Don’t expect cheaper airline meals just because one of the world’s biggest airline caterers is swapping prawns for chicken on menus to save on costs.
Singapore’s Airport Terminal Services (SATS) handles in-flight catering at Changi Airport. SATS controls about 80% of Changi Airport’s ground handling and catering business.
SATS said prawns which used to be available on some flights are sometimes replaced by chicken as the meat is cheaper.
Airlines sometimes “decide to reduce the protein amount just to maintain the price, or they look to substitute protein in terms of the meals,” SATS President and Chief Executive Officer Kerry Mok said in response to an analyst question on cheaper airline meals during a webcast on the company’s fiscal third-quarter results this week.
“If the prawns are too expensive, we will change to chicken.”
SATS said Monday evening that its quarterly income shrank to S$0.5 million (U$375,000, 10 million baht) from S$5.1 million a year earlier. Its shares slid as much as 8% the following day, before closing down 4.7%, their biggest loss in three months. Still, the results were an improvement from the previous quarter, when the company posted a S$9.9 million loss.
The global aviation sector is in rebuilding mode, rushing to bring back capacity and staff to cope with a resurgence in travel. Airline industry losses are expected to total US$7 billion (240 billion baht) in 2022, according to IATA, following losses of US$42 billion in 2021 and US$138 billion in 2020.
During 2020 and the first half of 2021, airlines made drastic cuts to their inflight catering services. However, as the situation improved and airlines introduced new safety measures, they have re-opened lounges and introduced cheaper airline meals and beverage offerings.
Cheaper airline meals helped the global inflight catering market reach US$13 billion (400 billion baht) in 2022. The market is expected to reach US$16 billion by 2028
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