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Japan Airlines' in-flight meals served at airport restaurant amid decline in flights

A Japan Airlines in-flight meal provided at "M's DINING" restaurant at Chubu Centrair International Airport is seen in the city of Tokoname, Aichi Prefecture, on Nov. 21, 2020. (Mainichi/Toru Kuroo)

TOKONAME, Aichi -- A restaurant at Chubu Centrair International Airport in this central Japan city near Nagoya has added Japan Airlines (JAL)'s in-flight meals to its menu as demand for the products has dramatically dropped due to the coronavirus pandemic.

    Nagoya Air Catering Co. (NAC), which provides in-flight meals to all international flights departing from the airport, planned the new service with cooperation from JAL and "M's DINING" restaurant operated by Meitetsu Restaurant Co., a Nagoya Railroad Co. group company.

    NAC used to produce 8,000 to 15,000 in-flight meals a day at the airport before the pandemic. However, the number of international flights has decreased drastically due to the spread of the coronavirus so demand has dropped to about 100 meals a day for Philippine Airlines and cargo flights. For this reason, NAC decided to offer in-flight meals at the restaurant in order to boost its income. It also intends to offer people who have refrained from traveling due to the pandemic the feeling of being on a flight.

    The in-flight meals provided at the restaurant are the same as for JAL economy class and use the same trays as on the flights. Japanese or Western meals are available for 1,500 yen (about $14) each with a drink included. The items will be on the menu until Jan. 31, 2021.

    According to NAC, apart from passengers on planes, people can only eat JAL's in-flight meals at a restaurant directly managed by JAL in the Chiba Prefecture city of Narita, where Narita International Airport is located.

    On Saturday Nov. 21, the first day the new menu was on offer, there were orders for over 70 meals, even though the provider had set a target of selling 20 meals a day on weekends. Etsushi Gotoda, general manager of the production division of NAC, said, "We want to consider offering business class meals and also meals in collaboration with All Nippon Airways."

    (Japanese original by Toru Kuroo, Handa Resident Bureau)

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