The Montego Bay located gateway, which handled a record 4.2 million passengers in 2017, is confident that the creative new design will appeal to passengers and boost its commercial revenues.
Sangster operator, MBJ Airports, chose retail design specialists, The Design Solution, to come up with the new look.
Airport CEO, Rafael Echevarne, says: “Like most airports, we are constantly seeking the optimal commercial return on our investment in our terminals, particularly through driving retail footfall and penetration.
"We are committed to creating an amazing experience for our passengers and are delighted that The Design Solution has created an adaptable new layout that not only drives our commercial imperatives but also delivers a unique and authentic expression of our island.”
The new design adopts a remarkably effective walkthrough strategy that demonstrates just how effectively design can support relatively small airports investing to drive non-aeronautical revenue streams.
In particular, the design is expected to enable MBJ to achieve a major upsurge in the scale of passenger exposure to the retail offer, giving 100% of passengers sight of the retail offer.
The new 6,500sqm development is anticipated to be undertaken in 2018-19.
Explaining the revenue-driving approach and the key challenges behind the designs, Robbie Gill, founder and managing director of The Design Solution, says: “As is common with the layout at many airports, Sangster International’s two-level layout presented a serious challenge to achieving the optimal exposure of passengers to the retail offer.
"After check-in on the ground floor, entry to the upper floor brings passengers to the middle of the duty free shop and, with gates at each end of the building, those travellers who turn towards the northern gates have no exposure at all to the core retail space located towards the southern end of the terminal.
"This loses around 40-45% of footfall, so our design needed to address the huge opportunity especially as, currently, the northern retail space is principally focused on souvenirs and the category opportunity is much broader.
"The combination of the walkthrough route and the clear sightlines crated in the openness of the space ensures not only that 100% of passengers pass through the main duty free store but they can also see the broader retail offer in both the northern and southern areas of the terminal."
He goes on: "By dramatically increasing the exposure of passengers to the core duty free store MBJ Airports Ltd can achieve a powerful return on its investment in its existing space.
"The airport also has the future Phase 2 option to further expand the retail space and our designs can then integrate a further development of the passenger flow that will deliver the optimum goal of almost every passenger passing every shop.
"Crucially, we have ‘future proofed’ the design principles that we’ve created for Sangster International and these can be applied effectively whether the airport management decides in the future to opt for a single major expansion or a series of smaller phases developments."
According to Gill, the design includes a powerful local emphasis, especially reflecting Jamaica’s natural beauty and its tourist appeal.
"The local element is crucial in the retail offer," he notes. "For example, the coffee and spice store expresses Jamaica's global renown for its coffee, including the famous Blue Mountains coffee. This opens up a fantastic design opportunity whereby we can create natural synergies between the retail offer and the broader terminal space, with the island’s natural beauty as a unifying design theme.
"This includes not only the beauty of tourist destinations such as the Blue Mountains but also the island’s wildlife and the island’s relationship with the ocean.
"We wholeheartedly believe that passengers should have a unique experience of an airport that is firmly embedded in the country or city that they serve.
"Passengers at Sangster International will not only discover a dramatically enhanced retail offer but they will enjoy it in an engaging environment that is unmistakably Jamaican in spirit.’