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 (Photo: Bloomberg)
(Photo: Bloomberg)

Return flights serving food stocked from India will save 49 crore annually

  • Air India spends around 600 crore to 800 crore annually on catering costs and it plans to cut down on this expenditure
  • Air India would be able to save 17 crore per year through "return catering" on Stockholm-Delhi and Copenhagen-Delhi routes

NEW DELHI : Air India has started serving food stocked from India on 11 return flights from eight foreign cities, and it plans to save around 49 crore annually through this measure, a senior official said Monday.

The 11 return flights are Copenhagen-Delhi, Stockholm-Delhi, Birmingham-Amritsar, Birmingham-Delhi, Vienna-Delhi, Madrid-Delhi, Singapore-Delhi, Singapore-Mumbai, Bangkok-Delhi, Bangkok-Mumbai and Shanghai-Delhi, the Air India official told PTI.

"When the aircraft departs from here (India), the food is stocked in chillers to keep it fresh. So, when the aircraft is returning from a foreign city to an Indian city, this food is served to customers," the official said, assuring that it remains "fresh and tasty".

"According to our estimates, we will be able to save 48.97 crore annually on catering costs on these 11 return flights," the official said, adding that the national carrier is planning to replicate the measure on "all flights where it is feasible to do 'return catering'".

Air India spends around 600 crore to 800 crore annually on catering costs and it plans to cut down on this expenditure.

The official told PTI that according to the airline's estimates, it would be able to save 17 crore per year through "return catering" on Stockholm-Delhi and Copenhagen-Delhi routes.

"Through 'return catering', we will be able to save 19 crore on Singapore-Bombay and Singapore-Delhi flights. On Shanghai-Delhi flight, we will save 1.94 crore per year. On Vienna to Delhi flight, we will save 4.38 crore per year," the official said.

"On Birmingham-Delhi and Birmingham-Mumbai flights, we plan to save 4.17 crore. On Bangkok-Delhi and Bangkok-Mumbai flights, around 1.87 crore will be saved," he said.

However, on Madrid-Delhi flight, the airline is estimated to save only 61 lakh annually through "return catering".

Air India did not respond to the queries sent by PTI.

On January 9, Air India's Chairman and Managing Director Pradeep Singh Kharola had announced that the airline had started carrying food from India for use during the return journey, in an attempt to rationalise catering costs on international flights.

"The food is taken from here in India in chillers and then it is heated whenever it has to be used...Catering costs for us are around 600 crore to 800 crore a year. Catering in India is 3-4 times cheaper as compared to catering in the West," he had said on January 9.

On January 12, Air India issued a statement on Twitter clarifying that any misgiving about the in-flight food is "unfounded" as it stays fresh in chillers on-board. The airline said that it "ensures strict compliance to quality checks at every step of its in-flight catering right from its flight kitchen".

Air India is estimated to have a debt burden of more than 48,000 crore and the government's efforts for strategic disinvestment of the flag carrier failed in May last year. It has been making losses since the merger with Indian Airlines in 2007.

High interest burden, increasing competition, high airport user charges, adverse impact of exchange rate variation and liberalised bilaterals to foreign carriers leading to excess capacity in the market are among the reasons for the losses, according to the civil aviation ministry.

This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text. Only the headline has been changed.

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