dnata Catering cooks up festive spirit providing over five million special meals globally


·         Traditional roast turkey and mince pie most in-demand meal by airline customers
·         Festive-themed retail offerings also provided to airline partners
·         On-board data analysis reduces food waste & fuel burn minimising environmental footprint

Dubai, UAE, 19 December 2022: dnata, a leading global air and travel services provider, will provide over five million special meals for its airline partners around the world, as passengers travel to see friends and family throughout the festive period.

From mid-December to Boxing Day, the most popular meal for dnata’s global airline partners of a traditional roast turkey dinner will be served. Included will be the important ingredients of such a culturally important meal: turkey, sage and onion stuffing, roast potatoes, Brussels sprouts, finished with Christmas cake and mince pies. The most popular customer additions will be cranberry sauce and bread sauce.

Robin Padgett, Divisional Senior Vice President for Catering and Retail, dnata, explains the process of creating a festive menu: “An airline’s menus are planned out once per year, and many airlines have four annual menus to reflect the seasonal changes.

“Festive menus are signed off in November, after they have been developed by our award-winning chefs. Recipes are then created for all our global stations along with loading and plating guides with photographs of each stage, so that the process is fool proof.

“We also take the special requirements of our airline partners into consideration, with Halal-prepared meat as well as tasty vegetarian alternatives. Special meals account for 45 per cent of total meals provided for our big airline carriers.”

dnata also provides catering services to airline partners via tailor-made on-board retail offerings. “We’ll ensure that passengers of our retail customers also receive the festive experience with turkey, cranberry and stuffing sandwiches and a mince pie to purchase as they make their special journey,” Robin says.

While producing such vast quantities of festive meals, dnata’s catering teams work closely with airline customers to analyse consumption trends and use predictive data to optimise the loading of F&B for in-flight catering. Analysis of on-board data not only reduces food waste but also fuel burn associated with carrying excess weight. In addition, where possible dnata Catering sources and supplies local produce to reduce the food miles associated with menus.

“We are proud that our global customers trust us to provide them and their passengers with the highest quality meals and locally sourced ingredients,” Robin concludes.

Global standards, local menus

In the UK, dnata Catering’s traditional roast turkey dinner will be served approximately 8,000 times per day. In addition, 10,000 tray set items including mince pies and festive-themed chocolates and beverages will be distributed.

In the USA, a similar main turkey meal is served. But rather than a mince pie, a popular dessert amongst American airline partners is Pumpkin pie with spiced mascarpone or cream, or Pumpkin cheesecake and stewed apples. This year, airlines have requested additional sweet treats. They include a Yule log and stuffed profiteroles, a gingerbread cookie and a salted chocolate truffle.

While 75,000 traditional roast turkey meals will be served in Australia for international customers, consuming 1.9 tonnes of meat, some airlines will begin with either a local starter of prawn cocktail or mixed grain and cranberry salad. Dessert will be a choice between warm fruit pudding, Christmas pudding cheesecake, or gingerbread-spiced crumble topped mousse.

dnata’s catering and retail division is one of the world’s leading inflight hospitality providers. In the first six months of the financial year 2022-23, dnata’s customer-oriented teams produced over 50 million meals, serving full service, low-cost and VIP carriers from more than 60 locations.