‘Over to you’: Andrew Brodie, Sunshine Coast Airport talks retail and recovery

By Trb Editor |

Over to You guest columns logo leadIn the latest instalment of the ‘Over to you’ guest column series, TRBusiness.com hears from Andrew Brodie, Chief Executive Officer at Sunshine Coast Airport in Australia’s South East Queensland.

The former retail and commercial chief of Brisbane Airport and experienced industry executive distills the impact of the coronavirus (Covid-19) on Sunshine Coast Airport and reveals it is optimising retail & F&B offerings to align with the revival curve.  

Few industries have been as heavily impacted by Covid-19 as aviation. With Australian international and state borders closed, uncertainty around when leisure travel will resume and many households having less money available to spend on travel, it isn’t the best time to run a regional airport.

Here at Sunshine Coast Airport, we went from being Australia’s fastest-growing airport serving Queensland’s fastest-growing tourist destination, to farewelling our last commercial flight and temporarily closing the terminal doors all in the space of about six weeks.

‘THREE-PRONGED’ RECOVERY

It is very sad to see our airport – part of so many amazing memories, reunions and adventures – devoid of life, laughter and activity with our retailers closed, food court deserted and car parks empty.

But we believe in Sunshine Coast Airport and the businesses who are part of our airport community and we are here to drive its recovery. It will take a three-pronged approach.

Without commercial jets, our revenue has reduced by 95%. But our retailers are also hurting. They’ve closed their doors, stood down staff and mothballed their businesses.

To support the long-term viability of our tenants, we have developed a rent relief programme to provide support to those most impacted, recognising that the Covid-19 impacts will be different for each business.  This programme has been developed in line with principles outlined by the Australian government.

We’ve built long-term relationships with many of our retailers and these measures are an acknowledgement of the important role they play in the passenger experience.

Andrew-Brodie-2020

Andrew Brodie, Chief Executive, Sunshine Coast Airport: “I am optimistic for the future. We acknowledge now that our growth will be more incremental in line with aviation recovery. So, we’re looking now at how to improve and increase our retail and F&B offer by making the most of the space we’ve got.”

While we are small airport, serving just under 1.3 million passengers a year, we are Australia’s fastest growing and fuelled by a compelling visitor destination – think beautiful beaches, semi-tropical rainforest. rolling pastural hills and a region with significant infrastructure investment which has made it a magnet for interstate migration.

Pre Covid-19, we were on a growth trajectory. Next month, we open a new, longer and wider runway, capable of reaching international destinations for the first time. We were planning a terminal redevelopment to cater for dedicated international operations and more retail and F&B space.

We acknowledge now that our growth will be more incremental in line with aviation recovery. So, we’re looking now at how to improve and increase our retail and F&B offer by making the most of the space we’ve got.

I’ve long said that people travel to destinations, not airports. Our destination is a special one and our region is home to amazing local products – think fresh prawns off the trawler, the sweetest pineapple, a vibrant microbrewery scene and artisan design and fashion.

We want visitors’ experiences at our airport to be an extension of our beautiful region, so we want to create a greater sense of place through our choice of retail, food and drinks on offer.

I am optimistic for the future. Despite the cloud of uncertainty in our industry right now, there is one thing I am sure of: Humans love to travel. They are curious and crave adventure. They value authenticity. And our passion here at Sunshine Coast Airport is working with our retailers, concessionaires and other airport partners to connect people to amazing places, products and experiences.

The views and opinions expressed here belong to the columnist and do not necessarily reflect those of TRBusiness.

To read other columns in the series, click the relevant links below. Interested in getting involved? Please contact one of the editorial team at the following addresses: [email protected][email protected][email protected].

James Prescott, Managing Director, Harding Retail

Kevin Brocklebank, Founder and MD, One Red Kite

Alain Maingreaud, President, TFWA

Tullia Ialongo, Business Development Partner, Wand Technology

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