In-flight catering unit by axe11963


									              Aspire   In-Flight

catering unit

                                                                                                    In-Flight   Aspire

                                                                            through the requirements and then brought them back to UK and
                                                                            showed them some of the units we had been involved in.”
                                                                               There was a choice of potential sites some of which involved
                                                                            existing buildings but the decision was made to have a new
                                                                            building on a greenfield site. Construction started in 2002 and was
                                                                            completed at the end of 2004.
                                                                               “The consultants came to the UK again,” Hepburn said, “And
                                                                            looked at various companies supplying drainage channels,
                                                                            ventilation systems, extractor fans, water treatment plant so that
                                                                            they could ascertain what they wanted. We then co-ordinated the
                                                                            final specification and supply of those items and arranged the
                                                                            shipping and the appropriate engineers who were needed to go
                                                                            out there and install them.”
                                                                               Nigeria has problems guaranteeing the consistency of any
                                                                            supplies so a production kitchen operating to European standards
                                                                            has to have back-up. Hepburn again, “We put in 100 per cent
                                                                            back up on all the refrigeration, two sets of compressor plant on
                                                                            each cold room. There was 100 per cent back up on the water
                                                                            treatment plant as well and while they had mains electricity supply
Lagos is a major destination in West Africa and many well-known             there was also a generator on site as well. They also had their own
airlines serve the city. Until now they have had to carry the catering      borewell on site to supply their own water.
for the return flight in the cargo holds, transferring it to the cabin as      “The supply of foodstuffs is not consistent. The product might
part of the turnround procedures at the airport. As well as adding          not be available at all or might be of differing quality, even in one
to the complexity of the turnround it also took up cargo space and          delivery, so it was necessary to have larger preparation rooms than
so reduced the revenue potential of every flight. British Airways           might be necessary in Europe as raw, unwashed vegetables, for
had invested in a facility to wash and prepare the hardware but this        instance, have to be prepared from scratch. We built in lots of
was not a satisfactory answer.                                              chiller and freezer storage and built a bakery so they can produce
   Richard Akerele, CEO of Airline Services Ltd, worked at Lagos            their own bread rolls.
Airport in the late nineties and saw the opportunity. British Airways          “Even rubbish collection is a problem so we put in a compactor
were in the process of outsourcing and he bought their tray set-up          and they employ two guys and a pickup to take the compacted
facility which gave him an insight into the business.                       rubbish to the tip every day.”
   “I decided to build a proper in-flight catering unit,” Akerele said.        The staff also have different needs requiring different facilities.
“We did a feasibility study and raised the funding. I knew little about     “Since staff are cheaper they probably use three times more staff
running such a unit so I asked around and got some                          than a comparable operation in Europe. This meant that there had
knowledgeable people on board.”                                             to be larger staff facilities in the building. There had to be more
   Duncan Hepburn FCSI of Hepburn Associates is an expert on                showers, for instance, as the workplace was where many people
in-flight catering units. “We were responsible for the design and co-       had their only hot shower. There was a laundry on site to ensure
ordination of all of the Abela airline catering units,” he said, “and we    that uniforms were clean. There was bunkhouse accommodation
also do most of Alpha Flight Services and have done some of their           on site for those who had to be on duty late or early to ensure their
joint ventures abroad. We did two of the most recent flight kitchens        safety in the night.”
at Heathrow each handling some 10,000 meals a day.”                            Akerele’s faith in the project has paid off.
   He became involved in the project before Akerele knew of him.               “We have gone from a monthly turnover of around $250,000
“We were first approached through a colleague who had been                  before the unit opened to around $1.5 million a month now. We’ve
asked by the World Bank to check a proposal that Richard had put            just had to add another 1000 square metres of warehouse space.
forward,” Hepburn explained. “My colleague understood the                   As we speak we have a 40ft container of beef arriving from Brazil
finances but wanted us to look at the technical aspects of the              and this has to be stored. We have space to grow the production
construction and fitting out. We did a report that analysed the             area but when we were planning no-one had expected the start of
costs and projections and sent that in to the World Bank.”                  a new indigenous airline, Branson’s Virgin Nigeria. Last year they
   That report eventually found its way to Akerele who phoned               were worth $50,000 to us and this year they are worth over
Hepburn. “We talked to some of the bigger consultants as well but           $300,000 and they are expecting to double their business over the
decided that Duncan would be better to work with as he would be             next year. Since we have opened it increases the attractiveness of
more flexible and flexibility is an important asset in Nigeria.”            Lagos as a hub as the airlines can pick up catering.
   Akerele knew that the facility had to operate to European                   “Duncan was up and down to Lagos at least a dozen times to
standards as the customers would require the highest quality.               supervise and we got on well,” said Akerele. “He’s extremely good.
“They had a team of Nigerian architects and M&E consultants                 He explained everything very well for us and saved us money. We
based out there,” said Hepburn “but they didn’t know about airline          got a good service.”
requirements and the internal finishes, specifications and
requirements needed to meet the European standards.                  
   “We went down there and spent some time talking them


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