[ Thailand ] The landscape of the airline catering business at Phuket airport is undergoing a transformation with Bangkok Air Catering Co (BAC) breaking up a long-standing monopoly.

29 August 2017

BAC, part of the Bangkok Airways group, recently brought on stream its state-of-the-art airline catering facility near the airport, which was completed in 10 months construction time. BAC, part of the Bangkok Airways group, recently brought on stream its state-of-the-art airline catering facility near the airport, which was completed in 10 months construction time. The facility aims to cash in on growing demand for airline meals at Thailand's third busiest airport. BAC provides options for airlines beyond what is offered by Phuket Air Catering Co (PAC), a joint venture of Thai Airways International, Airports of Thailand (AoT) and Pearl Group for some 25 years. Linus Knobel, managing director of BAC, told the Bangkok Post that the company is not aggressively pursuing existing clientele from PAC in order to quickly build market share.

"We would rather seek business from airline newcomers, those that carry double loads and those that already have business connections with BAC," said Mr Knobel. He cited Turkish Airlines and Qatar Airways, both of which have been served by BAC at Suvarnabhumi and operate flights to Phuket, as examples of new clientele at Phuket. Some international airlines such as Etihad and China Southern carry their in-flight meals from their countries of origin to serve passengers on return flights from Phuket. Seven airlines have already come to inspect BAC's in-flight offerings and facility, which classify as potential customers, said Mr Knobel.
BAC produces about 3,000 meals per day, delivering them to Bangkok Airways, Turkish Airlines, Asia Atlantic and Bangkok Airways' lounge at Phuket airport. The company looks set to ramp up output to 5,000 meals a day over the next two months as high-season airline demand comes in, raising its manpower to 150 from 85 at present. Some 3,000 of the 5,000 meals are expected to go to Bangkok Airways. BAC expects to fully utilise its Phuket facility's design production capacity of 12,000 meals a day over the next five years under a conservative business scenario.

The company will ponder over the next few years whether and when its Phuket facility, which is operated under a 30-year concession granted by AoT, should be expanded, said Mr Knobel. In related news, he confirmed Chiang Mai will become BAC's next air catering investment. Over 200 million baht will be spent to set up a catering facility on five or six rai next to Chiang Mai airport. The facility is scheduled to open in October 2018 with a production capacity of 6,000 meals per day, though initial output will be 2,000-3,000 meals a day.


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Credit: Bangkok Post

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