Asiana Flights Go Without Meals After Food Caterer Swapped

(Bloomberg) -- Asiana Airlines Inc., South Korea’s second-biggest carrier, said its struggle to provide in-flight meals to passengers departing Seoul continued for a fourth day after a caterer was unable to deliver the food on time.

About seven out of 79 flights were expected to depart Wednesday from Incheon airport, which serves Seoul, without any food for passengers, a spokesman for the airline said. The carrier is working to resolve the issue and providing small meal boxes on some flights, he said.

The trouble with the food service started after a fire at the facility of its venture with Gategroup Holding AG forced Asiana to sign a three-month contract with a local vendor lacking scale to meet the needs of a full-service carrier. The Seoul-based airline typically needs about 25,000 meals a day, and that increases to some 30,000 during the summer peak season, according to the spokesman.

Asiana is monitoring the situation and doesn’t know when it will be resolved, the spokesman said, adding about 107 out of 231 flights in the three days starting Sunday left Incheon without any meals. Some services to as far as Phuket, Thailand, had to take off without food, with passengers receiving coupons as compensation to spend on inflight duty free shopping or future ticket purchases.

The carrier’s Chairman Park Sam-koo, in a press briefing Wednesday, apologized for the disruption in catering services.

The late arrival of in-flight meals also caused 63 flights to be delayed by more than an hour since Sunday, according to the spokesman. Asiana switched to Gategroup, a unit of China’s HNA Group Co., after its contract with LSG Sky Chefs, the catering and hospitality unit of Deutsche Lufthansa AG, ended on June 30.

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.

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