BlueWeave Consulting, a leading strategic consulting and market research firm, in its recent study, estimated the global in-flight catering services market size at USD 13.56 billion in 2022. During the forecast period between 2023 and 2029, BlueWeave expects the global in-flight catering services market size to grow at a significant CAGR of 11.52% reaching a value of USD 29.19 billion by 2029. Major growth drivers for the global in-flight catering services market include increasing number of aircraft deliveries to commercial airlines. To optimize costs, airlines, including both full-service and low-cost carriers, are outsourcing various procedures and operations on the ground and during flights. Passengers consider on-board catering services as a crucial factor when selecting an airline, thereby influencing the business models of flagship and low-cost carriers. Airlines are partnering with renowned hotels to outsource their catering services, emphasizing the importance of food quality and catering in enhancing the overall flight experience. The competition among catering service providers is intensifying due to rising competition among airlines, while advancements in technology and environmental trends are transforming the in-flight catering services market. However, high operating costs is anticipated to restrain the overall market growth during the period in analysis.
Global In-flight Catering Services Market – Overview
The global in-flight catering services market refers to the industry that specializes in providing food and beverage services to passengers during flights. It encompasses a comprehensive range of activities, including meticulous menu planning, precise food preparation, careful packaging, and timely delivery of meals to airlines. In-flight catering services play a vital role in meeting the diverse dietary preferences, restrictions, and expectations of passengers, while ensuring strict compliance with safety and hygiene regulations. This market serves both full-service airlines and low-cost carriers, focusing on delivering exceptional quality meals and enhancing the overall in-flight experience. The market dynamics are influenced by passenger demand, the growth trajectory of the airline industry, efficient cost management strategies, sustainability practices, and innovative technological advancements.
Impact of COVID-19 on Global In-flight Catering Services Market
COVID-19 pandemic adversely affected the global in-flight catering services market. With travel restrictions, flight cancellations, and a significant decline in passenger numbers, airlines have been forced to reduce or suspend their catering services. The closure of airport facilities and reduced flight operations significantly decreased the demand for in-flight meals. Catering service providers faced financial challenges, operational disruptions, and had to implement workforce reductions. The industry adapted by implementing strict health and safety protocols, exploring new business models, and focusing on pre-packaged and contactless meal options. The recovery of the in-flight catering services market depended on the gradual lifting of travel restrictions and the restoration of passenger confidence as air travel demand slowly resumed.
Global In-flight Catering Services Market – By Airlines
By airlines, the global in-flight catering services market is divided into Large Airlines, Medium Airlines, and Small Airlines segments. The large airlines segment held the highest share in the global in-flight catering services market by airlines. This segment is projected to continue its market dominance over the forecast period, primarily due to its extensive customer base. The large airline segment is experiencing rapid growth worldwide, driven by factors such as affordable airfares, a thriving tourism industry, and efforts to enhance global connectivity in an increasingly globalized economy. Airlines are actively upgrading their fleets and investing in advanced aircraft to effectively compete with low-cost carriers, maintain profitability, and improve fuel efficiency. This positive transformation in the airline industry is expected to result in a surge in air passengers and subsequently fuel the growth of in-flight catering services within large airlines. Meanwhile, the medium airline segment is expected to witness the fastest growth rate during the forecast period. This growth can be attributed to the increased adoption of analytical tools and automation in in-flight catering, aimed at reducing costs and enhancing the efficiency of food delivery. Also, as global travel gradually resumes following the COVID-19 pandemic, medium-sized airlines are expected to benefit from an increased number of travelers from various regions. Compared to large airlines, medium-sized carriers typically operate within a specific country or limited international locations, making it easier to curate specific cuisines tailored to their target markets.
Major players operating in the global in-flight catering services market include ANA Catering Services Co. Ltd, DNATA, DO & CO., Emirates Flight Catering, Flying Food Group, LLC, Gate Group (Gate gourmet), LSG Lufthansa Service Holdings AG, Newrest International Group, SATS Ltd, Servair SA, Cathay Pacific Airways Limited, and Brahim’s SATS Food Services. To further enhance their market share, these companies employ various strategies, including mergers and acquisitions, partnerships, joint ventures, license agreements, and new product launches.
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