Airlines focus on fine wines and bubbles

In air transport, the variety of destinations, the modernity of the fleet or even the luxury of the cabins are no longer enough to attract passengers from the classes located at the front of the aircraft, “first” and “business”. Those that bring in the most revenue for Air France, Emirates, Qatar Airways, Qantas and others. The breadth of the wine list and especially the quality of the champagnes also make the difference between companies. To push themselves from the pass, the biggest names in air transport compete for Burgundy, Bordeaux and Champagne wines.

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“There is a course between airlines to pre-empt the best wines and champagnes”, admits, on condition of anonymity, a senior executive of a major carrier. Like Emirates, which has just unveiled its new wine list for 2024. For the coming year alone, the Gulf airline, chaired by the British Tim Clark, revealed that it had spent nearly fifty million euros. Since 2006, it has invested more than a billion dollars (900 million euros) to satisfy passengers on its international flights. Over the coming months, she has already announced, her planes will resemble flying wine bars, where you will be able to choose, in first or business class, between a Montrachet 2011, a Chevalier-Montrachet 2013 or a Corton. -charlemagne 2014.

Emirates is far from being the only airline to focus on great wines or exceptional champagnes. “When we are called Air France, it is even an essential element of the positioning of our offer”explains Fabien Pelous, director of customer experience, who specifies that the company “buys a million bottles of champagne per year”. But not the most popular, Dom Pérignon, taken from more fortunate groups. “For fifteen years, Singapore Airlines served Dom Pérignon and Krug “Grande Cuvée”. Two champagnes preferred as the most prestigious »says Franklin Auber, director of marketing and communications at Singapore Airlines France.

Forced to anticipate

This collaboration ended recently. “In 2022, Dom Pérignon announced that it was not producing enough to serve several companies”, specifies Mr. Auber. It was Emirates which won the good bubbles. “We are the largest buyer of Dom Pérignon in the world”, says Cédric Renard, general manager of Emirates France. Singapore Airlines can console itself with the five awards obtained during the last Cellars in the Sky, the equivalent of the Oscars for the quality of wines served on board planes.

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