The Asia-Pacific inflight catering market is projected to register a CAGR of more than 10% during the forecast period.
- The rising emphasis on customer-centric food menus is currently driving the Asia-Pacific inflight catering market, as most of the airlines are adding new items to their menus, with the idea of providing better quality food to passengers by keeping their preferences in mind.
- With the increasing air travel in this region, the induction of new destinations and new long-haul flights may create future opportunities for the Asia-Pacific inflight catering market.
Key Market Trends
Hybrid and Other Flight Types Segment May Experience the Highest Growth
The hybrid and other flight types segment of the Asia-Pacific market is expected to witness the highest CAGR during the forecast period. This segment includes the catering provided in hybrid business model airlines, charter jets, and private jets. Though the revenues are currently the least from the segment, the high anticipated growth of the segment is primarily due to the increasing preference toward hybrid carriers and their increasing penetration in the region’s market. These hybrid carriers blend low-cost carrier traits with that of full-service carriers to maximize the profit. Also, new hybrid airlines are starting their operations in this region to cater to the rising international passenger traffic. During 2012-2017, about 15 long haul low-cost airlines were launched globally, out of which AirAsia X, Jin Air, and Lion Air, among others, are the prominent hybrid airlines in the Asia-Pacific. Bamboo Airlines, the new Vietnamese hybrid airline, started operations in January 2019. Similarly, Air Premia, an airline based in South Korea, is anticipated to begin its operations by September 2020. The introduction of new airlines in this model is expected to be the driving factor for the market. However, due to the slow growth of the economy in Asia-Pacific, the private jet charter market in the region is still in its infancy and is anticipated to continue its gradual growth in future.
Inflight Catering Market in India May Experience the Highest Growth
The Indian inflight catering market is expected to grow at the highest rate during the forecast period, owing to the growing aviation market in the country. The boom in air travel in India is adding a new dimension to the inflight catering services business. Around 20 million people availed domestic airline services and around 10 million passengers used international airline services in the country, as of 2018. With an expected increase in traffic, of 20%, over the next two years, the inflight meal business is poised to register a significant growth. Besides, the entry of domestic airlines into intercontinental routes is expected to create competition among caterers, forcing them to be innovative. For instance, in May 2018, Vistara launched a "Chef On-board" program in partnership with the airline’s caterers, Taj SATS Air Catering Limited. According to the company, Chef On-Board is an innovative and a first of its kind initiative in India, where chefs will take direct and instant customer feedback on the new menu introduced across the network. Such efforts to enhance the inflight catering experience may help the growth of the players in the country. Nevertheless, the largest inflight catering market in the region currently belongs to China, due to high aviation activity in the country. In order to cater to the growing aviation demand, airlines in China are procuring new aircraft and introducing new routes. In order to maintain their competitiveness, Chinese airlines are re-designing their inflight menus to increase their profitability while maintaining food quality. In the Chinese market, due to the high competition in the airline market and low profit growth of small- and medium-sized air carriers from additional supporting services, airlines have been dropping the idea of providing complimentary inflight meals to economy class passengers, which is expected to reduce the growth of the market during the forecast period.
LSG Sky Chefs, Gategroup, Sats Ltd, Cathay Pacific Catering Services (HK) Ltd, and Emirates Group are some of the prominent players that have a strong presence in the Asia-Pacific inflight catering industry. Mergers and acquisitions, along with collaborations by the major companies, are making the market more consolidated. For instance, Qantas sold its catering business to its global alliance partner, Emirates, in April 2018. However, the last two years saw an increase in the partnerships between the caterers and the airlines in Asia-Pacific. For instance, in June 2018, LSG Sky Chefs extended its catering agreement with Cathy Dragon at its Hong Kong hub for seven years, through 2025. The market in the region is characterized by the presence of a large number of local caterers. For instance, as of 2019, there were around 120 catering companies involved in the inflight catering business locally, in China alone. Increasing R&D investments to integrate innovations with culinary excellence, in order to provide premium quality food for airline inflight catering services, are expected to allow companies to attain better positions in the market.
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