x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 January 2018

Fine retail opportunities knock at Dubai airport

Dubai Airports is inviting bids from restaurant operators, bars, coffee shops, fast food establishments, banks and retailers to take space at its new extension.

Airline passengers purchase goods at one of several duty free shops in Dubai's Airport Terminal 3, Jeff Topping / The National
Airline passengers purchase goods at one of several duty free shops in Dubai's Airport Terminal 3, Jeff Topping / The National

Shops and restaurants benefiting from some of the best footfall in the world are up for grabs at the new Dubai airport extension.

Dubai Airports is inviting bids from restaurant operators, bars, coffee shops, fast food establishments, banks and retailers to take space at its new 65,000 square metres Concourse D close to the airport's Terminal One.

Last year almost 60 million passengers passed through Dubai International Airport. This compares with the 65 million visitors who flocked to the world's most visited shopping centre last year, The Dubai Mall.

And according to Dubai's new civil aviation strategy plan, published this week, by 2015 when Concourse D opens, total passenger numbers are expected to exceed 75 million - making it the world's busiest and biggest airport and surpassing the current world leader Heathrow.

Dubai Airports said that the new concourse alone, which is expected to open in 2015 as part of the airport's Dh29.38 billion expansion, would serve up to 18 million passengers annually.

It will be home to more than 100 international airlines that currently use Concourse C and will be linked to a refurbished Terminal 1 by an elevated rail system.

The airports operator did not say how many shops, cafes and restaurants would be housed in the new concourse or how much rent they would be charged but added that it would include a 6,926 sq metre lounge of 8,339 seats and 28 airport gates. Many airports agree rents as a percentage of net sales or a guaranteed minimum sum.

When it announced its expansion in 2011, Dubai Airports said 83 per cent of its income was expected to come from commercial sources, including retail, duty free, food and beverages, by 2020, rather than aeronautical fees.

"As was the case with Concourse A, our goal is to create a bespoke and integrated commercial experience that connects with our global customers and exceeds their expectations," said Eugene Barry, senior vice president - commercial at Dubai Airports.

"Dubai airport - indeed most international airports - are a fantastic environment for retailers due to the huge amount of footfall for which retailers will pay premium rents," said Matthew Green, the head of research at CBRE's Dubai office. "However, customer behaviour in airports where you are moved through different areas by airport staff is very different from that in shopping centres, and as such it is difficult to make a direct comparison between the two."

 

lbarnard@thenational.ae