Why airline catering is safe in times of COVID-19

Airline catering has historically been one of the most closely regulated areas of the food industry in terms of safety and hygiene measures. As we enter a new stage of the corona pandemic, a trade association is aiming for its members to adopt even stricter rules to make summer travel even safer than before.

The Airline Catering Association (ACA), of which the LSG Group is a founding member, just issued a set of industry guidelines designed to reassure customers, and the flying public in general, that flying and consuming food onboard is safe. This assertion rests on the fact that the World Health Organization (WHO) has declared that food is an “irrelevant” factor in the spread of the corona virus.

Variety of food for airline catering

Based on what are called the “4Ps,” the ACA guidelines provide directives for risk assessment aimed at guaranteeing the safety of inflight catering. They cover key risk areas: People, Premises, Policies/Processes/Procedures and Procurement. Included are measures for maintaining social distancing, utilizing the proper Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) at different stages of a pandemic and staying flexible amid rapidly changing conditions.

“In the face of this unprecedented crisis we, the members of ACA, felt that it was necessary for us to provide some extra guidance for a safe business operation throughout a pandemic,” said Erdmann Rauer, LSG Group CEO and Chairman of the Strategic Committee of ACA. “As our customers begin to ramp up their operations, we also want to work with them in developing recommendations for how to deal with products, packaging and reducing touch points in our catering processes during this transitional period.”
Since every airport, airline, and aircraft is different, the ACA guidelines provide additional controls and checklists tailored to the local risk landscape and are adaptable in an ever-changing world.

“The catering industry guideline that we are putting forward address three different severity stages of a pandemic, based on our experience with COVID-19,” said Ulrike Enneking, Head of Global Operations Compliance and Quality at the LSG Group. “The goal is to implement a risk based best-practice approach that can be applied to all business activities and adapted as conditions evolve, with some overarching principles like observing social distancing, wearing masks and frequent hand-washing.”

As the press release announcing the guidelines states, travel and tourism provide 10 percent of jobs and GDP worldwide, and inflight catering is a vital pillar of modern travel. That is why these guidelines will play such an important role in our industry as we enter the new stage of this pandemic and beyond.

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