Overcoming the 5 Top Challenges in Airline Catering

You are cruising at 36,000 feet, your stomach rumbles as the flight attendant approaches with your inflight meal. They place it on your tray-table and a delicious smell engulfs your nostrils. You tuck in. But where did this meal come from? How was it prepared? And how was it loaded onto the plane? These are probably not questions you are going to be asking, or even considering as you enjoy your inflight meal; but there are many technicalities that must be performed and analysed to ensure successful inflight service.

Airline catering is not like any other type of catering, it has many more challenges, such as restricted storage space, food safety regulations, short turnaround times and frequent changes to flight schedules, to name a few.

A typical airline will need to load around half a million items per day, operating on a very tight schedule. With so many challenges, the planning and logistics that contribute to the end result are often underestimated.

 

Support and Innovation

To provide the highest standard of passenger service, it is important to implement innovative services and deliver hybrid operational service strategies. This approach enables airlines to provide wider price options on the same flight, to satisfy both passengers who expect a high standard of service and those who want to minimise their expenditure.

 

 

Increase Operational Flexibility

Flexibility is essential in airline catering, and service change requests need to be implemented quickly and seamlessly. Having the flexibility to change the menu in a very short period, from design and planning, to preparation and delivery, is key to providing a range of products and services to passengers.

 

Improve Efficiency

With short turnaround times and rising fuel costs to contend with, improving operational efficiency is essential. Preparation duties prior to departure need to be more efficient without compromising on service quality.

 

Supply Chain Optimisation

Optimising the supply chain is another challenge that must be overcome to provide the highest quality of inflight services whilst regulating costs. Improving consumption forecasting to reduce food waste and reduce stock levels is a top priority for airlines. Having accurate information about stock levels and smart consumption forecasting technology can save airlines a significant amount of money.

 

Real-time and Accurate Data

To reduce delays, airlines and staff need to have accurate, real-time operational data available to enable fast decision-making. Providing airports and airlines with real-time data regarding inflight services, helps to reduce delays that can have a major financial impact for both the airport and airlines.

In order to overcome these challenges, utilising innovative technology that provides data-driven solutions is essential. With so many different processes involved in airline catering services, having a streamlined overview of the relevant information can increase efficiency and prevent delays.

From the ability to intricately manage supply chain activity, to dynamically coordinating inflight service operations, Promeus provides all the tools needed to overcome some of the most challenging hurdles in the industry.

A Breakdown of Flight Economics

With passengers facing increased prices for flights, many people are questioning why flights cost as much as they do. Airlines are striving to get the balance right between making adequate profits and not outpricing customers out of flying. There are so many costs involved in operating as an airline and the actual flights are just one aspect of that.

Here’s a breakdown of the main costs that are contributing towards the cost of flight tickets:

Fuel

Fuel is one of the largest costs for airlines and with fuel prices increasing by around 150% in the last year, this is the biggest concern for airline companies. Fuel prices are fluctuating all of the time and the fuel costs per flight will depend on distance, the type of jet, load, weather conditions and many more factors. As an example, a B747 Jumbo Jet flight from London to New York would cost over £50,000 in fuel based on the current fuel prices.

Employee salaries

Airlines have to employ a large number of staff in order to operate, including pilots, flight attendants, ticket agents and ground support. As well as paying salaries and additional benefits to staff on payroll, most airlines will pay contracts for cleaners, caterers and baggage handlers. Studies show that around 35% of an airline’s operating expenses are spent on staffing.

Fleet ownership and maintenance

Plane re-fueling

Purchasing or leasing, storing and maintaining aircrafts accounts for a large proportion of the operational costs for airlines. Many airlines lease their aircrafts to keep costs lower, as buying a basic Boeing 737-700 plane costs upwards of £70 million, while other aircrafts will cost considerably more. Leasing an aircraft will usually cost from £350,000 per month, depending on the aircraft model. Replacing parts cand regular maintenance an also be very expensive but essential costs to ensure that aircrafts meet safety regulations.

Taxes and duties

Like any other businesses, airlines must also pay their required taxes and duties, which will be calculated based on their profits and other tax details.

Miscellaneous expenses

Airlines will also have lots of other relatively smaller costs such as insurance for lost luggage add leasing desks from the airport.

Airlines have been facing severe disruption in recent years with pandemic travel restrictions and are still recovering from the financial losses from that period. Now with fuel price increases to deal with as well, airlines must identify as many cost saving opportunities as possible.

Many airlines are utilising technology to help reduce costs by using a wide range of tools and digital solutions that can drive operational efficiencies. Lomature and Promeus software can help airlines to operate more efficiently by identifying smarter ways to manage catering plans and other in-flight services.

Through intelligent systems that monitor and report on catering management, the software enables airlines to save money while also helping to deliver a better quality of service to customers. Using a sophisticated Galley Planning tool, Lomature can streamline each galley load and keep waste to a minimum.

