April 8, 2013

Airlines Increasingly Cater to Kosher Travelers Worldwide

TEL AVIV — The number of travelers requesting kosher meals continues to rise with one source here saying that the request for glatt kosher meals has more than doubled in the past five years. The requests are filled by Hasmabia Caterers, under the certification of the Badatzof the Eida Hachareidis. Several travel agents reached by KosherToday concur that the number of travelers requesting kosher food has risen throughout the world and the airlines and the airline catering industry are apparently responding. 

In Canada, Gate Gourmet, a Swiss-headquartered company that serves 14 major airlines at Trudeau, including Air Canada, recently opened a kosher kitchen supervised by MK of Montreal. Gate Gourmet operates a similar kosher kitchen at Toronto’s Pearson International Airport serving more 15 airlines, including El Al Israel Airlines. In Montreal, Gate Gourmet is already considering extending its kosher services beyond the airline industry, to perhaps retailers, institutions or even large private events, as it has been doing in Toronto. 

In the UK, Hermolis caterers, certified by Kedassia, is said to have significantly expanded its operations in the past five years. Hermolis is the exclusive kosher airline service of British Air, as well as many other airline carriers from China, Japan, Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore. 

According to the Star-K Website, in continental Europe, many local airline caterers are supervised by the local rabbinate or certification agency of a specific country. In Switzerland, Achim Caterers is under the supervision of RavPadwa, Rav Hamachshir of the Orthodox Israel community of Zurich. 

In France, the large airline caterer is Servair which is owned by Air France, operates a kosher kitchen under the supervision of the Paris Beis Din. The Paris Beis Din also supervises El Al’s French commissary. Other major airlines that use local kosher caterers include Sabena Airlines in Belgium, Lufthansa in Germany, and South Africa Airways.