LATAM Airlines launches new onboard dining concept for long haul flights

LATAM Airlines has unveiled a unique onboard dining concept for the Economy cabins of its long-haul international flights.

On flights of seven hours or more, LATAM has replaced its traditional culinary offering, comprising several component parts, with a choice of individual gourmet dishes that are 50% bigger than the previous hot meals and come with fewer accompaniments.LATAM food

The main dishes are said to showcase Latin American, international and vegetarian cuisine. Passengers will be given a menu and able to choose from three options for lunch or dinner: a hot dish, vegetarian meal or a lighter cold option, accompanied by a drink and sweet snack. Breakfast will also include two options – all at no additional cost to passengers.

The new catering concept was developed over 16 months together with catering experts at the Gategroup Innovation Centre in Amsterdam. During this process, LATAM carried out 14 in-flight trials and found that, on average, passenger satisfaction scores for overall in-flight experience had doubled with the new dining concept, compared to previous Economy service on long-haul flights.

Over 300 new dishes have been created, which will be served to an average of 14,000 passengers on 64 flights each day. Two examples of the new dinner options include gnocchi with Parmesan sauce and slow-cooked lamb with ginger squash purée.

The new dining experience is already available onboard flights to and from Chile and will be introduced throughout the airline group’s international network by the end of 2017.

“We truly believe this innovative new dining concept is going to transform the way that passengers experience in-flight catering,” said Gategroup’s VP Customer Experience, Anne De Hauw.

“At LATAM, we are committed to offering our passengers an unrivalled travel experience and they tell us that onboard dining is one of the most important differentiators,” said Claudia Sender, Senior Vice-President Clients, LATAM Airlines Group.
“The passenger was central to every decision in the development process. We asked them what they wanted and collaborated with industry experts and our cabin crew to ensure it was deliverable on-board. Every detail was important to us – from the ingredients used to how each dish is prepared and served,” she added.

Green day at Chicago

Air BP (2)On November 8, Air BP supplied biojet to its customers at Chicago O’Hare International airport in support of the “Fly Green Day” initiative taking place at the airport – and as part of the company’s broader commitment to a lower carbon future. The occasion marks the first time that biojet has been delivered via the airport’s existing fuelling infrastructure to customers at one of the world’s busiest airports.

“This is the first time we have supplied our customers with biojet produced from alcohol, and demonstrates how we are working with multiple suppliers to build a leadership position in this area,” commented Air BP’s CEO, Jon Platt. “We anticipate that through this promotion we will inspire more of our customers to use lower-carbon fuels.”

Biojet is a blend of conventional jet fuel and renewable jet fuel, usually made from alcohol or plant and vegetable oils.

Fly Green Day is an event organised by US advanced renewable fuels company Gevo, in collaboration with Chicago O’Hare International, to help boost the commercialisation of biojet.


More unionisation at Minneapolis-Saint Paul

At Minneapolis-Saint Paul International, ramp agents working for Swissport have voted to become members of Teamsters Local 120. In all 114 service providers, who look after baggage handling at the station, have joined Swissport’s aircraft refuellers, who are already represented by the union at the airport.

“Congratulations to everyone who worked hard to fight for union representation at Swissport,” commented Tom Erickson, President of Local 120. “We’re looking forward to negotiating a fair and equitable contract.”

Wages, health care, turnover and safety were the main issues workers cited as their reasons for joining Local 120; indeed, these subjects have been aired many times over the last couple of years in a variety of sectors within the US, as lower paid employees have struggled to make their voices heard.

During the process a number of volunteer organisers from US Foods assisted the ramp agents, telling them what to expect from management after they had filed for an election.

Brazil’s catering gets a fresher look

Gate Gourmet has officially started up operations at its newly-built facility in São Paulo’s Guarulhos airport. This unit replaces the facility where the company has been operating since 1995 when it entered the Brazilian market.

The new facility will enable Gate Gourmet to back its customers’ growth following the airport’s privatisation and expansion through an on-airport facility equipped with state-of-the-art technology and with optimum layout and process flows based on gategroup’s global best practices.

The 17,000 square metre building has a 2,100 square metre production area, where around 720 employees can produce up to 36,000 meals for airline and retail customers per day.

Gategroup’s MD & President of Latin America, Edwin Garcia, comments: “As leaders of the airline catering market in the Latin America region, we are fully committed to continue growing and expanding, in order to meet our global customers’ needs and demands. Our new facility at São Paulo’s Guarulhos airport allows us to keep pace with the market while ensuring the highest global standards and delivering operational excellence.”

