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News: Onboard Newsletter

April 2013

Monday, April 1, 2013  
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Save the dates of September 9-11, 2013 to join IFSA and the Airline Passenger Experience Association (APEX) at the Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim, California USA!

Network with thousands of aviation professionals representing more than 100 airlines and dozens of industries – from in-flight entertainment to catering – all committed to improving the airline passenger experience.

Chef’s Competition

IFSA will once again offer a dynamic arena for chefs around the globe involved in airline and rail onboard services to showcase their culinary talent. The Chef’s Competition will be held in conjunction with the upcoming IFSA Annual Conference & Exhibition. This exciting duel has a long-standing reputation for producing exciting, inspiring, mouth-watering cuisine that is sure to impress the competition judges and live audience.

Past competition winners include:

·         2012-Chef Ravi Nage, Gate Gourmet
·         2011-Chef Matt McNutt, LSG Sky Chefs
·         2010-Chef Clifton Lyles, LSG Sky Chefs
·         2009-Chef Moe Nicholas Elmaher, Gate Gourmet
·         2008-Chef Yoshimitsu Nishio, TFK Corporation

For more information about the IFSA Chef’s Competition or to download an application to participate, click here. The competition entry fee is $200 USD. The deadline to submit the completed Chef’s Competition application to IFSA Headquarters is Friday, May 17.

Exhibit booths are going fast, reserve your space 

The exhibit booths for the 2013 IFSA Exhibition are selling fast! Exhibiting at the IFSA Conference & Exhibition is a great way to meet customers and attract valuable prospects. Don’t miss out, if you are interested in reserving a booth, contact Eric Skates at As a reminder, 2013 Membership Dues must be paid in full before you may select exhibit space for the 2013 Exhibition.

If you have any questions about your current membership status, please contact IFSA Headquarters (404) 252-3663 or

To view the 2013 IFSA Exhibition floorplan, click here. IFSA will be located adjacent to the APEX EXPO in Hall B. To view the 2013 Exhibitor Prospectus, click here.

As the 2013 Annual Conference & Exhibition approaches, visit the IFSA website often for conference details, exhibitor information, sponsorship opportunities, and registration information. You can also visit the IFSA Facebook Fan Page often for key updates.

Remember, IFSA is your one stop shop for food, amenities, and services related to the customer experience onboard aircraft and trains worldwide!

Thank you to our current 2013 Conference sponsors


Harvey Alpert & Company and The Coca-Cola Company


AMI Inflight
LSG Sky Chefs
McGuire & Associates
Wessco International


Campione D'Italia
D & F Marketing
FedEx Express
Michael J. Devine & Associates
Treasury Wine Estates
United Airlines 
Wente Vineyards


Cuisine Solutions
Delta Air Lines
Great Western Beef Company
King Nut Companies

For information on sponsorship opportunities, contact Ellen Hoy at



Food Safety Update
New Strain of Bird Flu, H7N9: On April 1, 2013, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported three human infections with a new strain of the bird flu virus (H7N9) in China. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are evaluating pandemic risk after the death toll from the new strain of bird flu (H7N9) rose to six on Thursday, April 4.

Joe Breese, Chief of Epidemiology for CDC’s Influenza Division, stated no links or common exposures between these deaths have been identified by the agency. At this time, researchers do not know the source of the infection. The CDC is developing a kit for public health officials to test for the virus and working toward producing a potential vaccine.

The H7N9 virus is usually present in poultry and wild bird populations, and generally does not cause illness in the birds. The virus can either be transmitted between birds or from a bird to a human. Other strains of the bird flu, such as H1N1, have been circulating. The H1N1 virus was responsible for the swine flu pandemic, which was the first global influenza outbreak in over 40 years.

To date, the H7N9 virus has not been detected in people or birds in the U.S. However, several countries around the world including China, Japan, Taiwan and Vietnam, are taking precautions, particularly at airports. While there is no established link between consumption of poultry and contraction of the bird flu virus, catering employees and airline passengers may want to avoid handling or consuming chicken originating from China.

