Update from Sola Airline Cutlery B.V. The Netherlands
Like any other company in our industry we have been hit hard by the COVID-19 virus. Where we normally can rely on all pillars of our company, like the hotel/restaurant and retail business, these industries are suffering from the same pandemic.
The update from The Netherlands is that recently some restrictions are imposed again in an attempt to avoid a second wave. A lock-down is no longer required, but strict hygiene is required. Today, 27th of August, this looks to be successful. Everybody is looking forward if that will be the case for the rest of our world, so we can re-start as soon as possible.
At this moment we have stock sitting in MLCO Dallas. That is product ordered prior to the closing of almost all air traffic. As soon as there is product needed AA can contact MLCO and they will make sure the product will be shipped out to wherever it is needed.
The last time we met was on the 28th of January 2020. This was one of my last meetings prior to corona. By that time we already sent our proposal for this new light weight cutlery. At that time we finished the designs, the way it will be produced and the prices.
During WTCE 2020 the final ideas would have been available to see, feel and test. Since that never took place and the entire world and our industry included has been involved in this pandemic we used this time to further develop this special project. Today I would like to give you an update on what is available today, and what more is coming.
Due to the upcoming European ban on single-use-plastics in 2021 airlines we developed a stainless steel option. This is an ultralight, low-cost, stainless steel option in three different designs. Production is done fully automatic and is able to be produced in mass volumes. Another big advantage is that this special cutlery can be washed. It is a rotable or a disposable set. Plus this cutlery can be recycled minimizing the impact on land/sea.
The updates so far are the following:
- Packing in a paper pouch, with napkin and stirrer
- Covid-19 & restart
- Improved head part fork
Packing in a paper pouch:
Technically the cutlery itself is ready for some time. However, we noticed that part of the bigger picture was the question how to get this product on-board. Quickly we noticed that it would be better if we were able to offer this set in a set-packing. This is something we developed as well.
On the right you can see one of the first sets which we offered to an Asian airline. The cutlery is the standard design Manhattan, but a paper napkin and chopsticks are added to the set. On the other side the logo of this airline is printed.
This is a plastic packing, which is not exactly what the European regulations had in mind, but it gives you a good idea of how this can work till this new law comes into effect.
Paper pouch & napkin:
After this first test-run was made, we also focused on developing an environmentally sound solution. We found that in the way of a paper pouch. The raw material is recycled paper.
A paper pouch gives you more room to add text, decoration or perhaps information/instructions what this special cutlery is.
Normally this cutlery is packed in bulk. This pouch is something that is packed in a flow-wrapper and therefore it is rather simple to also add a paper napkin. On top of that we can also put your logo on the napkin.
Stirrers are also available now. In stead of a (tea)spoon you can order a stirrer instead. This is our latest addition to this project and professional pictures are being made this week.
Covid-19 and restart:
We offer this cutlery with the additional option to have it washed prior to packing in either bulk or wrapped in a set-packing. This means that it does not need to be washed upon arrival. Since this can also be used as a disposable set, you do not need to collect, wash and re-pack it.
Especially during this period of time where airlines are restarting and not all catering stations are back on full service again, this could also be used as a temporarily option.
Improved head part:
You have samples of all three designs in your possession. You have felt that the lightness of the set. Although the cutlery easy to handle we still found it necessary to change the head part of the fork. The knife is stable and the (tea)spoon does not need to pull much strength. What we have done now make a very slight curve in the head part of the form making it stronger compared to the first samples you have received.
For as long as COVID-19 is effecting our normal business, we are all forced to stay put and deal with the situation. It may take some time before we are back to full speed. As soon as that is the case, you know you have stock available at MLCO in Dallas. This alone is an advantage, because once this visrus is under control, or a vaccine is developed, the whole world will start travelling again and people want to make up for the loss of time and business.
For this lightweight cutlery you now have all the updates. And on top of that a potential temporarily solution for restarting flights throughout your network.
I can send you samples of these updated cutlery and new packings. Prices are also available. In case you need more information on whatever topic, please let me know. We have the option to “meet” via Zoom, Skype or any other kind of media.
Have a great day and stay safe !