Europe In-Flight Catering Market - Growth, Trends, and Forecast (2018 - 2023)
The Europe in-flight catering services market is anticipated to register a CAGR of 3.96% over the forecast period 2018 - 2023. European diet is distinctly different from rest of the world. However, European passengers, do not hold high expectations from their airlines and are the least demanding of all demographics.
STRONG LOW-COST CARRIERS IN EUROPE
The global aviation network transported over 3.5 billion passengers on 34 million scheduled departures. By 2030, this number is expected to double with low-cost carriers (LCCs) playing a significant role in the exponential expansion of aviation over the past 20 years. Post the deregulation of the European Union commercial air market during the 90s, LCCs began their conquest in European countries. With over 270 million trips per year, the LCC business in Europe has emerged as one of the largest in the world, followed by North America and Asia. With its successful journey over the past 17 years, the LCC sector dramatically grew considerably in Europe. Offering considerable benefits to customers through low fares and choice with regards to regional and minor destinations was the success secret for the LCC. LCC as a sector represented a stimulus to independent travel, improved the tourism sector significantly and as a whole, changed the preference of conventional European travelers.
The growth of the LCC sector in Europe could be accounted for rapid market liberalization. The domestic aviation sector has deregulated in some countries. The air services agreements became the new international norm, and the LCCs in Europe seized the opportunity to offer better air services, spawning new passenger demand in the region. Ryanair, Easyjet, and many other low-cost-carriers have exploited the creation of a joint aviation area in the European Union. Furthermore, LCC segment accounts for 39% of the overall market by flight in 2015. European LCCs mainly succeeded with their laser-focus strategy, identifying the prospective airline passengers’ value and modulating their offering as per the demand.
Present day European LCCs have moved a step ahead in market dominance by making collaborations with full-service carries, resulting in a hybrid model. It is estimated that the LCC sector in Europe will account for 50% of the aviation sector by 2025. This growing LCC is expected to boost the number of air travelers, opening up new opportunities for the in-flight catering market significantly.
Efficient pricing, demand driven destinations, and attractive booking channels have propelled the market for LCC sector significantly in Europe. This growth is expected to propel the airline travel in the region, acting as a primary driver for the Europe in-flight catering services market during the forecast period.
UPTURN IN THE AVIATION INDUSTRY
Air transport is one of the key contributors to the European economy. According to IATA (International Air Travel Association) the European aviation industry is expected to grow at 3.7% per annum in 2016. Both Airbus and Boeing shall play a key role in the growth process. The European airlines also witnessed a successful year in 2015. Although, there had been a low economic growth in the region in 2015, the European carriers witnessed a higher operating profitability in 2015 as compared to 2014 with Lufthansa, Ryanair being the leaders in terms of profitability. In 2018, airlines in the European region are estimated to deliver a profit of USD 11.5 billion according to IATA. The European airlines shall benefit from the economic recovery in their home markets, including Russia.
The European Union aviation policy has profoundly transformed the European Union aviation sector by creating a competitive environment, ensuring both service quality and the highest level of safety. Airlines, airports, consumers and the employees benefited from this since this policy resulted in aggressive activity, new airports and routes, greater choice, increased overall quality of service and low prices as well.
The airline catering market is a sub-segment of the transport catering industry, the growth of which is largely dependent on developments and growth in the aviation industry. Growth in airline passengers over the past few years has affected the airline catering business to a considerable extent. However, revenues declined steeply due to the global economic slowdown and hike in fuel costs during 2008-2009, which changed the entire dynamics of the Europe aviation industry. The trend accelerated due to the growth of low-cost carriers on account of which network airlines had to drop in-flight catering services on various flights. The trend of serving pre-packaged meals in airlines has been on the rise for the past few years. The airline catering market is expected to rise on account of improving demand for airplane transportation, increasing number of airplane deliveries and growth in airline passengers.
