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Then and now


In 1984 Ogden took over Air-La-Carte and Qantas became a client at all three of the units. Due to refuelling requirements, the Honolulu unit catered the same aircraft twice a day, east and westbound, so timing and careful operations management was absolutely crucial.


In 1989, John was brought to New York to oversee operations along America's Eastern seaboard and in 1992 he found himself on another steep learning curve as he moved into a new role in sales and marketing. John recognises that the economics of airline catering is very different today from in the sixties and seventies and that the entertaining of clients is certainly not as lavish today. But he insists the underlying principle of delivering a quality product at the right price remains. “The fundamentals of success are centred in trust which is forged through relationships that can take many years to mature”, he says.


Relationship building and training have been at the heart of IFSA, the industry association that John has had a long and close involvement with.


He's been its president, its chairman and on the Board and in 2007 received the President’s Award for his 37-year contribution to the


"It was a different culture 40 years ago. Face-to-face time was a crucial element of establishing lasting business relationships. Today, we just send an email and think it counts as a conversation"


industry and its leadership – not least for guiding the association through the many challenges and implications of 9/11. In 1998, LSG bought Ogden Aviation Services and at the same time the Flying Food Group (FFG) wooed John to New York as its vice president sales and services with


responsibility for operations at JFK. The development of FFG perhaps reflects the growing strength and importance of the onboard catering industry. It has gone from a $60m business when he joined to the $440m company it is today.


John's work saw him collaborate with Tony King of British Airways to oversee its move to FFG which, when combined with Air France's need, made the catering unit in New York the largest supplier to Concorde in the world. Forty years on, John certainly enjoyed, but doesn’t hanker for, the Good Old Days. “At the time, they didn’t always seem so good. I was so busy figuring out how to overcome the immediate challenges, I probably didn’t realise how good or bad those days were.” Looking further ahead he is optimistic for the inflight catering industry and thinks that the future is looking brighter than ever. He says: “New opportunities and exciting dynamics still make the industry a huge pleasure for me”.


"There were


some steep learning curves along the way”


The combined catering of Air France and British Airways made FFG's New York unit the biggest caterer of Concorde in the world


The future's bright for onboard catering with new opportunities and exciting dynamics ahead


In 2007 the flight catering industry was estimated to be worth 12 billion euros


Airline catering is a people business. Those you meet and relationships you form as you learn the business become friends for life


WWW.ONBOARDHOSPITALITY.COM 61


The disruptions of 9/11 hit the airline industry hard as consumers cut back on travelling


1990


2000


2010


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