Lagardère talks Auckland Airport ahead of shift to single operator model

By Luke Barras-hill |

Lagardère AWPL is preparing for the transition to a single duty free operator model at AKL this autumn.

Lagardère Travel Retail has teased its duty free plans for Auckland Airport (AKL) ahead of the expected shift towards a single operator model from September 2023.

The multi-location travel retailer is in bullish mood after snaring a contract extension at the end of last year to extend its presence through its Aelia Duty Free fascia until mid-2025.

Séverine Lanthier, Group Chief Strategy and Development Officer and COO Asia, and Luc Mansion, Group Chief Financial Officer and COO Pacific shared their thoughts with TRBusiness in the May Asia Pacific special edition magazine.

“The extension of the Aelia Duty Free contract at Auckland Airport gives us the opportunity to significantly expand the brand offering, to maximise the customer experience, to ensure harmonised customer services as well as accelerating the investment in innovation and e-commerce,” they said in a joint interview.

The landlord had selected Lagardère AWPL as its sole (interim) duty free partner from the end of Q3 this year, signalling an end to the dual operator model run in conjunction with Aer Rianta International (ARI) for over seven years.

Expansion with local partners in India

L-R: Séverine Lanthier and Luc Mansion, Lagardère Travel Retail.

The airport decided to extend only one duty free licence until June 2025, when a full re-tender process for the concession is expected to commence.

Lagardère AWPL has pledged a “world-class experience” across arrivals and departures through the transition, with additional investments in brands, experiences and sustainability.

Przemek Lesniak and Costa Kouros, Co-CEOs at AWPL which was established in May 2022, had previously spoken of “delivering more magical moments and innovative experiences together with the airport through the single operator model”.

“By coming together, we have combined an international player with a local champion in travel retail to optimise the offer, concept portfolios and to share our customer knowledge, strengths and back offices,” continued Lanthier and Mansion.

Elsewhere, Lagardère Travel Retail has confirmed to TRBusiness an “ambitious development plan” for Asia Pacific in view of an expectedly fast and strong sales rebound, with China’s domestic market picking up and regional traffic starting to recover.

“We are also working in close partnership with our local franchise partners in India to further expand our operations there, where domestic travel is a huge, untapped opportunity,” added the duo. “In Cambodia, we have also introduced our ‘Discover’ brand.”

For more on Lagardère Travel Retail’s regional ambitions and to read the full article in the May Asia Pacific special edition of TRBusiness, click here.

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