Retail therapy

Posted: 11 September 2006 | Mohamed Mounib, Managing Director – Abu Dhabi Duty Free and In-flight Catering | No comments yet

The major expansion projects designed to maintain the city of Abu Dhabi as a business and tourism hub have necessitated a parallel expansion of Abu Dhabi International Airport in order to accommodate the ever increasing traffic growth. With Etihad Airways – the national carrier of the UAE – constantly increasing its destinations around the world, there was an even greater need to expand Abu Dhabi Duty Free’s retail area in line with the development of the airport itself.

The major expansion projects designed to maintain the city of Abu Dhabi as a business and tourism hub have necessitated a parallel expansion of Abu Dhabi International Airport in order to accommodate the ever increasing traffic growth. With Etihad Airways – the national carrier of the UAE – constantly increasing its destinations around the world, there was an even greater need to expand Abu Dhabi Duty Free’s retail area in line with the development of the airport itself.

The growth has made it essential for Abu Dhabi Duty Free to offer prestigious brands that would gratify the most exclusive shoppers travelling through the airport. The award winning Abu Dhabi Duty Free, having proved itself as a major player in the industry and as the second largest operation in the Middle East, is looking forward to the retail opportunities that this influx will bring.

The development of Abu Dhabi International Airport includes both a temporary and a long-term plan. For the temporary plan, Terminal 1A and Terminal 2 were opened in 2005 as a first phase and a new arrivals shop was opened in Terminal 1, near the luggage conveyer, to serve passengers’ shopping needs while waiting for their luggage. The 100 square metre shop vends liquor, tobacco, fragrances, confectionary and more.

Still under construction, other phases in this plan include the construction of a new A380 runway and an Etihad Terminal at a cost of US$ 136 million. This phase will be completed in early 2007. The long term plan includes the construction of a new airport that could accommodate 50 million passengers and a train path around the airport. The cost has been estimated at US$ 8 billion. Also, a 300 bedroom airport hotel will be built in the close vicinity of the airport and will allow both full check-in and half-day check-in.

With only six shops in 1994, Abu Dhabi Duty Free has undergone a major transformation to get to today’s over 5000 square metres of retail. Passenger profiles are changing and as a result, we are constantly adding new high end products to various ranges in Duty Free and carrying out specific promotional activities to suit their needs.

A number of new jewellery brands have been introduced, including an exclusive range of local pearl and semi-precious stone pieces. We have enlarged the leather selection of Bvlgari and Salvatore Ferragamo, while Vision 2000 is stocked with the latest technology. We have also extended our wine range, confectionery choices and cigars in our large walk in humidor.

There are several high end shops at Duty Free, each with corners for prestigious international brands displaying their corporate identities. While the range is vast, there is immense emphasis on branded goods. Renowned names in fashion, fragrance, cosmetics, confectionery create a lavish look and feel to the retail area. Other popular goods include gold and electronic items, local antiques and souvenirs, all displayed in a spectacular setting to maximise appeal.

A firm favourite amongst international tourists, the World of Luxury follows a shop-in-shop concept and is home to exclusive names such as Burberry and Bvlgari. Fashion, leather bags, watches, jewellery and other accessories can be found in this opulent shop.

A wide variety of branded fashion items and accessories can also be found in the Gifts International shop, including fashion, belts, handbags, leather items and sunglasses by Boss, Givenchy, Calvin Klein, Mont Blanc, Texier, Pashma, Rayban, Persol, D&G, Oakley and more. Travellers often prefer shopping for these types of items in Duty Free as many of them are exclusive to Duty Free and are accompanied by a special unique gift.

The Beauty and Fragrance shop stocks a wide variety of top branded fragrances and cosmetic products with items and exclusive travel sets from Chanel, Dior, Estee Lauder, Yves St Laurent, Lancôme, Nina Ricci, Clarins, Clinque, DKNY, and Davidoff to name but a few.

An impressive selection of gold and silver jewellery pieces are displayed in a circular shaped shop in the centre of the Duty Free area, known as the Gold Shop, which also features a selection of top branded watches.

For the cigar connoisseurs, the World Of Cigars was especially designed with a walk in humidor filled with top of the range Cuban Cigars and products including Cohiba and Monte Christo.

