Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Lionel Wilton to depart Alpha March 31

Lionel Wilton (in signature bow tie) with Nasser Lozi Chairman of Royal Jordanian and Majid Alsadi

Alpha Flight Services soon bids farewell to its CEO Lionel Wilton, who will be leaving after spending the last 13 years in Jordan and just shy of 40 years with the company

Lionel was honored at a dinner February 19 in the Sky Lounge at the Millennium Hotel Amman, which included friends and colleagues in the aviation industry.

He guided the company through a number of strategic projects and led the negotiation of many acquisitions and joint venture initiatives, positioning Alpha to its current place as a leading provider of high-quality airline and airport solutions.

“I have been privileged to work with great people across the globe – both our colleagues within Alpha and those of our business partners, enriching my life in the process through the interaction with many cultures, the most influential of which has been that of the Middle East and my beloved Jordan,” he remarked in a recent release.

He has overseen several strategic developments of Alpha’s business, including the original acquisition of the company’s Australian business, the establishment of its interests in the Middle East and the acquisition of Alpha by dnata in 2011.

“It has been a great privilege to work with Lionel who proved himself a professional in his field. I wish him all the best as he had been a great asset to the company and a close personal friend to me,” said Dr. AlSadi Chairman of Alpha Jordan.

For the industry, Lionel has been an important player, working with the International Flight Services Association to put in writing airline the catering guidelines that are now a part of standard practice throughout much of the industry. He has been an important ally for PAX International as a valued source for news and analysis. He has also participated in our events in the Middle East in the past.

Lionel tells us he won’t be visiting the World Travel Catering and Onboard Services Expo in Hamburg this year; but we are fairly certain that we will be seeing him again, somewhere in the middle of important developments in the travel catering industry.

IATA says old legal loopholes too often protect protect unruly passengers

The International Air Transport Association today (IATA) urged governments to close legal loopholes, which it says allows unruly passengers to escape law enforcement for offenses committed on board aircraft.
Government representatives will gather March 26 in Montreal for a diplomatic conference at the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). On the docket are possible revisions to the 1963 Tokyo Convention.
“The revisions would enhance the ability of law enforcement and other authorities to prosecute the small minority of passengers who are violent, disruptive, abusive, or acting in a manner which might endanger safety,” said a release from IATA.
Reports of unruly passenger
behavior are on the rise, says
IATA Director General
Tony Tyler
The Tokyo Convention gives jurisdiction over offenses committed onboard aircraft to the state of registration of the aircraft. With modern leasing arrangements, the state of aircraft registry it is often not the state in which the aircraft lands nor the state of the operator. As a result, IATA contends there are limits to the practicality of enforcement and options available to mitigate disruptive behaviors. 
“For this reason, the airline industry supports proposals for jurisdiction to be extended to both the state in which the aircraft lands and the state in which the operator is located,” said the group.
"Passengers expect to enjoy their journey incident-free. And aircrews have the right to perform their duties without harassment. In addition, the inconvenience to other travelers of a forced diversion is significant. At the moment there are too many examples of people getting away with serious breaches of social norms that jeopardize the safety of flights because local law enforcement authorities do not have the power to take action," said IATA Director General Tony Tyler.   

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Former Etihad exec Werner Kimmeringer forms new company

Etihad Airways’ former Head of Guest Experience - Catering, Werner Kimmeringer will be attending this year’s World Travel Catering and Onboard Services Expo touting a new company he formed after his move to Australia.

Werner Kimmeringer
The company is called Global Catering Service Logistic. Werner had completed a 10-month consulting contract with Gate Gourmet in Sydney and was catching up with family time and working out residency and travel requirements of his new home in Australia, when he touched base with PAX International.

“I am out in the market and building a product profile for airlines, manufacturers and caterers from In-Flight service and product design, pricing and tender process, product waste management (from menu development till product delivery to the aircraft), on board/lounge menu development from writing, translating, proof reading, menu card design to printing,” he says. “Inflight service support mainly for the Asian and Chinese market. My aim is to visit Hamburg to communicate my portfolio to the market in person.”

Werner spent more than five years at Etihad Airways; through some of its most formative and rapid growth periods. During his time there, Etihad developed its refined inflight foodservice product, which included onboard food and beverage managers and later, onboard chefs, winning the International Travel Catering Association’s Mercury award in 2012. He was also active in organizing events and promoting airline catering in the Middle East. Etihad remains a sponsor for the ITCA annual networking event in Abu Dhabi. 

Monday, March 3, 2014

Vivace weighs in on sustainable caviar

Vivace Caviar will be an exhibitor at this year’s World Travel Catering and Onboard Services Expo. Professor Angela Köhler from Vivace will showing visitors the company's practices that extract caviar from a sturgeon without killing the fish.

