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Qantas set to sell its in-flight catering arm to Emirates

April 16, 2018 Headline News No Comments Email Email

Qantas is involved in a lot more than flying; its name is linked to life insurance, pre-paid travel cards and art, among other things – but the Flying Kangaroo plans to get out of in-flight catering, signing an agreement for the sale of its catering businesses to dnata, an aviation services company that is part of the Emirates Group.

Qantas still boasts of its passion for in-flight catering. Its Q Catering website says it employs “more than 100 qualified chefs” and goes on to state: “A meal in the air – it’s the focus of the flight, the hallmark of service, the benchmark by which you are remembered and compared. And now you have the opportunity to put the ultimate expertise behind it: Q Catering.”

Now, however, Qantas plans to sell the lot. About 1200 employees of Qantas’ catering businesses will become part of the dnata operation if the sale is approved and goes through. The transaction is subject to approval from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).

Qantas’ catering businesses include wholly owned subsidiaries Q Catering Limited and Snap Fresh Pty Limited (together, “Qantas Catering Group”). Q Catering has centres in four Australian ports – Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth. Snap Fresh is a state-of-the-art meal production plant in Queensland, specialising in Australian-made frozen meals for a number of airlines as well as customers in the healthcare and food retail industries.

Qantas Domestic chief executive, Andrew David, said the sale would enable Qantas to partner with a global leader in inflight catering and prioritise investing in the airline.

“We’ve always said that we would explore the sale of certain assets where it makes sense, just as we’ve done before, including with the sale of our catering facility in Cairns and Qantas Defence Services,” David said.

“The catering businesses will benefit significantly from dnata’s global footprint, catering expertise, and ability to drive investment and growth for what is a core focus of its operation.”

The sale will see the Qantas Catering Group form part of dnata’s Australian operations.

dnata’s divisional senior vice president of catering, Robin Padgett said the agreement reflected dnata’s confidence in Australia as a market and the ongoing growth potential into the future.

“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.

“We look forward to the opportunity to welcome the employees from Qantas’ inflight catering businesses to the dnata team.”

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.

“Customers will continue to enjoy Qantas’ premium service, including unique Rockpool-designed menus for First and Business passengers, showcasing the best of Australian produce for millions of travellers each year,” David added.

“Together with dnata, we’ll continue to deliver the inflight food and beverage experience we know our customers value, just as we work with catering companies in offshore ports for our international flights.”

dnata currently supplies catering for Qantas Group flights in Adelaide, Canberra, London and Johannesburg.

The value of the sale was not disclosed.

Edited by Peter Needham

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