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Food Directions: Comair and British Airways provide in-house catering

A quest to tighten controls and provide top quality food to the BA and Comair groups.

by: Caro de Waal - Editor | 11 Sep 2013
plane food

British Airways (operated by Comair) and Food Directions provide fresh and tasty on board catering

In 2012, JSE-listed Comair Limited launched its own in-house catering operation, Food Directions, in a quest to tighten controls, improve flexibility and provide customers with top quality, fresh and tasty meals – which include hot, cold and snack meal options - onboard British Airways (operated by Comair) flights. 

Shaun Pozyn, Marketing Manager of British Airways (operated by Comair) says, 'Having our own in-house catering operation gives us more control of the quality of the meals, and allows us to adapt and change our o nboard meal offering thus ensuring that our customers are treated to new and exciting quality dishes.'

The Food Directions team consists of 180 people in Johannesburg and 100 in Cape Town.  Customer and crew feedback is continuously reviewed to ensure that customers’ expectations are met. 

State of the art equipment

The new state-of-the-art bespoke kitchens, have been designed for maximum productivity, smooth preparation and cooking flow; and best hygiene practices. There are hot and cold kitchens, plating areas, chillers, freezers, sanitation, and receiving and dispatch areas.  To maintain the highest standard of freshness and quality at all times Food directions observes internationally recognised hygiene practices and makes use of tried and tested Food Safety Management standards.

I was there and toured the facillity - it was squeaky clean and run like clockwork. We delved into the workings of each section and saw, real-time how the food is made and the strict quality and hygiene controls. I was very impressed.

In-flight food does not traditionally have a good reputation

Cindy Joyner, Operations Manager of Food Directions says, 'In-flight food traditionally does not have a very good reputation so we aim to change this by producing quality, delicious meals made with the freshest ingredients on all British Airways (operated by Comair) flights.

Through extensive onboard experience with our customers we have realised that our customers are looking for fresh, recognisable, substantial meals replacing what they would normally have made at home or ordered in a restaurant. Sometimes caterers get too tied up with offering the latest innovations in food styling, and they forget their audience. We try to combine the latest food trends with palatable menu items that our customers might have chosen themselves if they had the option.”

Food Directions also supplies with a selection of soft drinks, beers, wine, hot beverages, sweets, biltong, heath rolls and gourmet muffins, for its buy onboard model and manages the catering logistics system.

Interesting facts about Food Directions
•    Produces 4 097 special meals per month
•    Produces 169 725 normal meals per month
•    Has nine hi-loader trucks countrywide
•    Operation run 20 hours a day
•    At any given time Food Directions has 759 catering trolleys, 621 catering containers, 2 829 catering drawers in the air
•    Pantry weight on British Airways galleys: 900 KG
•    Pantry weight on kulula galleys :600 KG

- Caro de Waal


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