Many readers may know that British Airways has historically used multiple catering suppliers at its London airports.
At London Heathrow, catering for the vast majority of long-haul flights is provided by Gate Gourmet. Under a concession operated by Tourvest, M&S provides Buy-On-Board food for EuroTraveller short-haul economy. Do&Co provide meals for Club Europe and in Club World on flights to New York JFK. DHL also provide logistics support for catering on short-haul flights, having signed a ten year deal with BA from April 2010.
Today, Tuesday 11 September 2018, BA has announced that Do&Co will provide catering for all flights from London Heathrow from 2020.
Based on Do&Co’s catering in Club World on the New York JFK route, this should be a significant upgrade in quality. Though, of course, like any caterer they will work within the budgets specified by BA.
It should be said that the transition from DHL and Gate Gourmet to Do&Co at Heathrow will be a huge logistical exercise that is not without risk of teething troubles. When DHL secured the BA contract, it made a significant investment in facilities at London Heathrow. Not only do catering suppliers provide food, but also in-flight retail and amenities for passenger comfort.
The move to a single catering supplier at Heathrow is a reversal of a previous decision to use separate suppliers for short and long-haul flights.
In 2005, there was very significant disruption to in-flight catering at Heathrow due to an industrial dispute at Gate Gourmet, then the sole supplier of catering to BA at London Heathrow. It took many months for catering on all flights to fully return to normal. The subsequent use of separate suppliers for short and long-haul flights was intended to mitigate against this risk.
In the absence of any announcements to the contrary, it is assumed that Marks & Spencer will continue to provide Buy-On-Board food for short-haul economy flights. There’s no indication of BA reversing the decision to offer Buy-On-Board catering in short-haul economy. That said, its predictions that all other major European airlines would follow suit also hasn’t come to pass.
At Gatwick, BA has long used Alpha LSG to provide in-flight catering and they will also be replaced by Newrest.
BA will continue to use different caterers for inbound long-haul flights to London as the availability of different caterers varies at airports around the world. Unless we are mistaken, catering for both outbound and inbound short-haul flights is provided from caterers in London.