Incheon tenders: Hyundai DF ‘likely to bid’ as anticipation builds on next move

By Luke Barras-hill and David Hayes |

Hyundai Department Store Duty Free could compete in the much-delayed Incheon Terminal 1 re-tender – should it revive – and T2 licences anticipated to be put to bid later this year.

The Terminal 2 lots expire at the beginning of 2023 and conversations with Korean market sources indicate that operator Incheon International Airport Corporation (IIAC) could potentially package up the lots as part of a ‘mega tender’ later this year.

In comments shared with this publication in the South Korea report within the TRBusiness May Asia Pacific e-zine, Cho Jun Ki, Hyundai Department Store Duty Free Headquarters’ Luxury Fashion Manager, said: “We are looking to participate in bidding and increase our market share.

“We have no information on how the concessions will be. We expect IIAC to combine the popular and less popular concessions, so the less popular concessions are not left behind. It’s a matter of how they combine the concessions to have nothing left over.”

IIAC is understood to have appointed consultants to advise on the preparation of the T1 and T2 concession documents, TRBusiness can report.

The Shilla Duty Free’s P&C business at T1 has ceased operation.


Speaking to TRBusiness, one senior industry source said July has been suggested as a possible date for the new RFP.

However, no information about the tender timetable or other details were available at press time and IIAC has yet to respond to TRBusiness’ request for comment.

“Since Incheon is an important place for domestic duty free businesses, we [KDFA operators] will actively participate in bids,” confirmed Tae-Ho Kim, President of the Korea Duty Free Shops Association.

As reported, Kyung Bok Kyung, The Shilla Duty Free and Shinsegae Duty Free are currently operating the DF3, DF4 and DF6 leases among them at T1 under temporary contracts until new concessionaires are selected.

Lotte and Shilla had been operating the leases under extended permits until 28 February last year. Their previous contracts expired in August 2020 prior to the extension.

Three consecutive tenders launched by IIAC since the pandemic have failed to deliver, with bidders walking away due a deteriorating conditions linked to Covid.

South Korea’s DF&TR marketplace remains under pressure with international aviation stricken by the Covid crisis and slowly building back.

As of 9 May (00:00), South Korea recorded at total of 20,601 new confirmed cases, including 19 cases imported from abroad, according to the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency, one week after the country’s relaxation of an outdoor mask mandate.

The latest data represents a fall from the 40,064 new cases posted on Sunday 8 May.


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