Europe Inflight Catering Market - Growth, Trends, COVID-19 Impact, and Forecasts (2022 - 2027)

The Europe Inflight Catering Market is segmented by Aircraft Seating Class (Economy Class, Business Class, and First Class), Flight Type (Full-service Carriers, Low-cost Carriers, and Other Flight Types), Food Type (Meals, Bakery and Confectionery, Beverages, and Other Food Types), and Geography. The report offers the market size and forecasts by value (USD million) for all the above segments.

Market Snapshot

europe inflight catering market _overview
Study Period: 2018-2027
Base Year: 2021
CAGR: 8.1 %

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Market Overview

The European inflight catering market is projected to record a CAGR of 8.1% during the forecast period (2022 - 2027).

The European region is one of the major aviation industries that was severely impacted due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The airlines in the region had to decrease their aircraft operations significantly and restricted their inflight services, including catering services. Nevertheless, the passenger traffic in 2021 witnessed an increase compared to the previous year, and a full recovery is expected by 2024. As the passenger traffic is returning to pre-COVID-19 levels, the airlines in the region are gradually reintroducing inflight catering menus.

In the European region, currently, the focus on food quality and offerings is more pronounced toward the economy class of airplanes, which have become notorious for serving sub-standard food over the years. Economy class passengers contribute to airline revenue, and they continue to be the most important class of passengers for carriers. To maintain their shares, most carriers are in the process of improving the quality of food served.

Due to growing competition on profitable long-distance routes, airlines are collaborating with famous chefs to make a difference. Partnering with star chefs can help the airlines carve out special dishes to attract passengers and increase market share. This is anticipated to propel the growth of the European inflight catering market during the forecast period.

Scope of the Report

Inflight food is the food served to passengers onboard a commercial airliner. Specialist airline catering services prepare these meals and usually serve them to passengers using an airline service trolley.

The Europe inflight catering market is segmented by aircraft seating class (economy class, business class, and first class), flight type (full-service carriers, low-cost carriers, and other flight types), food type (meals, bakery and confectionery, beverages, and other food types), and geography. The report also covers the market size and forecasts for the Inflight Catering Market in major countries across the European region. For each segment, the market sizing and forecasts have been represented in value (USD million).

Food Type
Bakery and Confectionary
Other Food Types
Flight Type
Full-service Carriers
Low-cost Carriers
Other Flight Types
Aircraft Seating Class
Economy Class
Business Class
First Class
United Kingdom
Rest of Europe

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Key Market Trends

The Bakery and Confectionery Segment is Expected to Dominate the Market During the Forecast Period

The bakery and confectionery segment currently dominates the European inflight catering market, and it is expected to continue its dominance over the market during the forecast period as passengers from the region prefer bread and other baked items in most of their dining compared to the other regions. There has been a notable rise in domestic and intra-Europe travel in 2021, with a total market share capturing more than 60%. This shift in operations has changed the average flight duration from 45 minutes to 60 minutes. In such short flights, the guests' preference change has led to an increase in demand for bakery and confectionery items. Among bakery products, sweet and sour bread, flavored croissants, and cheese confectionaries witnessed the highest market share. However, some of the airlines in the region are converting the complementary services into retail services, which may help the airlines increase their revenues and mitigate their pandemic losses. For instance, from December 2021, Lufthansa began to charge the passengers in Economy and Premium Economy on long-haul flights for mid-flight snacks and liquor as part of their recovery plans from pandemic losses. Earlier in 2021, the airline removed free snacks and drinks for economy class passengers on short-haul routes to support onboard retail service. The introduction of new snacks and sweets into their menu is anticipated to properly the growth of the market.

europe inflight catering market_segment

The United Kingdom is Expected to Witness Significant Growth During the Forecast Period

According to the Advance Passenger Information (API), and Border and Immigration Transaction Data (BITD), UK air arrivals were 28.60 million in 2020 and 22.84 million in 2021. The air arrivals decreased by 20.1% in 2021 compared to 2020. However, during the second half of 2021, air arrivals increased by approximately 88% compared to 2020. As the aviation industry in the country is recovering gradually, major airlines like British Airways and EasyJet are currently increasing their global connectivity with the introduction of new destinations, which is expected to bring new menus onboard aircraft. As the airlines in the country look to improve their food offerings based on season and flight destination, partnering with star chefs is helping them to modify their dishes without incurring high costs. In this regard, in October 2021, Virgin Atlantic introduced its new autumn menu options and reintroduced onboard favorites across all its cabins, including new meal, beverage, and snack options. Major companies are investing significantly to strengthen their presence in the United Kingdom. For instance, in March 2020, Alpha LSG signed an agreement with Emirates to cater six daily flights out of London-Heathrow Airport to Dubai Airport. The company already services the airline's regional operation in the United Kingdom from London to Gatwick, Stansted, Manchester, Birmingham, Newcastle, and Glasgow. Such developments are expected to help the growth of revenues from the country during the forecast period.

