The China inflight catering market is estimated to register a CAGR of over 4% during the forecast period.
- The upturn in the Chinese aviation industry and the increasing emphasis on food quality services may lead to growth in the market in the coming years.
- Technological advancements, such as meal ordering devices (MOD), coupled with the growing adoption of inflight catering services by low-cost carriers in China, are expected to provide growth opportunities for the China Inflight Catering Market in the years to come.
Key Market Trends
Full Service Carriers are Expected to Grow at a Faster Pace During the Forecast Period
Currently, in the Chinese inflight catering market, full-service carriers occupy the highest market share in the flight service type segment. Nowadays, some airlines, like Turkish and Etihad, have started providing personalized chefs to their premium class passengers. Airlines earlier used to procure products from their source points, which led to an increase in costs. They are now sourcing products from the destination points, and this has significantly cut down logistics costs. Moreover, the number of low-cost carriers in the market is increasing, with favorable government regulations, opening up of new city pairs, and liberalization of traffic flow. Thus, the ongoing advancements in inflight catering for full-service carriers may lead to a focus on this segment. To increase air passengers’ airlines are introducing attractive menu, for instance, China Airlines had introduced a number of summer-themed offering in its in-flight menu, like Okinawa-only hand-painted eco-friendly boxed lunch, Italian gelato on European routes, refreshing complimentary plum juice for Business Class and a variety of other summer beverages to provide air passengers with new and cooling catering services to beat the summer heat. The market of inflight catering in China will grow as many Chinese airlines are expanding their fleet, for instance in July 2019, Air China announced plans to buy 20 A350-900s from Airbus with an estimated cost of USD 6 billion. Such developments are expected to help the growth of the segment in the years to come.
The Economy Class Segment is Projected to Grow at a Fast Pace
Currently, in the Chinese inflight catering market, by aircraft class, economy class is expected to have the highest share. As economy class passengers have a choice of the service and type of airline, carriers cannot serve them substandard meals and have to maintain high-quality standards because the food is a major deciding factor of economy class passengers. China saw an increase in air passenger traffic, from 611.74 million air passengers in 2018 to 660 million air passengers in 2019. The rise in air passengers will force airlines to add new aircraft in their fleets which will give rise to the inflight catering market. One of the major trends in China's economy class meals is the growing preference of passengers for healthy in-flight food services. Historically, business and first-class passengers were always ahead in demanding healthy food options, but now the economy class passengers are also joining the demand. Instead of red meat options, like beef and pork, passengers are demanding white meat, like chicken and fish. Kullaflyg, which is a Sweden-based airline, took advantage of this trend and started serving economy class passengers with organic inflight meals. Economy class remains the most significant segment for each airline in China. However inflight caterers are facing many challenges like time of flight, length of flight, the point of embarkation and disembarkation, the cost of labor to make a food item, the ability of the meal to withstand low humidity and pressures.
Various players, such as Air China, China Eastern Air Holding Company, Guangzhou Nanland Air Catering Co. Ltd, HNA Group, LSG Sky Chefs, and Cathay Pacific Catering Services (H.K) Ltd hold a significant market share in the Chinese inflight catering market. Companies in the market are trying their best to extend their presence in the market by gaining new contracts or by extending their existing contracts. In June 2018, LSG Sky Chefs extended its catering agreement with Cathay Dragon at the airline’s Hong Kong hub for a further seven years, extending the service through 2025. Such contract extensions are possible when the airlines are satisfied with the offerings of the caterers. Thus, caterers need to make sure they provide good quality food to the passengers as per the schedules, to gain the trust of the airlines.
Reasons to Purchase this report:
- The market estimate (ME) sheet in Excel format
- 3 months of analyst support