China Inflight Catering Market - Growth, Trends, and Forecast (2019 - 2024)

The China Inflight Catering Market is segmented by Seating Class (Economy Class, Business Class, First Class, and Other Aircraft Classes), Flight Service Type (Full Service Providers, Low-Cost Carriers, and Other Flight Service Types), Airport Analysis (Tier 1, Tier 2, and Tier 3), and Food Type (Meals, Bakery and Confectionary, Beverages, and Other Food Types).

Market Snapshot

China inflight catering market over
Study Period:


Base Year:



Greater than 6%

Key Players:

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Market Overview

The Chinese inflight catering market is estimated to register a CAGR of over 6% during the forecast period, 2019-2024.

  • The growing number of low-cost carriers in China, coupled with an upturn in the Chinese aviation industry and the increasing emphasis on food quality services, may lead to a growth in the market in the coming years.  
  • On the other hand, operational issues of airlines, as well as the number of backlogs (in terms of aircraft deliveries in China), may lead to a decline in the market in the coming years.
  • Technological advancements, such as meal ordering devices (MOD), in the Chinese aviation industry are expected to provide growth opportunities for the market in the years to come.

Scope of the Report

Inflight catering refers to airline food, inflight meal, or airline meal, which is served on board to passengers by a commercial airliner. Specialist airline catering services prepare these meals and usually serve to passengers using an airline service trolley. This report study also includes analysis on various airports in China, which falls under Tier 1, Tier 2, and Tier 3, as well as provides information on different flight service type, seating class, and different meal options.  

Aircraft Class
Economy Class
Business Class
First Class
Other Aircraft Classes
Flight Service Type
Full Service Carriers
Low-cost Carriers
Other Flight Service Types
Airport Analysis
Tier 1
Beijing Capital International Airport
Shanghai Pudong International Airport
Guangzhiu Baiyun International Airport
Chengdu Shungliu International Airport
Shenzen Bo'an International Airport
Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport
Kunming Changshui International Airport
Xi'an Xianyang International Airport
Chongqing Jiangbei International Airport
Tier 2
Hangzhou Xiaoshan International Airport
Xiamen Gaoqi International Airport
Nanjing Lukou International Airport
Wuhan Tianhe International Airport
Changsha Huanghua International Airport
Urumqdi Diwopu International Airport
Tier 3
Jinan Yaoqiang International Airport
Taiyuan Wusu International Airport
Changchun Longjia International Airport
Zhenghou Xingzhen International Airport
Food Type
Bakery and Confectionary
Other Food Types

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Key Market Trends

Full Service Carriers are Expected to Grow at a Faster Pace During the Forecast Period

Currently, in the Chinese inflight catering market, full service carriers occupy the highest market share in the flight service type segment. Nowadays, some airlines, like Turkish and Etihad, have started providing personalized chefs to its premium class passengers. Airlines earlier used to procure products from their source points, which led to an increase in costs. They are now sourcing products from the destination points, and this has significantly cut down the logistics costs. Moreover, the number of low-cost carriers in the market is increasing, with favorable government regulations, opening up of new city pairs, and liberalization of traffic flow. Thus, the ongoing advancements in inflight catering for full service carriers may lead to a focus on this segment.


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The Economy Class Segment is Projected to Grow at a Fast Pace

Currently, in the Chinese inflight catering market, by aircraft class, economy class is expected to have the highest share. As economy class passengers have a choice of the service and type of airline, carriers cannot serve them substandard meals and have to maintain high-quality standards because the food is a major deciding factor of economy class passengers. Most passengers of China view air travel as an experience and not just as a means to get from one point to another. One of the major trends in China economy class meals is the growing preference of passengers for healthy in-flight food services. Historically, business and first class passengers were always ahead in demanding healthy food options, but now the economy class passengers are also joining the demand. Instead of red meat options, like beef and pork, passengers are demanding white meat, like chicken and fish. Kullaflyg, which is a Sweden-based airline, took advantage of this trend and started serving economy class passengers with organic inflight meals. Economy class, as a result, remains the most significant segment for each airline in China.


Competitive Landscape

Various players, such as Air China, China Eastern Air Holding Company, Guangzhou Nanland Air Catering Co. Ltd, HNA Group, LSG Sky Chefs, and Cathay Pacific Catering Services (H.K) Ltd hold a significant market share in the Chinese inflight catering market. Various initiatives, as well as product innovations, are done by the companies and this has led them to strengthen their presence in the market. In June 2018, LSG Sky Chefs extended its catering agreement with Cathay Dragon at the airline’s Hong Kong hub for a further seven years, extending the service through 2025. Cathay Dragon’s inflight service includes a range of Asian and Western menus.  

Major Players

  1. Air China
  2. Flying Food Group
  3. Cathay Pacific Catering Services (H.K) Ltd
  4. HNA Group
  5. LSG Sky Chefs

* Complete list of players covered available in the table of contents below


Table of Contents


    1. 1.1 Study Deliverables

    2. 1.2 Study Assumptions

    3. 1.3 Scope of the Study




    1. 4.1 Market Overview

    2. 4.2 Market Drivers

    3. 4.3 Market Restraints

    4. 4.4 Porter's Five Forces Analysis

      1. 4.4.1 Threat of New Entrants

      2. 4.4.2 Bargaining Power of Buyers/Consumers

      3. 4.4.3 Bargaining Power of Suppliers

      4. 4.4.4 Threat of Substitute Products

      5. 4.4.5 Intensity of Competitive Rivalry


    1. 5.1 Aircraft Class

      1. 5.1.1 Economy Class

      2. 5.1.2 Business Class

      3. 5.1.3 First Class

      4. 5.1.4 Other Aircraft Classes

    2. 5.2 Flight Service Type

      1. 5.2.1 Full Service Carriers

      2. 5.2.2 Low-cost Carriers

      3. 5.2.3 Other Flight Service Types

    3. 5.3 Airport Analysis

      1. 5.3.1 Tier 1

        1. Beijing Capital International Airport

        2. Shanghai Pudong International Airport

        3. Guangzhiu Baiyun International Airport

        4. Chengdu Shungliu International Airport

        5. Shenzen Bo'an International Airport

        6. Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport

        7. Kunming Changshui International Airport

        8. Xi'an Xianyang International Airport

        9. Chongqing Jiangbei International Airport

      2. 5.3.2 Tier 2

        1. Hangzhou Xiaoshan International Airport

        2. Xiamen Gaoqi International Airport

        3. Nanjing Lukou International Airport

        4. Wuhan Tianhe International Airport

        5. Changsha Huanghua International Airport

        6. Urumqdi Diwopu International Airport

      3. 5.3.3 Tier 3

        1. Jinan Yaoqiang International Airport

        2. Taiyuan Wusu International Airport

        3. Changchun Longjia International Airport

        4. Zhenghou Xingzhen International Airport

    4. 5.4 Food Type

      1. 5.4.1 Meals

      2. 5.4.2 Bakery and Confectionary

      3. 5.4.3 Beverages

      4. 5.4.4 Other Food Types


    1. 6.1 Cathay Pacific Catering Services (H.K) Ltd

    2. 6.2 LSG Sky Chefs

    3. 6.3 Air China

    4. 6.4 China Eastern Air Holding Company

    5. 6.5 Guangzhou Nanland Air Catering Co. Ltd

    6. 6.6 HNA Group

    7. 6.7 Sats Ltd

    8. 6.8 Flying Food Group

    9. 6.9 Newrest international Group SAS

    10. 6.10 Emirates Flight Catering

    11. 6.11 Gate Gourmet


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