British Airlines: fewer meals loaded on board to reduce food waste?

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British Airways is testing a new catering system where it will not load enough food for all passengers on flights in an effort to combat the food waste.

The business blog View From The Wing first reported the news, citing an internal company memo. Past attempts to reduce food waste have seen some customers go hungry because there was not enough food for all passengers on board, people familiar with the matter told the blog. The airline also said on Friday Insider that she was constantly investing in her restaurant experience and that she “worked hard” to reduce food waste.

The idea behind the new policy is that on some long-haul flights, not all passengers will want to eat as they would prefer to forgo meal service and get as much sleep as possible. In the coming weeks, British Airways will put this theory to the test by no longer loading enough meals for each passenger on some late night flights And early in the morning. “We are reviewing the loading of meals on flights where we see consistent patterns of food waste while ensuring that all customers who request a meal receive one” British Airways said in a statement.

What is worrying for bloggers is also that recently the British airline has encountered “unforeseen operational problems” with its DO&CO caterer (in October), meaning some short-haul flights took off from London without any meals on board, the industry news blog said Paddle Your Own Kanoo. The airline also reportedly had problems with its meal service last month when it encountered a refrigeration problem on a 12.5-hour flight, which would have forced it to serve KFC to passengers. An internal memo explained that the ultimate goal of the project was to reduce the mountains of food waste that accumulate at the end of each long-haul flight. The problem is that fresh food prepared and served on international flights must be destroyed to comply with health regulations stringent measures designed to prevent epidemics of animal diseases. In practice, the vast majority of unused catering, including wrappers and even unopened water bottles, must be incinerated.

Willie Walsh, who was CEO of British Airways from 2005 to 2011, had previously led a series of cost-cutting measures at the airline. His successor, Alex Cruz, who served as CEO from 2016 to 2020, continued to cut costs. This included the removal of free drinks for passengers on its short-haul economy flights, the Sunday Times reported. When Sean Doyle, the current CEO and chairman of British Airways, took over in 2020, the airline began offering travelers a free bottle of water, a sweet snack and crisps, The Sunday Times reported. Last month, the airline resumed offering passengers free tea and coffee on its short-haul routes.

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