Auckland Airport fast tracks transition to single operator model from 1 June

By Luke Barras-hill |

ARI, trading under The Loop Duty Free banner, has been praised as a ‘fantastic partner’ over its seven-year tenure. Source: Shutterstock.

Aelia Duty Free will trade as the sole duty free operator at Auckland Airport (AKL) from tomorrow (1 June).

The development follows TRBusiness’ story yesterday, in which Lagardère Travel Retail shared its operational ambitions in line an extended contract at the New Zealand hub until 2025.

Aer Rianta International (ARI) will exit a business it has been a part of since the airport moved to a dual operator model covering its duty free arrivals and departures areas in 2015.

Originally scheduled for September, the move towards a single retailer model run by Lagardère AWPL has been brought forward with the agreement of all parties ‘to ensure a seamless transition’.

In a statement, AKL says around 90% of existing duty free staff are being transferred across to Aelia Duty Free, with new roles being created and others filled across logistics, operations and other support functions.

Tender ‘to launch within a year’

“With the shift to a single duty free operator, we are looking forward to providing a larger range of products, without the duplications experienced in a dual operator model,” stated Mark Thomson, Chief Commercial Officer, Auckland Airport.

“As always, Aelia’s products will remain tax and duty free. Aelia Duty Free offers a great choice of products, with beauty and cosmetics typically topping the list as some of the most purchased at Auckland Airport. All of our customers’ favourites will still be available plus many more being added. ”

“We are also grateful to The Loop Duty Free for their tenure over the past seven years, when duty free was operating under a dual model, and for being a fantastic partner to Auckland Airport.”

A tender process for a long-term duty free contract is expected to commence within the next year.

Duty free shopping will remain available in the terminal and travellers can continue to make online purchases for collection when they fly in or out of Auckland via The Mall or Aelia Duty Free during the duty free transition, adds the airport.

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