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Air Chef will now be a wholly owned subsidiary of Universal

Universal acquires Air Chef Holdings, LLC

Universal Weather and Aviation, Inc. announced that it has acquired Air Chef Holdings, LLC‘s in-flight catering business and concierge services, including its divisions: Air Culinaire, Air Culinaire International, and CaterLink Worldwide. Air Chef will now be a wholly owned subsidiary of Universal with no changes to its day-to-day management. Air Chef products and services will continue to be marketed and promoted under their existing brands.

"The completion of this acquisition is a significant milestone for Universal and part of our long-term growth strategy," said Mark Carmen, President, Universal. "We continue to receive feedback from flight crews and passengers that there is nothing as frustrating as having a successful trip be tarnished by an issue with the catering services. After an exhaustive search, we identified Air Chef as the company that was most able to help us enhance our customers’ catering experience. This acquisition will allow us to improve the quality of catering delivered around the world to our clients, both via Air Culinaire’s kitchens and through the global CaterLink network."

Carmen added that customers can continue to use Air Chef as they always have. "Business will continue as usual. Air Chef has a tremendous reputation and a very strong management team with great expertise on how to operate kitchens and work with providers around the world," said Carmen.

Air Culinaire currently operates 13 kitchens throughout the United States and two kitchens in Europe. These include a kitchen in London at Luton Airport, which serves multiple airports in the London area, and the recently opened Paris kitchen, based at Le Bourget. CaterLink Worldwide is an aviation catering and concierge service that serves over 800 airports domestically and internationally utilizing the best local, pre-approved vendors to provide consistent quality and service in markets where Air Culinaire does not operate a kitchen.

"I am excited about the benefits of this acquisition for our employees, as well as our clients and suppliers," said Air Chef CEO Cliff Smith. "Universal provides us with the support and resources we need to further expand and grow internationally. As a wholly owned subsidiary, we will continue to strengthen the Air Chef brands and grow the company internationally by utilizing the global support and resources of Universal. "

Carmen and Smith said that their next steps are to take a "listen, learn, and develop" approach to creating their strategy moving forward.

"We will engage both our clients and Air Chef’s to further identify how we can maximize the potential of this acquisition to meet their needs," said Carmen. "Whether it be flight attendants and fractionals or private and charter operators, the catering needs of our clients are unique. We have a tremendous opportunity to gain a greater understanding of their wants and needs when they are flying both close to home and internationally. We will use that insight to identify opportunities for new product development, possible delivery enhancements, and potential locations for further international expansion."