Gauteng Business News

Send  Share  RSS  Twitter  11 Apr 2012

LOGISTICS: FleetAfrica Vehicles Help Air Chef Keep It Cool


Recent Gauteng Business News

Leading provider of fleet management solutions in Southern Africa, FleetAfrica, has been awarded a second vehicle contract by Air Chefs, a provider of quality in-flight catering services to various domestic and international airlines.

Air Chefs has been a FleetAfrica client since mid-2009, when 17 specialised delivery vehicles with hydraulic scissors lifts, designed to reach aircraft doors and load catering trolleys directly into aeroplanes, were supplied in terms of a 10-year full maintenance lease (FML).

The new six-year FML entails the procurement; supply and maintenance of new customer service lift vehicles for Air Chefs. The contract comprises of 25 fully customised, controlled-temperature, refrigerated Isuzu KB 200 petrol-driven light commercial vehicles that will be used for the distribution of cuisine to aircraft, catering kitchens, airport lounges and other service areas.

“Air Chefs’ primary transportation customer service requirements are minimum vehicle downtime and prompt service delivery, as non-delivery carries there are significant penalties and major knock-on cost implications. To ensure the high quality of the cuisine Air Chefs supplies, proper temperature control from dependable refrigeration units is a prerequisite,” explains André Lambrechts, Corporate Contracts, FleetAfrica.

Specific Prerequisites for Air Chef Vehicles

The truck bodies had to be built to accommodate specific height restrictions, as these vehicles have to enter height-restricted areas. However, at the same time, they cannot be too low; the specification must allow for the standard airline Air Chef catering trolleys to fit in the vehicle. Special secure load rail structures were built to securely hold the trolleys.

FleetAfrica contracted Elite Fibre, manufacturers of insulated and semi-insulated truck and trailer bodies, to customise the Isuzus’ bodies, while Transferig transport refrigeration provided the refrigeration capacity. Due to the special height requirements, Transfrig had to design and build special evaporators. Air Chefs also required full branding on all the vehicles and so Graffiti was contracted for this purpose.

Vehicle Management Strategies

Due to security concerns, access to airports is strictly controlled and stringent regulations are enforced in terms of the age of vehicles allowed on airport-airside premises in order to minimise possible breakdowns and ensure the quality and integrity of airline service. The airport-airside environment is a highly specialised and pressured environment that places a high demand for on time service delivery and requires very high standards of vehicle serviceability and maintenance.

“FleetAfrica has been involved with airport handling companies for many years, and we have the expertise required for operation in this highly specialised area. This market falls within our strategic client profile, and as vehicle availability and the successful management of downtime are our key drivers, we are fast gaining ground,” concludes Lambrechts.

The first eight vehicles were delivered at the end of 2011, with the remainder arriving early in 2012.

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