DHL has invested €10 million in a “shared user hub” at Heathrow Airport.
The hub is scheduled to open in early 2014 and the facility will offer airlines a solution for end-of-route catering requirements on long haul flights.
Alongside DHL’s existing food preparation facility at the Heathrow Flight Assembly Centre, the new hub will provide menu development, food assembly and final-mile delivery to aircraft.
There will also be a recycling centre, enabling airlines to achieve a zero-waste landfill catering service.
Sharing the facility and its resources means airlines will benefit from a high standards of service, but with reduced costs.
The investment coincides with news that DHL has secured additional airline catering contracts totalling €47 million a year from airlines.
Paul Richardson, MD of specialist services at DHL Supply Chain, said: “This investment builds on our successful flight assembly operation for British Airways, which sees over 80,000 flights serviced and 14 million meals prepared per year.
“We believe the time is right to leverage our infrastructure and expertise to offer other airlines the opportunity to improve cost control, while reducing the environmental impact of their supply chains.”
As well as food driers that reduce food waste volume by 70%, advice on menu design, planning and consumption analysis will help airlines avoid over-ordering.
DHL is working with several airlines to catering offerings specific to their requirements.