Dubai, UAE: “Dubai is witnessing best use of highly innovative and the latest smart technologies across all industries. The unmatchable efficiency with which operations at Emirates Flight Catering (EKFC) are carried out present an example for the world to follow and to understand the factors that contribute to the success of the Middle East’s travel catering market, which commands a big chunk in the global industry which is expected to increase to $17.6 billion by 2020.”
These words came from Saeed Al Dhaheri, Chairman of Smartworld, an Etisalat and Dubai South joint-venture company, during a visit of Chief Information Officers (CIOs) from across the UAE, as a part of CIOMajlis initiative, at the EKFC facility.
EKFC, the world’s largest single unit aviation catering company launched a massive business transformation programme last year called, including automation. This program is being called ‘Program New Era’.
During the visit, the CIOs got a peek into the highly advanced world-class catering facility, which deploys the highest level of automation to ensure impeccable standards in food safety, quality and timely delivery of over 220,000 daily meals it provides to Emirates Airlines, First and Business Class lounges as well as over 120 international airlines operating through Dubai International Airport.
The company uses sophisticated technological systems, including a 2.5-kilometre-long electric monorail to transport meal carts, a conveyor system for transferring clean items from the equipment cleaning area, to Flight Preparation, and the sophisticated tracking systems, that ensure error-free, timely and the right amount of delivery to over 130 airlines, presenting an example of the best use of technology.
In-flight catering is among the key sectors playing a vital role in the success of Dubai’s aviation industry. With the strong increase in air passenger numbers, estimated to double from 4 billion to 7.8 billion by 2036, the aviation sector faces huge challenges toward enhancing passenger experience, in-flight catering being a critical component of the same.
According to IATA, the Middle East will grow strongly and will see an extra 322 million passengers a year on routes to, from and within the region by 2036.
The visit of the CIOs to EKFC’s facility was a part of the CIOMajlis initiatives, which are aimed at contributing to the UAE’s vision toward harnessing the power of technology and staying 10x ahead of others.
The CIOMajlis is an initiative by Smartworld, an Etisalat and Dubai South joint venture company, that seeks to exchange best practices, share experiences and drive business growth.
During the visit, the CIOs witnessed different processes carried out at the EKFC facility, from meal preparation, packaging, until the meals are finally transported.
Arun Tewary, Vice President, Information Technology (IT), at EKFC, explained the role of technology in expediting processes and smooth functioning of the facility and supporting the company’s growth.