China gives 15 scanners to Bolivia worth US$11m

Scanning technology at the main Bolivian airports is being renewed, thanks to the donation of 15 scanners by the People’s Republic of China. This machinery will serve to facilitate and speed up the processing of both passenger baggage and cargo. The scanners were delivered to the National Customs of Bolivia at the start of October.

The equipment will be installed in the main airports of the country: five will go to Viru Viru International airport, in Santa Cruz, where four are destined for international flights and one for cargo control. Three will be placed in La Paz, two in Cochabamba, and one in the border area of Tambo Quemado, to help with customs control and the fight against smuggling and trafficking.

The President of the ANB, Marlene Ardaya, said that this new equipment would allow for a quicker luggage process, saving time and speeding up the passenger traffic at the airports in question. The scanners can check up to 300 bags per hour and this system easily detects any irregular elements, which replaces manual supervision.

FAST forward to Europe

FAST Global Solutions, the US designer and manufacturer of non-powered ground support equipment, is continuing its global expansion theme and has announced a new Europe-based manufacturing, sales and service operation that will be centred in Paris, France.

American Airlines Cargo wins quality award

American Airlines Cargo has won a 2017 Quest for Quality award in the annual customer satisfaction and performance excellence survey, for the second consecutive year.

The survey, conducted by the Peerless Group and Logistics Management magazine, has been undertaken over a period of six months from the start of the year for almost 30 years. Around 5,500 survey respondents voted across a number of criteria which saw American recognised as the best for global service excellence.AA Cargo

Peerless Group’s Editorial Director, Michael Levans, said: “When you consider the challenging environment in which transportation and logistics service providers have had to manage during the past year, we believe that walking away with a Quest for Quality Award in 2017 is nothing less than a monumental achievement that should be celebrated across your entire organisation”.

Kim Trahan, American’s Cargo Operations and Trucking Manager, accepted the award at a gala awards ceremony in Atlanta. Trahan commented: “Awards like this matter the most since they are voted on by the professionals within our industry who use our services week in and week out.” She went on to thank American’s teams around the world for their part in delivering consistently exceptional customer service.

This is the third customer-voted award American has received this year. In April, it was voted Cargo Airline of the Year and Best Cargo Airline of the Americas by the readers of Air Cargo News magazine.

Towing to the MAX

Electric vehicle manufacturer LEKTRO has confirmed the certification of its AP8950SDB-AL-200 for towing the Boeing 737 MAX. In do doing, this becomes the first towbarless towing vehicle to be certified to handle the new Boeing aircraft. Thanks to the versatility of LEKTRO’s proprietary automatic aircraft recognition system, this also means that the company’s larger AP8950SDB-AL-250 is certified for use on the B737 MAX

Eagle Tugs’ move finalised

Tronair, a portfolio company of Golden Gate Capital, has announced that Eagle Tugs has successfully moved into 1 Air Cargo Parkway East in Swanton, Ohio. This new, state-of-the-art facility will become the home to all of the Tronair portfolio companies. Within a week of Eagle’s relocation, the first production unit came out of the facility.

Silent running at Sacramento

Sacramento International airport has taken a further step in the transition towards a more environmentally-friendly airport, having secured an FAA grant.

Proterra sept 2017The award of US$2m will allow it to pay for half the cost of five shuttle buses and charging stations. Proterra has been chosen as the vehicle supplier and these buses are expected to enter service next year, carrying passengers between car parks, terminals and car rental facilities.

The airport also plans to open a large, on-site solar farm this year, which will produce up to one-third of the facility’s electrical needs.

Together, the buses and solar facility will reduce airport costs and lighten the airport’s environmental footprint. The solar farm alone is expected to save US$850,000 year. The new buses will supplement the airport’s existing fleet, which runs on compressed natural gas.

Florida’s Sarasota Manatee Airport Authority Awarded $7 Million Grant for Airport ImprovementsBus Network Redesigns Are the ‘Hottest Trend in Transit’The buses and solar facility will reduce airport costs and lighten the airport’s environmental footprint, officials said. The solar farm is expected to save $850,000 year.The new buses will supplement the airport’s existing fleet, which runs on compressed natural gas. “In the long run, it is much more economical to run electric vehicles, and at the same time we are not contributing to greenhouse gas emissions,” spokeswoman Laurie Slothower said.

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