China Inflight Catering Market Size & Share Analysis - Growth Trends & Forecasts (2024 - 2029)

The China Inflight Catering Market is segmented by Seating Class (Economy Class, Business Class, and First Class), Flight Service Type (Full Service Providers, Low-Cost Carriers, Hybrid, and Others), and Food Type (Meals, Bakery and Confectionary, Beverages, and other Food Types). The report offers market size and forecasts for all the above segments in value (USD million).

China Inflight Catering Market Size

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China Inflight Catering Market Summary
Study Period 2020 - 2029
Base Year For Estimation 2023
Forecast Data Period 2024 - 2029
Historical Data Period 2020 - 2022
CAGR > 4.00 %
Market Concentration High

Major Players

China Inflight Catering Market Major Players

*Disclaimer: Major Players sorted in no particular order


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China Inflight Catering Market Analysis

The Chinese inflight catering market is estimated to register a CAGR of over 4% during the forecast period.

The upturn in the Chinese aviation industry and the increasing emphasis on food quality services may lead to growth in the market in the coming years. Technological advancements, such as meal ordering devices (MOD), coupled with the growing adoption of inflight catering services by low-cost carriers in China, are expected to provide growth opportunities for the China Inflight Catering Market in the years to come.

According to the International Air Transport Association (IATA), China will surpass the United States and will become the largest aviation market by 2024. Also, the country is expected to reach a total of 1.5 billion aviation passengers by 2036. In addition to that, the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) aimed to construct 216 new airports by 2035 due to growing demands for air travel. Thus, rising air traffic leads to increasing demand for new aircraft which drives the growth of the market.

China Inflight Catering Market Trends

This section covers the major market trends shaping the China Inflight Catering Market according to our research experts:

Full Service Carriers are Expected to Show Remarkable Growth During the Forecast Period

Currently, in the Chinese inflight catering market, full-service carriers occupy the highest market share in the flight service type segment. Increasing investment in the aviation sector and rising spending from airlines for enhancing passengers' inflight experience drive segment growth. Nowadays, some airlines, like Turkish and Etihad, have started providing personalized chefs to their premium-class passengers. Airlines earlier used to procure products from their source points, which led to an increase in costs. They are now sourcing products from the destination points, and this has significantly cut down logistics costs.

Moreover, the number of low-cost carriers in the market is increasing, with favorable government regulations, the opening up of new city pairs, and the liberalization of traffic flow. Thus, the ongoing advancements in inflight catering for full-service carriers may lead to a focus on this segment. To increase air passengers' airlines are introducing attractive menu, for instance, China Airlines had introduced a number of summer-themed offerings in its in-flight menu, like Okinawa-only hand-painted eco-friendly boxed lunch, Italian gelato on European routes, refreshing complimentary plum juice for Business Class and a variety of other summer beverages to provide air passengers with new and cooling catering services to beat the summer heat.

China Inflight Catering Market - Top Five Leading Airports, Mainland China, by Passenger (Millions), 2021

The Economy Class Segment is Projected to Grow at a Fast Pace During the Forecast Period

Currently, in the Chinese inflight catering market, by aircraft class, economy class is expected to have the highest share. Rising expenditure on the construction of new airports due to growing air traffic drives segment growth across the country. As economy class passengers have a choice of service and type of airline, carriers cannot serve them substandard meals and have to maintain high-quality standards because the food is a major deciding factor for economy class passengers. The rise in air passengers will force airlines to add new aircraft to their fleets which will give rise to the inflight catering market.

One of the major trends in China's economy-class meals is the growing preference of passengers for healthy in-flight food services. Historically, business and first-class passengers were always ahead in demanding healthy food options, but now economy-class passengers are also joining the demand. Instead of red meat options, like beef and pork, passengers are demanding white meat, like chicken and fish. Kullaflyg, which is a Sweden-based airline, took advantage of this trend and started serving economy class passengers with organic inflight meals. Economy class remains the most significant segment for each airline in China. However inflight caterers are facing many challenges such as time of flight, length of flight, the point of embarkation and disembarkation, the cost of labor to make a food item, and the ability of the meal to withstand low humidity and pressures.

China Inflight Catering Market - Number of Civil Airports, Mainland China, 2015 - 2021

China Inflight Catering Industry Overview

The market is consolidated in nature with the presence of few players holding significant shares. Some of the key players are Air China, China Eastern Air Holding Company, Guangzhou Nanland Air Catering Co. Ltd, HNA Group, LSG Sky Chefs, and Cathay Pacific Catering Services (H.K) Ltd hold a significant market share in the Chinese inflight catering market. Companies in the market are trying their best to extend their presence in the market by gaining new contracts or by extending their existing contracts.