Köhler talked about the need for such a technique in the short Q and A submitted to PAX International:

1) Can you give some details as to your background when it comes to your career? Where did you start and why? 

Köhler: I am a professor of marine biology with a research focus on the impact of chemical pollution on the health of marine life. My research group is located the Alfred Wegener Institute, one on the largest research institutes for polar and marine research.
Professor Angela Köhler

In 2005, when I visited Ramsar in Iran, I observed the killing of a 1.80-meter mature female sturgeon caught from the wild. It was this realization of how endangered the sturgeon were in the Caspian Sea that sparked the idea of sustainable caviar production. 

In the case of eggs being too ripe for caviar production, both the valuable caviar and the fish itself were discarded. After subsequent discussions with members of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) as well as with contacts from the World Sturgeon Conservation Society (WSCS), I was encouraged as a scientist to study the use of mature stripped eggs in caviar production without harming the sturgeon.

2) In your opinion is industry doing enough when it comes to food sustainability?

Köhler: No, absolutely not. Although consumer awareness of ecological issues is growing, the food industry as a whole is reluctant to change its production processes to deliver sustainable and recyclable food and packaging.

The responsibility for sharing information on how to protect the welfare of both humans and animals as well as the sustainable management of ecosystems should be shouldered by manufacturers and distributors, who need to be reactive and proactive. In addition, the media has a key role to play by featuring regular articles to better inform readers. Indeed there are many examples of such responsibility being discharged but there is still some way to go.

In general, consumers want luxury and indulgence but not at any price and certainly not if it results in an animal species becoming extinct. Although the trend of Lifestyle of Health and Sustainability (LOHAS) is becoming more prevalent in many societies, it doesn’t necessarily mean that consumers are fully informed. However, if I take the example of international airlines, 2013 represented significant change for the travel catering and on-board services industry as Virgin Atlantic announced its partnership with the Sustainable Restaurant Association in response to increasing consumer demand for sustainable dining that will see the airline’s entire global catering operation rated for its compliance.

3) Do you believe the customer or the industry has driven the progress in sustainable foods?

Köhler: The customer - definitely yes! The more demanding consumer expects healthy food without toxins from packaging, e.g. Bisphenol A, no toxins in the food itself, no microbial risks as well as zero or minimal preservatives. In my opinion, consumers do not want to be held responsible for causing ecological destruction and the extinction of a species such as the sturgeon. On the other hand, customers still want luxury and indulgence but only if this is responsibly sourced and managed and I believe that flying commercial passengers are a perfect example of how this can now be put into practice. We can offer airlines a fully natural caviar experience all year round that can be adapted to suit individual requirements and tastes which incorporates fresh quality for passengers.

4) Food sustainability is often associated with a higher price unit for the customer. Is this changing?

Köhler; Cheap food production and high volumes are often associated with the use of hazardous pesticides, fertilisers and growth stimulants - factory farming. Producing large quantities of healthy food is both costly and labor intensive. Regrettably, the industry is not exploring the potential innovation in biotechnology - which is not about genetically modified organisms and plants - to produce bulk foods by mimicking nature and using nature as a model.

5) What is Vivace’s long-term plans with regard to production facilities? When do you hope to open the second facility and would you look at a different geographical location?

Köhler: At our local production site which is close to Bremerhaven, we will produce approximately 10 tons of naturally-produced caviar in the next few years, with no harm to the fish. We have various scenarios, which we’re discussing for future expansion, looking at both our domestic and international markets.

6) What advantages do Vivace’s products have for airlines and other transport companies?

Köhler: With clean eggs, no preservatives and a long shelf life, Vivace offers a variety of caviar textures from “tender“(smoother texture) to the “perl “(deeper texture - also called the “Caspian snap”) which can be exclusively tailored for customers, e.g. flavor intensity and the age of the fish; the perl texture is a perfect fit for on-board menus, whether for airlines or other transportation. As Vivace harvests caviar all year round, we can accommodate flexible delivery schedules depending on customer requirements.

7) What is the breakdown of Vivace customers to date, i.e. which industries and locations do you supply to?

Köhler: We currently have two main target sectors, which are hotels, restaurants and caterers together with the tourism industry that includes airlines and cruise lines.

8) As you are looking to enter into the global travel market, how adaptable is Vivace caviar in meeting the needs of different cultural tastes? 

Köhler: Well first of all, there are no religious restrictions to enjoy our sustainable caviar! The reason our caviar can appeal to a wide cross-section of cultures around the world lies in its purity and clean taste. With our patented process, the caviar is extracted in a humane way and it is free from blood and tissue remnants. Our products differ in texture as I’ve described and the packaging labels either have a green band around the packaging that indicates first spawning (primo) or a red band which signifies at least two spawnings (molto) so that customers can choose between different ages of sturgeon.