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NEWS Last modified on January 21, 2015

Unifree Duty Free awarded tender at Istanbul's new hub

The winner of the tender for the prestigious contract to manage duty free shops at Istanbul’s new airport has been named as Unifree Duty Free.

The firm will manage duty free shops for 25 years at the new €10.2 billion hub that will boast three runways and a super size terminal capable of handling 90 million passengers when it opens on October 29, 2017, and was awarded the contract by İGA Havalimanı İşletmesi A.Ş.

Located 35 kilometres from the centre of Istanbul on a 7,650 hectare site close to the Black Sea, the gateway will replace Atatürk Airport and provide the capacity needed to support the continued rapid growth of air traffic and the hub operations of Turkish Airlines. 

The duty free stores will serve on an area of 53,000 sq metres and has 30 years experience in Turkish travel retail and will utilize the 135 years international experience of its partner Gebr. Heinemann.

Unifree DutyFree is planning to invest €120 million and gather more than 400 domestic and foreign luxury brands under one roof with an architectural design that it said will preserve the "fabric of Istanbul".


During the signing ceremony, Nihat Özdemir, board member of İGA and chairman of the board of directors of Limak Holding, explained: “We have an ambitious target; and that is to turn Istanbul and our country the center of global aviation industry.

“İGA will not only be paying €26 million including VAT to the state, which is the highest amount for a bid in the history of our Republic, but also make additional investments and break new records, while contributing to Turkish economy significantly thanks to the commercial volume we will generate.”

He continued: “The duty free contract signed with our reputable partner Unifree DutyFree is the concrete manifestation that we, as İGA, will not only limit ourselves with construction phase, but that we have already started working meticulously to offer the best service to all users once the airport is opened.

“Once again, we are witnessing how inspiring are the dreams we have for our country and Istanbul and how ambitious our vision and targets are.  We are rightfully proud to have signed the largest duty free agreement of the world, knowing that the duty free will be one of the most exciting and spectacular parts of the new airport. “


The duty free area at Istanbul’s new airport will be composed of six sections. 6,500 sq metres will be dedicated to luxury boutique stores, and 3,000 sq metres will be dedicated to a bazaar concept where Turkish products will be sold and introduced to the world.

Information areas will cover 500 sq metres, duty free shops 15,000 sq metres, activity and tasting stands 6,000 sq metres and the arrival stores will cover 12,500 sq metres, adding up to 53,000 sq metres together with other areas.

Kerem Üstünkaya, Unifree DutyFree shareholder and deputy chairman of the board, said the firm will create a shopping environment that is far from the traditional and cliché form of duty free shopping, offering “unforgettable and extraordinary experiences to the customers”.

Üstünkaya added: “During this process, when the world will be watching us with much curiosity and excitement, we will organize special events for Unifree in our shops by using our current relations and by following closely the future trends.


“This way, we will be able to provide our customers the opportunity to have access to all the luxury brands at the same location. Passengers will be able to try luxury products in ‘Private Rooms’, will have fun in the ‘Game Center’, and will have an opportunity to refresh themselves with the help of experts in Spa, hairdresser and beauty salon.

“They will also be able to watch new released movies at the ‘Movie Theater’ equipped with the state-of-the-art technology, and while shopping, they will be able to leave their children in the ‘Unikids’ area where the children will be safe and sound.”

For the first time in the world, Unifree DutyFree, will equip the shops at Istanbul's new airport with the latest technologies in travel retail including future technologies that will meet the passengers at the opening.

They will include 3-D hologram systems, smart shopping carts that have a charging function, mobile cash registers, electronic customer profiling and analysis systems are only some of the technologies that will be available at the stores.


For example, with ‘Magic Mirror’ application customers will be able to see virtually how watches, sun glasses, accessories, clothes and make-up products will look on them without physically trying them on.

Additionally, the electronic customer profiling and analysis technology will enable us to trace the customer’s shopping history and identify their possible future needs, and this way offering them personalized products and services.

Private vehicles and one-to-one assistance by trained sales reps will be available for disabled customers also.

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