Qantas has sold its catering operations to Dnata, the Emirates Group-owned air services firm, in one of the most significant deals for the airline catering industry for some time.
The deal comes just a few months after Dnata signalled its intent to bolster its global catering operations by opening a huge flight catering hub at Dublin Airport.
Back in January, the firm cut the ribbon on a state-of-the-art facility that is now providing high-quality catering to airlines. It employs 60 staff in chef, operational, logistics and health and safety roles and can supply up to 4,000 meals each day for long-haul carriers.
The site comprises industrial-sized kitchen, food prep and assembly areas, together with storage, and is the second Irish catering facility it owns alongside one in Cork.
Now the company has further strengthened its global foodservice presence by agreeing a deal to take over all of Australian carrier Qantas’ catering businesses.
The deal includes wholly-owned subsidiaries Q Catering Limited and Snap Fresh Pty Limited. Q Catering has centres in four Australian ports – Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth – with its largest airline customer being Qantas.
Snap Fresh is a state-of-the-art meal production plant in Queensland, specialising in Australian-made frozen meals for airlines and customers in the healthcare and food retail industries.
Under the agreement, dnata will supply catering for Qantas flights for an initial period of 10 years, and Qantas will continue to work with key suppliers in menu design and development.
Dnata’s divisional senior VP of catering, Robin Padgett, said: “By combining dnata’s network strength and international talent with Qantas’ domestic catering expertise, this will allow us to further grow our presence and deliver catering excellence to more customers across Australia than ever before. This includes investing in more infrastructure, starting with a new catering facility in Sydney.”
Dubai-headquartered dnata already operates 11 catering facilities in Australia, which currently trade under the dnata catering brand following a recent rebrand from Alpha Flight Services.
Over the past 12 months dnata has invested significantly in growing its global catering network. As well as the new hub in Dublin, it opened a £35m catering facility in Melbourne and acquired New York-based caterer 121 inflight catering. It is also currently constructing a facility in Vancouver, Canada.
Dnata’s catering operations now span 65 locations across 13 countries. It prepares 320,000 meals every day for more than 190 airlines. The company also operates more than 40 restaurant, café and lounge premises, and collectively employs more than 9,000 people.