In this chapter the basic approach is about the understanding of quality maintenance of food and services in terms of in-flight catering. A specialised analysis has been done over Emirates Flight Catering. This chapter initiates an exclusive process of meeting the research objectives. The analysis of the collected primary and the secondary data, along with discussion as followed hereby are aimed to understand the module for in-flight catering and comprehend the ways through which Emirates Flight Catering or the EKFC is successful enough in maintaining quality-oriented food and services to its clients, especially Emirates Airline. In this chapter a clear investigation has been led over the quality-oriented proceedings of Emirates Flight Catering that will further evaluate necessary information about the business of in-flight catering by this selected company. In this approach, the basic ideology is to know the relevance and management of in-flight catering so that the sustainability of the airline business, customer satisfaction and loyalty, and above all the sense of moral trust can be attained thereby.
The discussions will be based on the process of current competitive edge in context of the selected company that is Emirates Flight Catering and is about deriving best possible means for the achievement and maintenance quality in-flight catering business on a global basis.
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The module for in-flight catering consists of some very specific aspects. These are critical domain for any airline to meet the competitive platform on international market. The very essential element for the in-flight catering module is about having appropriate management system that is responsible and capable enough to support and further offer necessary resolutions to the complex demands of the business (Prideaux, et.al. 2006). As a matter of fact, the approach of in-flight catering for any airline must remain well equipped with possible risk generating factors and create strong shield to meet the unseen challenges. The approaches at service and operational service levels are noted with more specifications. These can be noted as (NIIT Technologies, 2013) -
In this context the interviewees were clear about their choice for professional kind of approach towards the in-flight catering facilities in the airline. Inclusion of building of in-flight kitchen facilities and equipment management, operational control over collection of raw materials, cooking, storing, testing, presentations, auditing, etc. are considered as common features to the entire business of in-flight catering (Yi-Chi Chang and Jones, 2007). The implication of proper planning and maintenance of hygiene and communication with crew members about the food are some of the additional aspects referred by the interviewees and thus are integral to the entire format of the current business module.
For any in-flight catering company like Emirates Flight Catering, the functionalities should be maintained and carried out separately. However, according to the norms as derived by the archival official document of World Health Organisation (Bailey, 1977) it is important that the approaches of in-flight catering remains under direct control of the respective airline, as its performance too is a matter of concern for the company. Proper auditing and supervisions by the airline company is a necessary task that must get well initiated by the respective organisation. Issues related to health administration should be checked through the collection and testing of food samples by the airline. In this process, it is important for the in-flight catering service company to offer full assistance and cooperation. Determined tests related to bacteriological concerns and other microbiological issues are of major concerns. In this context the responsibilities of the Airline Supervisor and the Catering staff can be enlisted as noted below –
Airline Supervisor Catering Staff
Under the provision of this report, World Health Organisation offered a very balanced approach to the system of initiating food flow for the in-flight catering provisions. These aspects are declared in a very systematic way by Bailey (1977, p.21). For in-flight catering purposes under the instructions of World Health Organisation the food flow gets noted as -
Figure 3 Food Flow for In-flight Catering
Source: Bailey (1977, p.21)
From these declarations as mentioned in the aforementioned figure, it can be noticed that the airline must be well aware of the strict microbiological control over the determined raw materials that will be collected by the in-flight catering company like Emirates Flight Catering. Cleaning of kitchen equipment, utensils and sanitization of all such tools are integral part of the process. The matter of hygiene is of primitive concern and upmost importance. Issues related to hazard food items are rejected instantaneously and any suspected practice is liable to come under severe action. Thus for in-flight catering company, maintenance of hygiene related issues and provisions are very significant to follow for a prolonged service sustainability with the respective airline company.
The issue of quality control over food by in-flight catering services are noted from the time of operational control of the food. It is the responsibility of in-flight catering service company to follow the concept of quality control system, in particular for the food that are for prolonged storage, which can be for a span of five days, added by the production day and the day of final delivery. This can be undertaken without affecting the instances of bacteriological as well as the harm caused by organoleptical issues of quality over the in-flight catering food. The process of cooking as instructed by DCA Malaysia (2006) the practice of cooking for in-flight catering must have enough support from professional cooks in order to prevent any kind of spoilage to the food, avoid deterioration in respect of quality food or growth of bacteriological elements over food (see Appendix 1). Negligence to the same can create serious havoc to the entire business of catering and the airline in particular (Chang, et al., 1997). It is necessary that the food get cooked with the assurance of destructed pathogenic microorganisms. This is essential for in-flight catering business as the same is never possible to serve fresh. It can be done, when the centre of the food meets the temperature of 70oC. Still, there are some micro-borne organisms that can get created in the food and remains heat resistant and cannot be killed under normal cooking procedures. Such sporing can cause the instance of food poisoning to the passengers, especially those with Clostridium perfringens. The growth of such microbes can be restricted by means of controlled process of chilling the food (see Appendix 2). Further, it has been added that the norms related to storage is also very important for the maintenance of quality in the food served in-flight. It is a compulsion to check the food in chilled condition on daily basis. One of the efficient staff members should be appointed to check Temperature (where the chilled temperature should be from 0°C to 10°C and further for the frozen goods that should be in the minus 18°C and accordingly below the range, See Appendix 3). The purpose is to confirm that the quality has been maintained and the remaining stock gets rotated in an efficient manner. Covering the food properly and application of food grade materials used for the purpose of wrapping/packaging is integral part of the entire process of controlling quality food in the in-flight catering business.
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These concerns were also part of the interview derivations. However, there are some additional concerns related to dispatch and distribution process of the food that is in demand of being accepted by respective authoritative member of the airline. It is thus the responsibility of both catering company and the airline professionals to check over the general quality maintained in the in-flight food items as per determined specifications as noted under the allotted kitchen design with GMP/ HACCP regulations in the field of food services.
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