The airline catering is paying £500,000 to set up a new professorship in airline food at the University of Surrey in the UK. The new professor, who has yet to be appointed, will conduct and oversee research into food served to airline passengers and develop a postgraduate course in the subject.Despite criticism from the restaurant trade, suggesting that cooking should be left to chefs, the university said it would be reinforcing the donated money with a further £1m to conduct research into the global airline food industry.Professor David Airey, head of the University of Surrey's School of Management, said: "It's excellent for the university to be leading the way. It's a serious subject which requires a lot of work." Passengers will doubtless agree. Frequent air travellers in particular often complain about the poor nutritional value of food served in transit.Moreover, the market is significant and growing fast as more people travel for both business and pleasure. A spokesperson for the airline industry said that airline catering is a trade worth US$10bn a year.