travel will be meeting in Singapore to discuss cruise industry growth with a renovated terminal to serve as the backdrop. 

The renovated Marina Bay Cruise Centre in Singapore welcomed its first ship, Royal Caribbean's Voyager of the Seas, in May of this year. The terminal is notable not only for being the newest cruise terminal, but also operated by a company familiar to all in the airline catering industry. 

The boarding hall at Marina Bay
Cruise Center in Singapore. Part of
a $14 million renovation project
completed this year
SATS has teamed with Creuers Cruise Services of Barcelona to manage the operation. CEO of the consortium Melvin Vu will be one of the guest speakers at the Cruise Shipping Asia Pacific event September 17-18. In a Q and A session with the conference organizers, Vu laid out what he sees as the advantages of having private management over local government boards which are common in cruise shipping in the United States and elsewhere. 

"By contracting a third party to handle terminal operations, you are actually encouraging greater innovation, efficiency and growth of the cruise industry," Vu said in the interview. 

He added: "Through our joint strengths and expertise, we are able to introduce and execute innovative solutions that the government may find challenging, and are in a better position to take calculated risks and investments to further grow Singapore’s cruise industry. All in all, it leads to a more efficient use of resources, which benefits all stakeholders."

Vu laid out a future in Asia with larger terminals, better technology and a greater integration between cruise lines and cruise terminals. Before it took over the management contract at Marina Bay, SATS pioneered a "Cruise Fly" and "Fly Cruise" service that helped to effectively move passengers from the airport to the ship. 

A number of other industry heavyweights will be speaking at Cruise Shipping Asia Pacific. A full program can be found here

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Flying Food adds hybrid high-lift

Flying Food's hybrid at O'Hare

Flying Food Group added a fuel-saving hybrid high-lift refrigerated truck to its fleet at Chicago’s O’Hare Airport this summer.  

The truck is part of the company's overall move towards increased sustainability, noted FFG Executive Vice President of Airline Sales Nicolaus Rondeau. The new vehicle operates on both diesel fuel and electricity, with possible fuel savings of up to 30%.  During loading, fuel savings can reach 50% as the high lift operates solely on batteries.

This hybrid truck puts out fewer emissions during the entire flight catering process.  The truck's chassis is by International (Navistar), hybrid drive train by Eaton Corp, van body by Global and refrigeration by Carrier.  

Monday, August 6, 2012

Strengthening a link

Emirates reports that one of its most notable route success stories has been its daily flight between Dubai and Glasgow.

So much so, that on June 1, the carrier launched a second daily flight and the event was kicked off with a party at the airport’s Skylounge. Visitors had the chance to taste offerings from the airline’s premium class menu with the help of caterer Alpha Flight. Among the VIPs on hand were Darren Bott, Emirates’ Regional Catering Manager and Alphas Development Chef, Des O’Connor. During the event, visitors had the chance to feast on first and business class service with a tasty menu of offerings.

Others in attendance were city leaders from Glasgow, airport management and Laurie Berryman, Emirates’ Vice President UK.

Alpha itself is on the verge of entering a new phase in the United Kingdom. With its partnership with LSG Sky Chefs Europe Holdings, an incorporated venture called Alpha LSG Ltd. will become effective October 1. A team of Ken Adamson, Managing Director of Alpha Flight UK and Axel Bilstein, a senior executive with LSG Sky Chefs will be in charge of the operation.  The 50/50 venture was formally announced in March of this year. Alpha alone will continue to cater British Airways at its dedicated operations in Ireland and at London Gatwick.

Alpha LSG Ltd. estimates combined revenue of £300 million with the joint venture which will be carried out at 16 airports across the UK

Friday, July 27, 2012

Korean Air offers complimentary sweets at LAX

For the past few months, Korean Air is offering newlyweds, honeymooners and passengers celebrating their birthday a sweet treat to honor the occasion. 

The July 22 issue of the Los Angeles Times has a short piece on how a timely phone call can turn a flight into a little party. The cakes and cupcakes are made at an airport bakery out of LAX. Passengers can't specify flavors or toppings but the treats are available complimentary. 

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Inflight meals for interplanetary long-haul

Even in an era without a space shuttle, research continues at NASA. This week the Associated Press, and Minnesota Public Radio is reporting on the Administration's efforts to come up with a meal program for a mission to Mars, somewhere around 2030.

NASA plans to load up a mission of six to eight astronauts with a cargo of freeze-dried meals with a shelf life of at least two years. Once on the Red Planet, NASA expects that the new settlers should be able to do some cooking on their own with vegetables grown in a hydroponic solution.

The program, done with the help of Lockheed Martin, has developed more than 100 recipes, according to the story. Without dairy or meat it looks like astronauts of the future will be relying on what would be the Special Meals in, airline lexicon.

“To ensure the vegetarian diet packs the right amount of protein, the researchers are designing a variety of dishes that include tofu and nuts, including a Thai pizza that has no cheese but is covered with carrots, red peppers, mushrooms, scallions, peanuts and a homemade sauce that has a spicy kick,” said the story.

Like most government programs in the United States today, the biggest obstacle to developing sustaining the meals for Mars is funding. A joint US-European robotic mission to Mars was recently cancelled and NASA is facing budget constraints.