Qantas is selling its catering division to Emirates Group aviation services company dnata, saying the deal will allow it to concentrate on investing in the airline.
The transaction is subject to approval by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission and affects about 1200 employees of Qantas catering businesses.
The companies said the value of the deal was commercial-in-confidence.
The businesses include Qantas wholly-owned subsidiaries Q Catering — which has centers in Sydney, Melbourne Brisbane, and Perth — and Snap Fresh, which has a modern production plant in Queensland supplying airlines and other customers.
The agreement will see dnata supply catering for Qantas flights for at least 10 years and the airline will continue to work on menu design and development. The Gulf company already supplies catering for Qantas flights in Adelaide, Canberra, London, and Johannesburg.
Qantas Domestic chief executive Andrew David said the sale would allow the Australian carrier to partner with a global leader in in-flight catering and prioritize investing in the airline.
“We’ve always said that we would explore the sale of certain assets where it makes sense, just as we’ve done before, including with the sale of our catering facility in Cairns and Qantas Defence Services,” David said in the sale announcement.
“The catering businesses will benefit significantly from dnata’s global footprint, catering expertise, and ability to drive investment and growth for what is a core focus of its operation.”
Celebrity chef Neil Perry’s Rockpool operation will also remain part of the equation.
“Customers will continue to enjoy Qantas’ premium service, including unique Rockpool-designed menus for First and Business passengers, showcasing the best of Australian produce for millions of travelers each year,” David said.
“Together with dnata, we’ll continue to deliver thein-flight food and beverage experience we know our customers value, just as we work with catering companies in offshore ports for our international flights.”
dnata’s divisional vice president of catering, Robin Padgett, said the combination of dnata’s network strength and the Qantas domestic catering experience would allow the company to grow its Australian presence.
“This includes investing in more infrastructure, starting with a new catering facility in Sydney,” he said.
The ACCC in February gave a provisional green light to re-authorize the wide-rnaging alliance between Qantas and Emirates for another five years.
The competition watchdog said it was proposing to re-authorize the deal deal covering the carriers’ air passenger and cargo operations because it believed it was likely to result in a range of public benefits.