IIAC hints at direct negotiations with operators after third T1 tender failure

By Andrew Pentol |

Just one domestic company submitted an application in the third Incheon Airport T1 duty free tender.

Incheon International Airport Corporation (IIAC) has hinted it is considering direct negotiations with operators following the failure of the third Seoul Incheon International Airport Terminal 1 duty free tender.

TRBusiness can confirm that the latest tender was aborted after just one unnamed domestic company submitted an application.

As reported, interested parties had until 12 October 2020 to once again declare their interest in the re-tendered stores (DF2, DF3, DF4, DF6, DF8, DF9) and up to 16:00 KST on 13 October to submit business and financial proposals.


The first tender was put to market in January 2020. A lack of of bidders meant a fresh tender for the spate of undecided contracts was announced on 6 August. On this occasion IIAC made a number of key amendments due to the impact of the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.

It remains unclear as to what will happen to the undecided duty free contracts at Incheon International Airport Terminal 1.

Speaking to this publication following the publication of the third Incheon T1 duty free tender, Bum-Ho Kim, Deputy Executive Director of Concession Marketing Group, Incheon International Airport Corporation highlighted several options if the bid failed. These are direct negotiations with operators, a fourth re-bid with different conditions and the postponement of the process until conditions improve.

In confirming the failure of the third tender, Kim told TRBusiness: “It will take some time to directly find operators [who are interested in running the stores]. It is too early to say what will happen.”

On the third tender itself, he commented: “There were fewer applications than expected, which shows the huge difficulty of the current market and negative expectation for the future.”

A Spokesperson for Lotte Duty Free, which participated in the first two tenders told TRBusiness: “Considering the business uncertainties of the market and the result of the first and second bid, we decided not to take part in the third bid.”

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