Yet another favorite shop is the Vision 2000, stocked with the latest mobile phones and electronic gadgets for both adults and children. An international warranty was recently introduced on Sony products exclusive for the Duty Free, allowing travellers to make use of the warranty all over the globe.

More sophisticated travellers can enjoy Abu Dhabi Duty Free’s Piano Bar on the mezzanine level of the shopping complex. The bar serves caviar, canapés and champagne and vodka, as well as a full range of standard beverages. It also retails smoked salmon and caviar directly to the public.

Terminal 1 boasts several luxurious lounges including a premier lounge known as Al Dar, where passengers can relax and travel in total comfort and complete privacy. Hostesses take care of check in and immigration formalities, as well as duty free purchases, refreshments and special requests, before escorting the passengers to the aircraft for departure.

While in transit, passengers can visit the Airport Hotel and relax between flights. A stylish lounge, a hotel bar, gymnasium, business centre, a spa and forty equipped rooms provide every comfort, where passengers can rejuvenate and pass transit time effortlessly. A Duty Free shop is available at the hotel lounge, with a wide collection of best buys from all of the shops.

Retail at Terminal 1A

Situated below Terminal 1, this new terminal has a dedicated 150 square meters of retail area that includes liquor and tobacco, food and chocolate, electronic items, beauty and fragrance products, besides toys and gifts.

Retail at Terminal 2

The new terminal caters for 15 different airlines and includes an airside retail area of 850 square meters. This area follows a shop in shop concept, similar to that of Terminal 1 and the design was determined based on passenger needs and profiles. The retail area is spacious and allows for easy traffic flow and no long queues. Other retail shops were also opened at the arrivals and the airside of the terminal. Liquor, tobacco, food and chocolate cover the largest area of the retail space, while top brands of beauty and fragrance, watches and gold are represented too.

Other Retail and Services

Abu Dhabi Duty Free also has a duty free operation on the land border of the UAE and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in Ghweifat. Currently covering 375 square meters, a vast range of top brand products can be found there, serving those travelling by land. Plans have been made to expand this facility in the coming months too.

Abu Dhabi International Airport is also the first in the Middle East to have a fully fledged terminal in the city. Eleven airlines allow passengers, if more convenient, to check in at the City Terminal 12 to 24 hours before departure. A duty free retail area is also available here for travellers checking in through this terminal.

Besides introducing new shops, products and ranges, ADDF is constantly updating the popular raffle programmes. Last year we saw a big change in our revamped raffle programme, calling it The Big Ticket and offering ten prizes, not just one. First prize was AED1, 000,000, followed by eight other cash prizes as well as a luxury Mercedes Benz C200K. Since then numerous raffles targeting every traveller or citizen have been introduced; a Mercedes C200K raffle, Nissan Murano raffle, and now a Harley-Davidson Motorcycle raffle.

Abu Dhabi Duty Free regularly holds promotions at specific retail outlets, such as a recent raffle on a Porsche Cayenne, when travellers purchase liquor and tobacco worth approximately US$60. Promotions will soon begin to include other outlets.

Other services offered by Abu Dhabi Duty Free include the popular “Meet & Assist” Golden Class service, available in both Terminal 1 and Terminal 2. Golden Class is a special personal meet and greet service, whereby passengers are met and taken through a mere 3 minute check in and have immigration formalities quickly dealt with at special check in counters. Passengers making use of this service also get preferential rates for the VIP lounge and complimentary refreshments. Other benefits are preferential rates for limousine hire to and from Abu Dhabi city, fresh flower bouquets and issuance of international drivers’ licenses.

The Department of Civil Aviation also established the Al Ghazal Golf Club next to the Abu Dhabi International Airport. In addition to an 18 hole sand course the club offers a technologically advanced golf teaching academy, an equipped gymnasium with sauna and Jacuzzi, a restaurant and bar, a clubhouse with snooker room, a conference and banqueting facility, tennis courts and a playing field used for football and rugby. The World Sand Golf Championship, a highly successful international tournament, was organized by Abu Dhabi Duty Free and hosted at the club in 2004 and 2005. It was attended by top international players with over 32 European Tour professionals.

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