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Aerofood ACS | Mr Bendady H. Pramono
Mr Bendady H. Pramono

Going forward, we expect that the promising growth of Garuda Indonesia as well as other domestic airlines will create new opportunities

Mr Bendady H. Pramono, President Director

PT Aerofood ACS is one of Indonesia’s foremost providers of airline catering services and recently celebrated its 40th anniversary. What can you tell us about your company’s background and its strategies going forward?

Our company was founded in 1974 as a subsidiary of Garuda Indonesia, the nation’s flag carrier. At that time we offered our in-flight catering services in Jakarta and Medan and we have now grown to serve airports in eight cities: Jakarta, Surabaya, Medan, Bali, Balikpapan, Jogjakarta, Bandung and Lombok. In addition to working with Garuda, we also serve 28 international airlines through a separate corporate division within the company.

In 2001, we set up another division focused on industrial catering to diversify from our customer base and expand beyond airlines. This division provides catering services to companies in industries such as mining, hospitals and manufacturing. Our portfolio of clients based in Jakarta now includes 12 international hospitals, including Rumah Sakit Pondok Indah, Siloam, MRCCC, and Mayapada among others. We also serve major oil companies such as Chevron and Conoco. For these customers we offer catering as part of a total package solution for facilities management that includes minor repairs, cleaning, laundry and housekeeping.

Going forward, we expect that the promising growth of Garuda Indonesia as well as other domestic airlines will create new opportunities. Free trade within the ASEAN will also encourage more international airlines to come to Indonesia, and this is also an opportunity for us. Because of this we have made it a priority to centralise production, use new technology and develop our capabilities in logistics to become even more efficient. This has become increasingly important to us as many of our industrial catering clients are located in remote parts of Indonesia that are difficult to access. Implementing new technology and logistics systems ensures that our food products remain fresh.

Given the context of a projected 15% increase in airline passengers to 100 million by the end of this year (2014), what is your outlook for the airline catering industry?

The success of Indonesia’s airline catering industry is derived from the commercial aviation sector, and if the number of passengers is growing then our industry is set to do the same. The challenge is adapting to the specific types of airlines that are experiencing the biggest rise in passengers, such as budget carriers as this requires a different business model. Developing a centralised production facility will make it easier for us to serve airlines with different types of orders, such as those requesting only meals to be sold in-flight.

How does Aerofood ACS adapt to the latest trends in consumer preferences?

We have a strong team for product development and both local and international chefs, including two from Europe, one from Japan, one from India and another soon to join from the Middle East. This allows us to adjust our products to varying preferences among passengers on different airlines. Intense competition between carriers is now placing a greater emphasis on providing quality and value for money.

The aviation sector in Indonesia is set to experience a more competitive business environment following the implementation of the ASEAN One Market and its Open Skies policy. How are you planning on maintaining a competitive edge in light of more direct regional competition?

The key to our industry is volume and capacity. Meeting new demand from the rise in passengers into Indonesia and staying competitive in a more crowded industry thus depends on our ability to increase capacity through a more efficient production system. We would like our airport operations to focus solely on delivering. Our old business model means that we also produce our food in airports, and limitations to space in these locations can limit our ability to increase capacity. Our new production facility will be able to produce 150,000 meals per day, up from our current capacity of 60,000 per day.

One of our advantages that gives us a competitive edge is the ability to produce halal certified food. This opens up opportunities to serve customers in Malaysia and Brunei where the requirements for this are strict.

How is your company positioned towards cooperation with foreign investors and international partners?

As a state owned company we are more interested in trade partnerships and working with foreign companies for technical advising. In addition to this, another area that we are looking to move into in the future is onboard duty free shopping. In this regard we are open to new partnerships with international companies for merchandising and technology. This is particularly true for obtaining high end products such as perfume and jewellery at good prices.

It is your company’s vision to become the leading premium quality food catering service provider in the ASEAN. Can you please elaborate on how you plan to achieve this goal and discuss in greater detail your international expansion strategy?

Our in-flight catering division is already very close to cementing its position as a leading player in the ASEAN. In 2012, we were recognised as the best caterer by Malaysian Airlines for their entire network of flights. In the past we were also named the preferred supplier for Qantas Airlines. This formal acknowledgment from our customers proves that we can consider ourselves to be among the best companies in South East Asia’s in-flight industry. To achieve this distinction, we mainly rely on our human resources and encourage their continued development through internal programs that help them become more proactive and take more of an initiative.

Our company is also looking at the possibility of exporting our products into other ASEAN markets such as Timor Leste and Myanmar. 

As a final message, what would your like our readers at GBG Indonesia to remember about Aerofood ACS?

Our current priority is to support Garuda and increase our production capacity over the short term. From a more long term standpoint, over the next five to ten years we plan to expand internationally to build upon our current position as an experienced player in the premium food catering service industry.

Global Business Guide Indonesia - 2014

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