x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 18 January 2018

Flying start for advertising rights

The right to advertise to 19 million passengers a year is up for grabs at a new terminal area at Dubai International Airport.

The right to advertise to 19 million passengers a year is up for grabs at a new terminal area at Dubai International Airport, in what is forecast to be a multimillion-dollar deal.

Dubai Airports said yesterday it was inviting bids for an advertising contract at the Concourse 3 area, which is set for completion at the end of next year.

Concourse 3, which is part of the Terminal 3 complex, will be able to handle 19 million passengers a year, and is set to boost the total capacity of the airport to 75 million.

Eugene Barry, the senior vice president for commercial at Dubai Airports, said "expressions of interest" were invited for the right to manage and sell advertising in Concourse 3.

"Advertising revenues have grown significantly for Dubai Airports in 2011," he said.

The final submission date for expressions of interest is January 5, Dubai Airports said.

"Advertising sites will include opportunities on digital screens, innovative activation platforms to engage with passengers, and conventional billboard sites," Mr Barry said.

Dubai Airports did not disclose the minimum tender for advertising rights.

However, media experts said that it was likely to be a multimillion-dollar deal.

"An opportunity like this doesn't carry a price tag of less than US$5 million [Dh18.3m] to $10m," said Sami Raffoul, the founder and general manager of the Pan Arab Research Center (Parc).

Mr Raffoul said the high number of passengers using Dubai airport and the quality of the environment boosted the potential revenues from selling advertising at the site.

"The cost of advertising there is going to be truly significant, because these are unique opportunities," he said.

JCDecaux, the world's largest outdoor advertising company, holds the rights to sell advertising at the airport's existing terminals.

In December last year, a subsidiary of the French company won a 10-year contract for the exclusive rights to sell advertising at the new Al Maktoum International Airport in Dubai.

JCDecaux, which is listed on the Euronext Paris exchange, also holds the advertising concession for Sharjah International Airport and all 26 airports in Saudi Arabia. The company did not respond to a request for comment on whether it would be bidding for the rights to sell advertising at Concourse 3.

Parc measures "outdoor" advertising in the UAE, but not at the airports.

Mr Raffoul said spending on sites such as billboards in the UAE was healthy this year after years of decline because of the financial downturn and a slump in property advertising. "It has stabilised after the turbulence of the past two years," he said.