Israeli company sells inexpensive airline food to wishful travelers stuck at home

Company hoping the market for ready-made meals will encourage travel-hungry Israelis to snap up first class dinners and help save jobs.

By Paul Shindman, World Israel News

The company that supplies airline meals for flights from Israel’s Ben Gurion Airport is hoping their new idea will salve the grounded feathers of travel-crazy Israelis stuck at home because of the coronavirus as well as putting many of its employees back to work.

Tamam Aircraft Food Industries normally supplies meals to 20 airlines flying in and out of Israel and is now offering airplane food to eat at home in a bid to try and generate business, Yediot Ahronot reported.

“On normal days we employ 550 workers, but at the moment almost all of them are on unpaid leave,” said Tamam CEO Amir Schutzman said. “These are workers from the low socio-economic stratum who have been sitting at home for four months, and I am looking for ways to get them back to work.”

Schutzman said the company normally provides 40,000 meals a day and does 100 million shekels’ ($29 million) worth of business during the peak summer period.

“The factory has existed for 70 years, and now we are trying to reinvent ourselves,” Schutzman said.

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“What are you waiting for? Let your orders start flying. We would be happy if you ordered, and we would love for you to share this. This way, I will be able to bring more employees back to work. I thank you all in advance,” Schutzman wrote on the company’s Facebook page.

During normal times, Tamam provides kosher meals for its parent company, Israel’s national airline El Al, but other clients include Royal Jordanian, Bulgarian Airways and Russia’s Aeroflot.

A five-course meal costs only 50 shekels ($14.60) and individual courses start at 13 shekels ($3.80), according to the menus on the company’s website, with delivery free in the Tel Aviv area for minimum orders. Meals that look just like a TV dinner with a main course and two vegetable side dishes cost 18 shekels ($5.25).

During normal times the company also offers catering services for events and is currently examining the possibility of opening pop-up stores in shopping malls for the sale of airplane meals.

Israelis are known for their penchant for travel, with hundreds of thousands often taking off on Israeli holidays given that popular destinations like Turkey and Greece are a short flight away and prices are competitive.

With the second wave of infections still not at its peak in Israel, air travel for most Israelis does not appear likely to resume any time soon.

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But Israelis who miss air travel can now enjoy the meal part of the flight, and for those who really miss going to the airport there is the option of picking up their order at Tamam’s kitchens not far from Ben Gurion Airport’s Terminal One.