For instance, LSG Sky Chefs extended its catering agreement with Cathay Dragon at the airline's Hong Kong hub for a further seven years, extending the service through 2025. Such contract extensions are possible when the airlines are satisfied with the offerings of the caterers. Thus, caterers need to make sure they provide good quality food to the passengers as per the schedules, to gain the trust of the airlines.

China Inflight Catering Market Leaders

  1. Air China

  2. Flying Food Group

  3. Cathay Pacific Catering Services (H.K) Ltd.

  4. HNA Group

  5. LSG Sky Chefs

*Disclaimer: Major Players sorted in no particular order

China Inflight Catering Market Concentration
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China Inflight Catering Market News

In December 2022, China Eastern Airlines and CEA Group, its controlling shareholder, will pump USD 217.4 million into their airline catering arm to enhance that entity's financial security and help it to manage the impact of Covid-19.

In the first six months of 2022, China Eastern Airlines spent CNY 439 million (USD 63.6 million) on catering. Eastern Air Catering and its subsidiaries supply catering and related services to various airlines from its airport kitchens located around China.

China Inflight Catering Market Report - Table of Contents


    1. 1.1 Study Assumptions

    2. 1.2 Scope of the Study




    1. 4.1 Market Overview

    2. 4.2 Market Drivers

    3. 4.3 Market Restraints

    4. 4.4 Porter's Five Forces Analysis

      1. 4.4.1 Threat of New Entrants

      2. 4.4.2 Bargaining Power of Buyers/Consumers

      3. 4.4.3 Bargaining Power of Suppliers

      4. 4.4.4 Threat of Substitute Products

      5. 4.4.5 Intensity of Competitive Rivalry


    1. 5.1 Aircraft Class

      1. 5.1.1 Economy Class

      2. 5.1.2 Business Class

      3. 5.1.3 First Class

    2. 5.2 Flight Service Type

      1. 5.2.1 Full Service Carriers

      2. 5.2.2 Low-cost Carriers

      3. 5.2.3 Hybrid and Others

    3. 5.3 Food Type

      1. 5.3.1 Meals

      2. 5.3.2 Bakery and Confectionary

      3. 5.3.3 Beverages

      4. 5.3.4 Other Food Types


    1. 6.1 Vendor Market Share

    2. 6.2 Company Profiles

      1. 6.2.1 Cathay Pacific Catering Services (H.K) Ltd

      2. 6.2.2 LSG Sky Chefs

      3. 6.2.3 Air China

      4. 6.2.4 China Eastern Air Holding Company

      5. 6.2.5 Guangzhou Nanland Air Catering Co. Ltd

      6. 6.2.6 HNA Group

      7. 6.2.7 Sats Ltd

      8. 6.2.8 Flying Food Group

      9. 6.2.9 Newrest international Group SAS

      10. 6.2.10 Emirates Flight Catering

      11. 6.2.11 Gate Gourmet


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China Inflight Catering Industry Segmentation

Inflight catering refers to airline food, inflight meal, or airline meal, which is served on board to passengers by the aircraft operator. Specialist airline catering services prepare these meals and usually serve to passengers using an airline service trolley.

The market is segmented by seating class, flight service type, and food type. Based on seating class, the market is segmented into economy class, business class, and first class. Based on flight service type, the market is divided into full-service providers, low-cost carriers, hybrid, and others. On the basis of food type, the market is segmented into meals, bakery and confectionary, beverages, and other food types. The market sizing and forecasts have been provided in value (USD million).

Aircraft Class
Economy Class
Business Class
First Class
Flight Service Type
Full Service Carriers
Low-cost Carriers
Hybrid and Others
Food Type
Bakery and Confectionary
Other Food Types
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China Inflight Catering Market Research FAQs

The China Inflight Catering Market is projected to register a CAGR of greater than 4% during the forecast period (2024-2029)

Air China, Flying Food Group, Cathay Pacific Catering Services (H.K) Ltd., HNA Group and LSG Sky Chefs are the major companies operating in the China Inflight Catering Market.

The report covers the China Inflight Catering Market historical market size for years: 2020, 2021, 2022 and 2023. The report also forecasts the China Inflight Catering Market size for years: 2024, 2025, 2026, 2027, 2028 and 2029.

China Inflight Catering Industry Report

Statistics for the 2024 China Inflight Catering market share, size and revenue growth rate, created by Mordor Intelligence™ Industry Reports. China Inflight Catering analysis includes a market forecast outlook to 2029 and historical overview. Get a sample of this industry analysis as a free report PDF download.

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China Inflight Catering Market Size & Share Analysis - Growth Trends & Forecasts (2024 - 2029)