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Is Asiana looking to launch catering business?

Second-largest carrier confirms joint venture with Gate Gourmet

Korea’s second-largest air carrier has set up a joint venture with Swiss airline catering company Gate Gourmet, raising speculation over whether the company is looking to launch its own catering business.

Asiana Airlines and Gate Gourmet launched the joint venture Gate Gourmet Korea here last October. Asiana disclosed at the end of December that it acquired a 5.2 percent stake in the company for 53.3 billion won ($44.2 million), bringing its stake in the company up to 40 percent effective July 2018.

Gate Gourmet is a global airline catering company that is based in Switzerland and part of gategroup. The group is owned by Chinese group HNA, which owns Hainan Airlines. 

(Asiana Airlines)
(Asiana Airlines)

Currently, Asiana Airlines and its affiliate low-cost carriers Air Busan and Air Seoul are serviced by LSG Sky Chefs, which is owned by the German airline group Lufthansa. LSG Sky Chefs has been providing airline catering for Asiana since 2003.

LSG Sky Chefs Korea recorded 187.3 billion won of revenue in 2015, with operating profits of 43.6 billion won, both up from 2014 according to its filings. According to reports, Asiana Airlines is trying to find a new source of profits through in-flight catering.

“Our contract with LSG Sky Chefs does not expire until 2018, and there are no final plans to change that contract yet,” said a spokesman for Asiana Airlines. He declined to comment on the specifics of how Asiana will take part in the management of Gate Gourmet Korea. 

Lufthansa was also not available for comment.

By Won Ho-jung (hjwon@heraldcorp.com)
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