Find out more about Lomature and the other solutions that are available from Promeus.

 

The Financial Times created an in-depth article about fuel prices – read it here.

 

How to Manage Stress at Work

Many people who are affected by stress can experience work-related stress, with the high demands of their job or lack of mental health support being some of the underlying issues.

As well as being detrimental to a person’s mental health, stress, depression and anxiety accounted for 19.9 million workdays lost in Great Britain in the year 2019-20, so finding solutions to reduce workplace stress is important to both the employee and employer, now more than ever.

Main causes of stress in work

Heavy workload

One of the top reasons for people feeling stressed at work is because they are unable to manage their workload. This could be for a variety of reasons, such as not getting enough support, unrealistic demands from the manager/business or tight deadlines due to the nature of the work or other factors causing delays that are outside of the person’s control.

Long hours

In addition to a heavy workload, having to work long hours is another problem that can easily result in stress if not rectified. By law, employees in the UK are not allowed to work more than an average of 48 hours per week but often people will be working long shifts or taking work home with them that they can not finish during office hours.

Increased duties or changes

Organisations often go through changes such as restructures and this can result in employees taking on new responsibilities or getting additional tasks to their usual workload. Changes to management or team structures can also cause stress due to the uncertainty or adapting to a new way of working.

How to minimise stress as an employee

Employees feeling stressed at work should try to identify the key reasons behind their stress, so that they can take the relevant actions. If they are struggling to cope with the workload, asking for some support might lead to a solution.

There could be processes that need to be improved so that the workload can be better managed. Looking after your mental health outside of work can also benefit you when at work, such as trying to get more sleep, having a healthy diet and doing activities that relieve stress, such as regular exercise.

How to minimise stress as an employer

As an employer, you have a responsibility to protect your employees’ health and safety, including their mental health. Helping to reduce stress levels can prevent absences and can also boost productivity and customer satisfaction by having more engaged employees.

Employers should ensure employees have regular check-in meetings with their line managers to discuss any issues they have and offering an employee assistance programme will also be beneficial. Training for both employees and managers on stress management and wellbeing is also recommended and monitoring employee workload is also important.

Utilising digital solutions and finding ways to make processes more efficient, including automation of tasks can help to reduce employee workload. In the airline industry, catering management systems such as Promeus provide a solution that removes lots of time-consuming tasks for airline employees.

Mind UK has many solutions and tools available for both employers and employees to manage stress.

Find out more about how Lomature’s digital solutions can help your airline to manage employee wellbeing and streamline your catering processes.

Get your airline summer holiday ready!

Summer is a time when everyone around the world takes their travels to various countries around the globe. Many people will be jetting off for their summer holiday which means all airlines need to be prepared before the hectic travel season kicks in.

From Menu Administration to Invoicing, Lomature can assist you and your airline every step of the way, ensuring smooth sailing for your airline. From implementation to management of our cloud-based system, Promeus is something every airline should have on board.

Who are we?

Formed in 2008, Lomature Limited specialise in the management and administration of in-flight catering systems. We currently manage and provide top-level expertise and support to our strong customer base across the UK, Europe, and the USA, and for airlines such as Virgin Atlantic and KLM.

In 2012 we shifted our strategy from servicing third-party in-flight catering systems and developed our full end-to-end SaaS Inflight Management and Administration application suite.

Promeus

The beating heart of Lomature is our Promeus, and with this full end-to-end software, the sky is the limit (no pun intended!). Our ever-evolving strategy provides our clients with class-leading SaaS Solutions, Managed Services, and Support.

Several modules can assist you with streamlining your airline services, including:

Menu Administration – this consists of service plans that incorporate the budgetary information by region, route, or specific flight number and all tax calculations.

Flight Planning – a consolidated view of the planned provisioning for any flight that exists in the airline’s flight schedule.

Flight Operations – used by the supplier to make the changes such as the update of the product quantities, adding and deleting special meals, or products that previously have not been scheduled on the service plans.

Invoicing – generates invoice values from the planning of the flight, through to operational changes, and once the flight has departed.

Document Management – an online portal for storing, distributing, and tracking all airline documents and information.

Reporting – provides sophisticated business information that allows the airline to manage cost, wastage, and performance of suppliers and the business rapidly and accurately.

Management

Along with our market-leading software, we have over 25 years of experience managing competitors’ software from across the globe.

We can manage every aspect of your inflight catering software from most of the major competitors in the market including Promeus.

Contact Us

If you wish to know more about the Promeus software, we have a FREE online webinar coming up on June 8th.

Click the link and sign up today – https://d36.co/14XSN

We provide free demonstrations and proof of concept to all airlines that are interested in using Promeus to simplify the running of their airlines.

If you’re interested in Promeus and what else Lomature can offer you but want more information, then please don’t hesitate to contact us.

📩 sales@loamture.com – OR – 📞 +44 (0) 162 544 1553

In-flight Seating Layout