The WHO and CDC websites are frequently updating information regarding this matter.  

IFSA Ideation Task Force Meeting

During the July 2012 IFSA Board Meeting, the Board approved the creation of an Ideation Task Force committee. It was generally recognized that the airline/transportation catering industry has materially changed over the last generation, dramatically so since 9/11. While IFSA should advance its core purpose and competency associated with transportation food and beverage, it must also adapt to change in the contemporary business environment in order to maintain organizational relevance. With that underlying message, it was decided to create a committee to focus on actions to support three key IFSA tenets:

1.    Broaden scope of Association to provide a forum for innovation, total customer experience and technology.
2.    Strengthen working relationships with other industry associations, publications and groups.
3.    Maximize industry participation and presence worldwide by fostering business partnerships and building networks in other markets to support industry development.

At the 2012 IFSA Conference, the committee conducted an initial organizational meeting. The committee members included: Celine Gordon, gategroup; Megan Ireland, Delta Air Lines; Chris Jackson, DHL; Marcel Lagnaz, Gourmet Foods; Mark O’Sullivan, Michael J. Devine and Associations; Vicky Stennes, independent consultant; Todd Traynor-Corey, United Airlines and Peter Wilander, Delta Air Lines.

Subsequently, a working committee was convened at Kellen Company Offices in Atlanta on February 28, 2013. The following committee members participated: Celine Gordon, gategroup; Marcel Lagnaz, Gourmet Foods; Mark O’Sullivan, Michael J. Devine and Associations; Paul Platamone, Harvey Alpert and Company; Todd Traynor-Corey, United Airlines and Peter Wilander, Delta Air Lines.

The key objective was to make recommendations for the April IFSA Board meeting regarding the future scope of the organization. Also, determine priority actions associated with in-year and long range evolutionary plans. Outlined below are recommendations and associated plans. 

Primary Recommendations

1.    Establish an interdisciplinary approach to onboard customer service that expands the organizational context beyond just food and beverage interests.
2.    Enhance the tradeshow by better facilitating meetings and networking, thus creating greater targeted value for the membership and participants.
3.    Drive enhanced membership through a broader based inclusion strategy. This will improve organizational revenues, plus improve the value proposition.

In-year Actions

1.    Gain consensus on related organizational entities that align well with an expanded IFSA mission, e.g. e-commerce, service delivery/hospitality and seek their active participation at the IFSA conference.  
2.    Recruit “seed” participants from expanded areas to attend the tradeshow and provide expansion insights, e.g. airline booking path specialist, crew learning or guest hospitality expert.
3.    Generate a Board endorsed formal membership drive focusing initially on existing colleagues that would add value and interest.
4.    Identify a non-competitive industry problem and invite a panel of problem solvers. Promote/award a solution. *actionable vs. aspirational, e.g. solution to requirements for growing special nutritional needs, value of pre-order, etc.
5.    Use Kellen to match make Suppliers with potential customers and schedule meetings. The committee discussed versions of this planned activity as either “speed dating” or formal meetings. However, the general idea is to tailor specific interests with specific competencies. This would allow for much more productive use of time; advanced preparation; value for new exhibitors; and, still promote ample time for networking and major meetings.
6.    Encourage further interaction amongst members and customers with the use of a community portal; ensuring an all year long communication.
7.    Establish resources and assignments to deliver on approved Ideation recommendations.

2014 Actions

1.    Secure non-traditional speakers that stretch the boundaries of IFSA’s current interests and encourage innovation in processes, technology and customer experience.
2.    Convert “seed” participants to full members and continue the expansion efforts.
3.    Use existing meeting planning technology to maximize networking and exhibitor presentations.
4.    Expand an initial problem solving roundtable to full blown solution presentations with appropriate recognition – think chef awards, only expanded to interdisciplinary solutions to customer experience.
5.    Re-brand IFSA to focus more on all aspects of onboard service and further secure relationship with APEX. More actively promote advocacy role to distance organization from WTCE.

