Airline meals being stockpiled as travel industry braces for Brexit border chaos

World's largest supplier of in-flight cuisine building up supplies to protect against disrpution

Ben Chapman
Monday 21 January 2019 18:21
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Dominic Raab when asked about stockpiling food: 'We will make sure there is adequate food supplies'

Airline meals have become the latest product to be stockpiled ahead of anticipated border chaos if the UK leaves the EU without a trade deal in March.

The world’s largest supplier of in-flight cuisine, Gate Gourmet, has been increasing inventory levels of frozen food from the EU to ensure that any disruption can be covered by stock for around 7-10 days, a spokesperson said.

Frozen entrees, pizzas and desserts are among items being stockpiled at a warehouse in Peterborough.

“Companies could be in difficulty if they haven’t prepared themselves and ensured a continuity of supply,” Stephen Corr, the Zurich-based firm’s managing director for Western Europe, said in an interview with Bloomberg.

“We’ve been gradually increasing inventory levels of products from the European Union to ensure that any initial disruption at the UK border can be covered.”

Airlines being supplied by Gate Gourmet, including British Airways and easyJet, said in-flight meals would continue to be served as normal.

A spokesperson for easyJet said: “As you would expect we are in touch with all of our suppliers around their Brexit contingency plans and are confident steps will be taken by them to ensure there is no interruption to the inflight service onboard.”

Airline meals join car parts, medicines and a host of supermarket food on the shelves of Britain’s warehouses as companies seek to ensure uninterrupted supply.

That has led to a “critical lack” of suitable warehouse space, according to the United Kingdom Warehousing Association.

Figures released on Monday showed three-quarters of UKWA members surveyed last month could not take on any business from new customers.

Peter Ward, the UKWA chief executive, said: “We are facing a perfect storm in the warehousing and logistics industry.”

Not enough urban land is earmarked for warehousing and the industry is facing a severe labour and skills shortage, exacerbated by Eastern European immigrant labour heading home.

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