Airline-catering-limitation-and-work-flow

Airlines catering needs highly specialized skill, technology and quality oriented food catering  for the  passengers and the crew members . There should be greater emphasis on hygiene aspects and just in time production. It also involves an planning regarding landing and off loading along with theflight time schedules, The food service provider should have a separate valid license and special standard operating procedures should be followed to prevent any risk of cross contamination thus,food poisoning in thousand of feet high above air.


Though,Flight kitchen production is a typical form of mass catering it has some unique features clearly  distinct from food preparation in restaurants and hotels. The time difference between food production in the flight kitchen and finally serving it on board an aircraft with limited kitchen facilities makes flight catering a high-risk food preparation operationThe complexity of the production procedures in the flight kitchen also increases the microbiological hazards associated with this type of food preparation. Major factors affecting the hygienic quality of the food are the size of the operation, the complexity of the in-flight service, the number of airlines catered for, the number of flights serviced during the day and the duration of the flights to be serviced. There are various important factors needed to be considered for in - flight catering which are :-
1) Hygiene is a very important factor in any kind of food production but as far as airlines catering is concerned, it assumes a much more importance to the extent the entire production schedule is designed as per the HACCP requirements.
2) Any food poisoning case can become critical as food is consumed miles above the ground where immediate medical help will not reach. Again,lets imagine, for instance,if the pilot and the co – pilot gets affected by the food poisoning who’ll fly the aircraft to safety? Thus, one needs to be more careful as far as airlines catering is concerned.
3)There is no opportunity of deviation or scope of flexibility as far as airlines catering is concerned as far as the weight and the presentation of the dishes are concerned. They are all pre – set and must be strictly adhered to.  There is wide opportunity in the restaurant catering to deviate and innovate.
4) Time is another important aspect to be kept in mind. The food production is not the only task to be accomplished.it must be cooled, packed, loaded and then carried to the aircraft,all before the scheduled time of departure of the flight. In a restaurant, there might be food delays and it can be compensated for in many way.but,will an airliner company delay its flight just because the caterer could not reach the food on time.


Workflow of In-flight Catering

The work of the Flight Catering can be broadly divided into two halves: The cooking of food and its packaging and loading .The responsibility of the caterer ends after the food is handed over to the crew on board.
The Provisional load is placed 24 hours in advance. Exact figure can never be given as there are bound to be variations due to last minute reservations and cancellations. After the initial load is specified by an airliner, revised load, if any, is also provided after a specified time gap. Buy on Board (BOB) orders are revised three to four times as per the contract between the airlines and the caterer. A KOT is raised accordingly and the food is packed from the holding. The trays are also set up as per the requirements. (The tray set up is not the responsibility of the production section)
As per the trend of the consumption and the rotation to be served, the purchase ordering sheet is filled up. With the help of a proper software it reaches on line to the purchase manager. The ingredients are ordered for and duly checked at the receiving. Segregation of the stores are done. Bottled and tinned products, rice, cereals, oil etc are sent to the store room. The vegetables are washed and sent to the veg prep area. All the items needing frozen storage is sent to the appropriate deep freezer. Egg, cheese etc are sent to refrigerated storage. The kitchen can pick up the things as per the requirement from the store through on – line requisition. The receiving brings to the knowledge of the kitchen immediately any kind of short supply. The store maintains a par stock of approximately one week’s consumption.                                                                
The food is then processed keeping in view the production schedule. At every processing point, temperature control is kept. Ultimately after the food is prepared, except certain items, they are blast chilled and sent to the holding areas from where they are portioned out in the Dish out area as per the KOT received. Weight specifications and the presentation, if any must be strictly adhered to here. After portioning, the food is again sent to the holding area. These are loaded onto different trolleys. The operations take care of the food from here. There are different coloured tags which help in easy identification as to which material, be it raw of processed belongs to which day of the week.
The operations double check and then the airliner representative seals the trolleys. These are then loaded onto the hi loaders which take the food away to the aircraft.
Note : In Nepal LSG skychef is only the one company offering for in-flight Catering service . It is located in gaushala, Kathmandu ahead of the bridge which was brought under franchise by Hotel Soaltee crowne plaza in April 1 ,2004

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