International Flight Services Association (IFSA) is a global professional association formed to serve airline personnel, inflight and rail caterers, and suppliers responsible for providing onboard services.
IFSA chose Kellen as its full-service management company just before the tragic events that occurred on September 11, 2001 involving hijacked aircraft. As a result of the catastrophe and the public’s subsequent fear of flying, air travel plummeted and airlines were forced to make system-wide changes and reductions in service. Additionally, regulatory agencies began adding new requirements which imposed greater cost burdens on airlines and companies supporting the delivery of inflight services. With these major changes, the onboard catering industry forever changed, with many airlines dropping or greatly reducing food offerings. As a mirror of the industry, IFSA began to experience declines in membership and involvement, and the long-term viability of the association came into question.
An integrated staff team comprised of senior management, meetings management, communications professionals, financial services and client services joined with elected IFSA leadership to assess the association’s member value proposition, to validate benefits and services of highest importance to members, and to ensure the most effective and efficient methods of delivery regarding those initiatives.
Extensive membership surveys were conducted. Based on the feedback received, industry-related organizations were sought. Strategic alliances were formed to co-host conferences and seminars with crossover appeal to the respective memberships. A Government Affairs & Education Committee was enhanced, which developed broad-based guidelines for the industry (World Food Safety Guidelines). Relationships were strengthened with lead regulatory agencies. A Communications Advisory Council was formed to serve as the voice of the industry, to share best practice information and respond to media inquiries.
As a result, IFSA membership has rebounded and involvement is strong. Networking and the building of business relationships is flourishing via international regional conferences, an annual conference & exhibition in the U.S. and social networking sites. IFSA now co-hosts its annual conference and tradeshow with APEX, and as a result, attendance and exhibit sales have both increased over 15%. The continued partnership is opening up new markets to both groups, with the launch of co-located events in Asia and the Middle East.