New Delhi: Air India has begun carrying food stocked from India on its return journey to the country to cut back on catering costs on international flights, with the government already looking to sell off its loss-making airline. Air India is already using food items stocked from the country for its onwards journeys to Stockholm, Copenhagen, Birmingham and Madrid, while using the same food items on the return journey too.
Pradeep Singh Kharola, Air India's Chairman and Managing Director, says that food is more affordable in India as compared to western cities.
"The food is taken from here in India in chillers and then it is heated whenever it has to be used… Catering costs for us are around Rs 600 crore to Rs 800 crore a year. Catering in India is 3-4 times cheaper as compared to catering in the West," Kharola said.
In another cost-cutting measure in July 2017, Air India stopped serving non-vegetarian food to economy class passengers on its domestic flights.
"There are some flights like the ones going to Gulf, Singapore and even some parts of Europe, where it is possible to upload the food here (in India) only. Some work is going on in that direction," he said.
"More important thing is the taste. Whatever you can do, the European caterer's taste can't match with the Indian caterer, especially when it comes to Indian food. That is the additional benefit we get. The main thing is that the costs come down drastically," he added.