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RETAIL/F&B Last modified on September 25, 2017

Raising the bar

Airport World reviews a handful of projects designed to boost the retail/F&B options at airports in Australia and North America.

Melbourne Airport in Australia is to expand its retail offering with the addition of luxury brands Tiffany & Co, Burberry, Salvatore Ferragamo, Max Mara and Emporio Armani in Terminal 2 later this year.

The outlets will open in the airport’s new high-end fashion precinct as part of its continued effort to enhance the traveller experience.

The gateway claims that the new luxury brands have been purposefully chosen and carefully curated to meet the evolving needs and expectations of the airport’s passengers.

“The luxury precinct is really taking Melbourne Airport to the next level, with 11 of the world’s most prestigious brands set to enhance our international passenger experience,” says Andrew Gardiner, chief of retail at Melbourne Airport.

“Our domestic and international passengers have informed us of the stores they want to see, and we’re delivering on that with high end brands that we know our travellers love.”

The new high-end precinct will be located adjacent to the next generation duty free store and will also see brands including Australia’s leading official watch specialty store Watches of Switzerland, Swiss designer Bally, Michael Kors, HUGO BOSS and Furla, as well as upscale business and travel lifestyle brand Tumi.

All the stores are scheduled to be open between now and the end of November this year.

In the US, Seattle-Tacoma International Airport has chosen a number of new concession offerings that it claims “reflect global tastes and feature several popular favourites”.

Their choice, following a competitive tender, will include báhn mi, burgers, a cocktail bar, ice cream, fresh juice, sushi and salads, with the locations opening in the coming years.

More opportunities for interested firms will still be available in the future, including approximately 20 units in the next lease group to be proposed for competitive bid starting this summer.

Currently, passengers have 86 dining and retail choices at the airport. That number is expected to grow to more than 135 dining and retail choices upon completion of the redevelopment effort.

“We’re particularly pleased that so many local minority and small businesses see the benefit of opportunities at Sea-Tac Airport, will create new jobs, and help us share a Pacific Northwest sense of place with our passengers. Remember to check in early and bring your appetite,” says Port of Seattle Commission president, Tom Albro.

Meanwhile, George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH) has completed an ambitious new restaurant and retail programme executed by the Houston Airport System, United Airlines, and dining and retail partners.

According to the Texas gateway, the multi-million dollar project — which began with construction in September 2015 — provides an elevated experience for airport customers, enhancing efforts to make Bush airport a five-star global air service gateway.

“The new programme dramatically improves the quality and variety of choices for our customers,” says Houston’s aviation director, Mario Diaz.

“We were looking for products and services that satisfied the needs, wants and desires of our passengers, and still create a sense of place that is uniquely Houston. This programme succeeds in reaching that vital goal.”

This long-term effort began with extensive planning, research and passenger surveys that provided the blueprint for the final result — a massive makeover that produced 43 new and diverse retail shopping options, 30 restaurants recognized for their variety, global flavours, and more healthful choices, and nine new coffee shops.

Global brands, local favourites, chef-inspired cuisine and fine dining have been added. The new programme includes global brands such as Hugo Boss, MAC, The Body Shop and the Hard Rock Café and a number of local concepts such as the Hubcap Grill & Beer Yard and Hugo’s Cocina.

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Joe Bates

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