HIGH-SPEED TRAINS GAINING TRACTION
European air traffic is most concentrated in the UK, Germany, France, Spain, and Italy. In recent years, high-speed rail (HSR) has expanded substantially in Europe, providing an attractive alternative to air transportation, especially for short-haul intercity travel. The expansion of high-speed passenger rail service is often argued as a potentially useful, lower-carbon substitute for intercity air travel. The development of high-speed rail lines in Europe has resulted in substantial shifts in mode share from aviation for intercity passenger transport in this region.
High-speed rail (HSR) is often promoted as a lower-carbon alternative to aviation, particularly for short-haul, domestic travel. High Speed Rail (HSR) activity totaled to around 625 million kilometers in 2015 with the markets of Europe, China and Japan account for 95% of the global HSR activity. The shift to HSR presents an opportunity as the railways sector play a significant role in the reduction of carbon-di-oxide emissions from transportations which shall lead to displacing short haul aviation. On the other hand, despite having the above mentioned benefits, the market share of passengers travelling by the railways have fallen in the European region owning to the increasing number of train cancellations in the second quarter of 2016 owing to railway strikes.
Travel time, fares, access time, frequency, trip purpose, and income are some of the major factors affecting the choice of transport. In Europe, high-speed rail is the dominant choice for trips where there are either very short or very long access distances. For air transportation and HSR in France and Spain, it is very difficult for air transportation to compete effectively in short-haul markets of 500 kilometers or less. There appears to be a correlation between rail journey time and air traffic decline; there is still substantial variation in air traffic for these O-D pairs, even for routes where rail journey times are identical.
High-speed rail (HSR) is considered in some nations as one component of a broader climate policy agenda (e.g. in US). Also, the distances covered by trains are spatially more efficient and therefore make it possible to link more cities than the same distance covered by planes. The introduction of high-speed rail might have significantly reduced passenger demand for air transportation in Europe. However, annual traffic trends at the airport (or city) level have shown that total air traffic has continued to increase. While domestic traffic has indeed declined, there has been a substantial increase in intra-EU traffic over this same period. A shift of capacity by airlines from short-haul to long-haul flights have been one of the major developments in Europe, in the last decade. From the perspective of airlines, long-haul flights are often more attractive because they are typically more profitable than short-haul flights, due to the disproportionately higher costs associated with landing and takeoff.
Air travel in Europe is witnessing an exponential growth rate and the demand for the former is set to grow by over 50% by 2035. On the downside, airport capacity is one major issue haunting the European mobility today. While the rest of the world, especially in the Middle East and emerging Asia-Pacific countries are expanding their airport infrastructures dramatically; Europe is lagging behind and is expected to result in massively congested air traffic by 2035. It is estimated that over 12% of the demand in air transport will be unaccommodated, resulting in over 240 million passengers unable to fly. Economic regulation, financing challenges and planning rules to political intervention are few of the significant obstacles to the expansion strategy. ACI Europe stated that the airport capacities need to be monitored at the European Union level. For this, European Union guidelines, which will provide local authorities with a common comprehensive framework when considering airport expansion schemes, have to be delivered.
Infrastructural issues as such seem to be a long-term issue. However, making use of the existing capacity for handling more passengers is a primary concern as well. Airports have to be empowered to respond to the supply and demand changes for optimal use of the slots. In 2014, a new mandate was issued based on the Eurocontrol’s ‘Challenges of Growth 2013’ study and Commission’s 2011 Communication accompanying the airport package.
Key Developments in the Market:
June 2017: Coupa Software which is a leader in the cloud based spend management has announced that Emirates Flight Catering has chosen the Procure-to-pay (P2P) in order to obtain a greater visibility into the business spending done by the company and also to streamline the procurement process across the organization.
July 2017: Cathay Pacific and Newrest International Group S.A.S have extended their partnership. After serving in four weekly flights in Madrid in June 2017, the Newrest International team shall start serving in the Cathay Pacific airlines.
Major Players: FLYING FOOD GROUP, GATE GOURMET, EMIRATES FLIGHT CATERING, CATHAY PACIFIC CATERING SERVICES (HK) LTD, LSG SKY CHEFS, IGS FLIGHT CATERING SERVICES, JETFINITY AMONGST OTHERS.
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