2013 IFSA Foundation Scholarship Applications Now Available
The 2013 IFSA Foundation Scholarship Awards are exclusively available for IFSA members and their families! The Foundation offers multiple scholarships to help students and current onboard services professionals further their education. The Foundation scholarships are awards given to exceptional students. They cover tuition, books, living expenses and other costs associated with college. The scholarships are available to students and industry professionals across the world. This year, the IFSA Foundation has more than $40,000 scholarship awards available. The scholarship application deadline is Friday, June 14. Click here for more information about the IFSA Foundation.

The 2013 IFSA Foundation Scholarship Awards are listed below. Thank you to the Foundation donors in whose name scholarships will be offered. Click on the links below to access the scholarship application forms:

Harvey & Laura Alpert
Gourmet Foods*
John Louis Foundation
Oakfield Farms Solutions
Wessco International*
AMI Group
King Nut Companies*
DHL Airline Business Solutions
Flying Food Group
IFSA Member Family**
John & Ginnie Long
The Hoffman Group

*New scholarship award for this year.
**Two IFSA Member Family scholarships will be awarded in 2013.
If you’re interested in starting a new IFSA Foundation scholarship in your company’s name or to honor an individual, contact Jacque Petty at 
Help spread the word about the various IFSA Foundation scholarships available! Click here for a downloadable poster to display in your company break room or other areas where employees commune.


Southwest Airlines CMO Explains New Advertising Campaign
Forbes, 22 April 2013
Forbes Magazine interviewed Southwest Airlines CMO Kevin Krone to find out more about their new, bold advertising campaign:
Southwest Airlines has been around for over 40 years. In the last six or seven years, they have done a bit of remodeling. This new campaign was developed to ensure current customers continue to love the airline and to make a bold statement to consumers who have not flown the airline or do not normally consider the airline when making travel plans. Additionally, in the campaign, the airline has shifted their focus from leisure to business travelers.

Cuisine Solutions to open new plant, expand production capabilities
The Washington Post, 31 March 2013
The Cuisine Solutions headquarters in Alexandria, Virginia, prepares and packages approximately 300,000 meals on any given day. The company is opening a 56,500 square-foot facility in Sterling, Virginia, which will allow Cuisine Solutions to produce four times its current production rate. Eventually, the company’s headquarters will move from Alexandria to the new location.



Airline customizes in-flight meals
ABC News, 4 April 2013
Air Baltic is now allowing their passengers to customize their meal pre-flight. Customers select their food choices from an online menu. The menu details ingredients and nutritional information. The service is scheduled to launch in May. The airline offers 20 pre-order meal options and four dietary meal options, which include: Gluten Free, Lactose Free, Vegetarian and Kosher. Passengers must pre-order their meals at least 24 hours prior to departure.  

Voting is currently open for the 2013 Passenger Choice Awards

Do you want your airline or airline customers to be recognized as one of the best by passengers from all over the world? The Passenger Choice Awards were created by the Airline Passenger Experience Association (APEX) to give voice to airline passengers. Winners are chosen based on passenger feedback, and are announced at the Passenger Choice Awards Gala scheduled for Monday, Sept. 9 during the co-located Annual Conference & Exhibition. You can help get your airline in the running by ensuring your customers participate in the survey. Click here to take the survey today. 

Learn more about IFSA industry media partners

For opportunities with any of IFSA’s industry media partners, click here.

Industry Calendar of Events

APEX TV Market Conference
April 29-May 1, 2013
Lisbon, Portugal
IFSA Annual Conference & Exhibition
(Co-located with the Airline Passenger Experience Association)
September 9-11, 2013
Anaheim Convention Center
Anaheim, California