On-board catering exhibitors at SIAL Middle East

SIAL Middle East hosting exhibitors as inflight catering sector tops US $19bn

Mohammed Jalal Al Rayssi
Mohammed Jalal Al Rayssi

At SIAL Middle East, the newly-rebranded OnBoard Catering exhibition is set to attract buyers from more than 50 major regional airlines as the Middle East aviation industry predicts 400 million passengers by 2020.

With global in-flight catering expected to be worth an estimated US$19 billion by 2018 and GCC-based carriers accounting for a significant portion of that figure, the opportunities for travel catering-related service providers to partner with the region’s airlines will be a major draw at this year’s event.

“The GCC is leading the world when it comes to aviation sector expansion and innovation, and with passenger volumes continuing to rise, supported by regional carrier fleet expansion and ambitious network programmes, this is fuelling ever-increasing demand for onboard catering services,” said Mohammed Jalal Al Rayssi, director of communication and sommunity service division at Abu Dhabi Food Control Authority (ADFCA) and chairman of the SIAL Middle East organising committee.

According to International Air Transport Association (IATA) statistics, the Middle East’s airlines are forecast to carry up to 400 million passengers on their scheduled services by 2020 versus 144 million passengers in 2012. By 2015, Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Doha international airports will have a combined annual capacity of 190 million passengers.

“Airlines spend a reported average of between 2-3% of total budget expenditure on catering but with the low cost carrier model approaching onboard food and beverage from a different revenue perspective, there is active debate in the industry on the commercialization of inflight catering and the value of balancing passenger expectations with complementary core services,” said SIAL Middle East managing director Joanne Cook, managing director.

She added: "With high profile industry players continuing to fast track innovation with a range of products offering OnBoard Catering provides a targeted platform for the industry to explore new opportunities in this high value sector.

"This year’s event will also feature a dedicated Airlines VIP Lounge, reserved for the exclusive use of our airline visitors, representing more than 50 airlines in the region, and many of which are part of our hosted buyer programme."

The three-day event will also include the 33rd edition of the Mercury Awards, the winners of which will be announced at a gala awards ceremony on November 24, 2014.

Held under the patronage of HH Sheikh Mansour Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Deputy Prime Minister of the UAE, Minister of Presidential Affairs and Chairman of Abu Dhabi Food Control Authority (ADFCA), SIAL Middle East 2014 will also include the inaugural co-located Middle East Pack exhibition.

Other regular features include La Cuisine by SIAL international chef competition and the SIAL Innovation Area, which is a showcase for the world’s most innovative food and beverage products, including winners from the global competitions from events in China, Brazil, Canada, Paris and The Philippines.

The event is taking place from 24-26 November 2014 at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre.

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