O’Hare International hosted 70 million passengers last year, making the world’s busiest airport a golden opportunity for the $4.7 billion airline catering industry. Four growing airline caterers, whose new facilities total 370,000 square feet, are enjoying the benefits of O’Hare’s orbit:
- Lufthansa subsidiary LSG Sky Chefs, with JLL’s Project and Development Services team, is developing a new $40 million build-to-suit facility that can produce an average of more than 26,000 meals per day. (That’s one meal every two seconds.)
- Austrian-based DO&CO, repped by JLL on the building purchase, just renovated its 112,000-square-foot food prep facility, adding 21,000 square feet of freezer cooler space.
- Flying Food Group, the only Chicago-based firm on the list, just shuttered its Midway facility, but ORD demand remains strong given increased air traffic.
- Swiss-based Gate Gourmet, with approximately 120 locations in 28 countries, keeps three facilities near O’Hare in Chicago and Schiller Park.
While the global market for in-flight catering is expected to reach $17.6 billion by 2020, its growth hinges on the health of the airlines. That means air traffic, airline pricing and aircraft expansion should all be considered when evaluating O’Hare-adjacent spaces’ long-term prospects.