Incheon expects to choose T1 bids next month; March 2021 ‘contract starts’

By Luke Barras-hill |

Preferred bidders for the six duty free packages, including The Shilla Duty Free’s P&C concession (DF2), are expected in late September.

Incheon International Airport Corporation (IIAC) intends to select preferred bidders for the latest Terminal 1 tender towards the end of September, TRBusiness has been told.

As reported, IIAC unveiled a tender for six of the eight duty free licences that failed to attract interest (DF2, DF3, DF4, DF6, DF8, DF9) in the original RFP launched in January.

The new tender covers 33 outlets over more than 6,100sq m of space.

The deadline to submit financial proposals is 15 September, before a comprehensive evaluation of submissions takes place.


A spokesperson at IIAC said: “We expect that the preferred proposer would be selected in late September and contracts could begin in March.”

The fresh bidding round contains several caveats to tempt bidders, such as 30% cut in minimum rental prices and a waiving of minimum annual guarantees until passenger traffic picks up again after being obliterated by the coronavirus (Covid-19).

“We’ve tried to reflect difficulties stemming from the Covid-19 pandemic and to create a sustainable airport commercial ecosystem,” added the spokesperson.

Fashion/misc (DF7) and liquor, tobacco and packaged (DF10) concessions won by Hyundai Duty Free and Entas Duty Free, respectively, will begin as planned in September.

Separately, IIAC has been negotiating with large concessionaires on flexible monthly rent arrangements.

As reported, IIAC has already stuck a deal with Lotte Duty Free covering its current liquor, tobacco and food concession (DF3) at Terminal 1. The Shilla Duty Free has also been in talks with the airport on a similar arrangement concerning the tenancies up for tender.

Other non-contested concessions (DF1-1, DF1-2 and DF5) are held by Shinsegae Duty Free.

Lotte Duty Free, which is considering whether to bid in the new Terminal 1 RFP, will benefit from a flexible rent arrangement linked to monthly sales until February 2021.


A spokesperson from Shinsegae Duty Free updates that rent negotiations are ongoing, but nothing has been decided as yet.

“When it comes to existing DF2/3/4/6, we have extended operating periods for maximum 6 months,” said the IIAC spokesperson. “It aims to provide continuous duty free services and to minimise the interval.

“Concerning difficulties stemming from the Covid-19 pandemic, during that period, only the percentage rent will be applied and also operating conditions like operating hours will be flexible.”

Total visitors to South Korea plummeted by 97.5% in June year-on-year, according to the latest statistics from the Korea Tourism Organization (KTO).

Chinese arrivals, which accounted for a 13.7% share of total visitors, sank by 98.9% to 5,051 versus 475,007 in the same period last year.

Travellers from East Asia and the Pacific, taking a 47.6% share of total visitors, reached 17,577.

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