PRIVATE AVIATION SERVICES PROVIDE EXACTLY WHAT THEY SAY — PRIVACY AND SERVICE. Taking away hassle and stress from clients is the point of it all. Comfort and in-flight connectivity aside, private flyers also expect elegant, satisfying, and healthy meals on board. But with growing competition, business aviation companies have to rethink in-flight dining by going a few steps further — collaborating with renowned restaurants and top chefs to curate menus that make a flight memorable.
For Hong Kong-based operator Metrojet, and with its origins as a sister company of the Peninsula Hotels Group, it was natural to reinvent in-flight fine cuisine. Founded in 1995, the company received its Air Operator’s Certificate in June 1997, and will soon celebrate its 20th anniversary. Metrojet has since expanded its operations to China, the Philippines, India and, recently, Singapore. In the process, it has evolved, merging a philosophy of hospitality with aviation expertise.
One example is its Luxury Journeys campaign, launched in 2013 to provide an in-flight ‘lifestyle experience’ beyond the average on-board routine of eat, work and nap. The launch saw new cabin crew uniforms, designed by Hong Kong fashion designer Dorian Ho, and the introduction of a food and whisky pairing menu. Metrojet partnered with Francesco Greco, at the time executive chef of Hong Kong-based Messina il Ristorante, to create a menu that complemented The Glenlivet 18-Year-Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky. This inaugural dining concept became a yearly tradition.
In the two years that followed, Metrojet focused on its oriental roots, partnering with Michelin-starred Cantonese restaurant Duddell’s in 2014, and Michelin-starred Sichuan restaurant Qi in 2015. The specially curated menus offered modern dishes, made using traditional cooking techniques and ingredients, as with the Marinated Pigeon with Huadiao Wine by Duddell’s. For dishes like Pork and Cabbage Wontons in Chili Oil and Braised Mandarin Beef in Chili Oil Soup, Qi used authentic Sichuan pepper.
The current Luxury Journeys menu was created in 2016 by French restaurant Bibo’s executive chef Mutaro Malde. The five-course menu highlights seafood, starting with the Oursin appetiser, which combines Hokkaido sea urchin, Baerii caviar and urchin pâté, complemented with a glass of white wine. This is followed by Oeuf Mayo, Le Mille Feuilles, and Le Homard, the last of which is a butter-poached Maine lobster tail dressed with mild spicy chorizo, mushroom, asparagus purée and lobster sauce.
To finish off, a smooth mango mousse with strawberry lemon sauce is topped with crispy crumble for a textured contrast. With new menus introduced to the concept every year, Metrojet’s Luxury Journeys campaign has become the embodiment of its mission to deliver six-star hospitality on board. “Whilst we embrace clients’ in-flight preferences, it is at the core of the company to bring meticulous and unrivalled experiences to clients,” said Metrojet CEO Björn Näf at the launching of Luxury Journeys. Other initiatives include partnering with luxury brands and a travel concierge to provide bespoke in-flight experiences and excursions.