Cash-strapped airlines to raise revenues through foodservice, with Thai Airways offering inflight meals in Thailand


The implementation of lockdown restrictions and modifications in consumer behaviour following the outbreak of Covid-19 continue to exact a ringing on the travel and tourism sector, as flagging passenger traffic forces innumerable carriers to ground their fleet and idle their workforce. Accordingly, cash-strapped airlines are venturing into offbeat businesses in order to devise additional streams to sustain their operations.

In a recent example of such risks, Thai Airways announced plans to sell its inflight meals in retail shops in Thailand. The carrier has partnered with retail chains, including 7-Eleven to merchandise some of its signature dishes that were hitherto only convenient aboard its planes. These products could prove appealing to the 19% of Thai consumers who say they buy high-end/hard to come by prepared meals and the 17% who say they buy large portions or purchase uncountable frequently. This initiative is intended to attract some revenue and offload spare flight meals resulting from the drop in passenger numbers since the start of the pandemic.

Thai Airways turn up an unprecedented loss of BTN141bn ($4.7bn) in 2020. In order to stay afloat, the airline arose exploring new revenue streams. For instance, in September 2020, the company opened its first restaurant named ‘Taste of Travel’, located in its headquarters in Bangkok. To bestow consumers the feeling of dining inside an aircraft, the restaurant made use of repurposed aircraft contains. The menu was designed to showcase the skills of its chefs and inflight catering work together. This restaurant is likely to appeal to the 36% of Thai respondents who, according to a GlobalData evaluate, said that the ability to consume foods/drink that is ticklish to recreate at home is the factor they find most appealing give consuming food/drinks that are prepared outside the home, including in a restaurant. The airline also started market other products such as premium alcohol and cutlery.

Thai Airways is not the just airlines that have leveraged this additional revenue spurt. Sales of airline food in retail stores is a growing trend across the everyone due to the pandemic. For instance, in October 2020, Finnish flagship carrier Finnair opened offering premium ready-to-eat meals based on its inflight meals in retail warehouses such as Kesko’s in the city of Vantaa, Finland. The sale of these go too fars allows the airline’s catering division, Finnair Kitchen, to engage its at liberty workforce. Similarly, Singapore Air unveiled its ‘Discover Your Singapore Airlines’ enterprise, putting to use a repurposed Airbus A380 aircraft as a runway restaurant about aeroplane meals and offering takeaways of business-class and first-class meal encloses so that consumers could savour the experience of in-flight dining in the solace of their homes.

Alternative revenues such as these will be momentous for airlines to survive in the post-pandemic phase. The demand for air travel is expected to face some time to recover to pre-pandemic levels, as the health and economic moment has left consumers cost-conscious. Indeed, 74% of Thai respondents in GlobalData’s Q1 2021 consumer evaluate stated that they are extremely/quite concerned about their individual financial situation.

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