LSG Sky Chefs Korea, which provided Asiana Airlines with in-flight meals until just before the meal service was disrupted, said on July 5 that Kumho Asiana Group chairman Park Sam-gu made false claims during his press conference the previous day.
LSG said in a press release, "We are going to make it clear that Park was not honest about meal cost disclosure and concerns about meal quality."
On the previous day, chairman Park said, “LSG did not reveal the production cost of in-flight meals, and we have asked them to do so several times. As they did not, we searched for another supplier,” explaining the reason why he switched from LSG to Gate Gourmet Korea (GGK).
Regarding this statement, LSG said, "We have been following the terms of the agreement with Asiana in all aspects. In terms of production cost, we always conformed to the contract.”
LSG also refuted Park’s statement that "the quality of catering" was a factor in Asiana’s decision to switch to another supplier.
"We would like to emphasize the fact that Asiana won several awards for its excellent in-flight meal service while we were supplying in-flight meals,” said LSG. It stressed that LSG has been continuously given an excellent rating by a global assessment organization.
In addition, it added that Asiana had not raised any serious quality issues with the meals before 2017, when Asiana decided to terminate the contract.
LSG said it is confident that Asiana’s decision to change its meal supplier to GGK two years ago was completely irrelevant to cost disclosure and quality concerns mentioned by Park in his press conference.
Meanwhile, Park Sam-gu, made an apology on July 4 for the in-flight meal chaos. In a press conference held in the group’s headquarters in Gwanghwamun, he said, "I sincerely apologize for disappointing our passengers and Korean people due to the recent incident. I apologize to passengers who had disruptions in their schedule due to flight delays and to people who had to go through the inconvenience of getting no meals. We were not well prepared in the process of switching in-flight meal providers.”
Asiana has had problems in the supply of in-flight meals since it changed the supplier. It decided to switch from LSG, Lufthansa-affiliated in-flight meal provider that has provided meals to Asiana for 15 years, to GGK of Hainan Group, China, starting on July 1.
A problem occurred in March, when a large fire started at the new GGK plant in Incheon International Airport. Asiana signed a tentative contract on June 15 with Sharp DO & CO Korea, a small-sized company that supplies 3,000 meals a day to foreign airlines. Asiana needed 25,000 meals a day, however, and Sharp DO & CO Korea could not meet the demand. The pressure from the delayed supply of in-flight meals led to the suicide of CEO of its partner company on July 2.
During this process, a suspicion was raised that the Kumho Asiana Group changed the supplier of the meals in order to attract investment. LSG filed a petition with the Fair Trade Commission last year, saying, "Asiana requested that we invest 150 billion to 200 billion won in Kumho Holdings (currently known as Kumho Bus Lines) for extending the contract.”