Dubai's Dnata launches inflight retail unit as Covid decimates airline revenues

Air services provider says it will help airlines maximise ancillary revenue amid ongoing coronavirus crisis

Dubai-based Dnata, one of the world’s biggest air services providers, has announced the launch of a dedicated inflight retail centre of excellence.

The company said the new specialist unit will deliver tailor-made on-board retail programmes and innovative solutions for airline customers, supporting them to maximise ancillary revenue and enhance passenger satisfaction.

The move comes as the Covid-19 pandemic has forced cash-strapped airlines to rapidly explore additional revenue opportunities.

Dnata added that the addition of a retail-focused unit to its organisation cements its credentials as a truly end-to-end inflight and airport service provider.

Dnata will provide airline customers with a comprehensive suite of “off-the-shelf” services from product development, digitalised sales channels and technological solutions through to cabin crew engagement, product design and accounting.

The new team includes experienced inflight retail experts from across the company’s markets, and is headquartered in London.

It will be led by Alan Hayes, who currently leads retail for Dnata’s UK catering operation and has managed retail programmes for more than 15 years for some of Europe’s largest carriers.

Robin Padgett, divisional senior vice president, Dnata Catering, said: “By bringing our retail skills and experience into a dedicated global retail unit and structure, we are now better placed to deliver award-winning solutions across our network.

“We have seen significant growth with our core retail customers in recent years, particularly in driving pre-order capability and lifting on-board sales performance through reward, recognition and engagement of cabin-crew. Our dedicated unit will further enhance our ability to provide best-in-class retail programmes and on-board innovation to our customers.

“The Covid-19 pandemic has seen airlines rapidly explore additional revenue opportunities. We’re working closely with our airline customers to help them maximise ancillary revenue on-board while improving on-board experience and choice for passengers.”

In 2019, the company’s 12,000 employees produced over 110 million meals, serving full service, low-cost and VIP carriers from more than 60 locations.

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