europe inflight catering market_geography

Competitive Landscape

The inflight catering market in Europe is matured, and it is primarily dominated by a few major players, such as Gategroup, the Emirates Group, DO & CO Aktiengesellschaf, and Newrest Group Services SAS. These companies increased their market presence in the past through the acquisition of local restaurants and other smaller catering companies. The acquisition of LSG’s European operations by Gategroup will result in Gategroup accounting for a major share in the European inflight catering market in the coming years. In addition to this, the catering companies are introducing new technologies to reduce overall operational costs and increase their operational efficiencies. For instance, KLM Catering Services (KCS) is more focused on technological integration to fight the crisis. In October 2020, the company announced its plans to use a robot for inflight catering services. The integration of robots will allow catering services to reduce operational costs, increase flexibility, and focus on a customer-centric approach. The introduction of new cost-cutting measures as well as partnerships with new airlines are anticipated to help the companies increase their geographic presence in the region in the coming years.

Recent Development

  • In January 2022, Scandinavian Airlines entered a partnership with Newrest for its inflight catering services. Under the agreement, the company will provide inflight catering services to SAS in the capital cities of Sweden, Norway, and Denmark.
  • In July 2021, Gategroup announced the completion of the acquisition of the European operations of LSG Group from Deutsche Lufthansa AG (“Lufthansa”). The transaction comprises LSG’s inflight catering operations in Germany, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Belgium, Italy, and Spain, as well as the global equipment business trading under the SPIRIANT brand.
  • In May 2021, Iberia launched a new service for the purchase of inflight meals and snacks for passengers traveling on short- and medium-haul flights. The menu option is presented under the Deliverfly menu, which includes food options like salads, salmon poke bowls, sandwiches, vegan options, pasta dishes including lasagne, and gourmet tapas.

Table of Contents


    1. 1.1 Study Assumptions and Market Definition

    2. 1.2 Scope of the Study



    1. 3.1 Market Size and Forecast, Global, 2018 - 2027

    2. 3.2 Market Share by Food Type, 2021

    3. 3.3 Market Share by Flight Type, 2021

    4. 3.4 Market Share by Aircraft Seating Class, 2021

    5. 3.5 Market Share by Geography, 2021

    6. 3.6 Structure of the Market and Key Participants


    1. 4.1 Market Overview

    2. 4.2 Market Drivers

    3. 4.3 Market Restraints

    4. 4.4 Industry Attractiveness - 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

  5. 5. MARKET SEGMENTATION (Market Size and Forecast by Value - USD million, 2018 - 2027)

    1. 5.1 Food Type

      1. 5.1.1 Meals

      2. 5.1.2 Bakery and Confectionary

      3. 5.1.3 Beverages

      4. 5.1.4 Other Food Types

    2. 5.2 Flight Type

      1. 5.2.1 Full-service Carriers

      2. 5.2.2 Low-cost Carriers

      3. 5.2.3 Other Flight Types

    3. 5.3 Aircraft Seating Class

      1. 5.3.1 Economy Class

      2. 5.3.2 Business Class

      3. 5.3.3 First Class

    4. 5.4 Geography

      1. 5.4.1 United Kingdom

      2. 5.4.2 Germany

      3. 5.4.3 France

      4. 5.4.4 Russia

      5. 5.4.5 Italy

      6. 5.4.6 Spain

      7. 5.4.7 Rest of Europe


    1. 6.1 Company Profiles

      1. 6.1.1 Flying Food Group

      2. 6.1.2 DO & CO Aktiengesellschaf

      3. 6.1.3 Gategroup

      4. 6.1.4 The Emirates Group

      5. 6.1.5 Newrest Group Services SAS

      6. 6.1.6 SATS Ltd

      7. 6.1.7 IGS Ground Services

      8. 6.1.8 KLM Catering Services

      9. 6.1.9 Fleury Michon Airline Catering

      10. 6.1.10 Carlos Aviation Catering Network GmbH


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Frequently Asked Questions

The Europe Inflight Catering Market market is studied from 2018 - 2027.

The Europe Inflight Catering Market is growing at a CAGR of 8.1% over the next 5 years.

gategroup, Newrest Group Services SAS, DO & CO Aktiengesellschaf, The Emirates Group, KLM Catering Services are the major companies operating in Europe Inflight Catering Market.

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