‘Adapt & Survive’: Luigi Battuello, SEA Milan Airports

By Andrew Pentol |

ADAPT-AND-SURVIVE-Luigi-Battuello-460x306SEA Milan Airports, which manages Linate and Malpensa International Airports has revealed it is at the ‘very beginning’ of the recovery from the deadly Coronavirus (Covid-19) crisis.

Speaking candidly to TRBusiness as part of our Adapt & Survive Skype video series, Luigi Battuello, Business Development Director, Non Aviation, SEA Milan Airports describes the Covid-19 situation as ‘totally and completely unprecedented.’

“We, like everyone else in the airport world were forced into this situation. From the beginning, we have tried to be a loyal and trusting partner.”

In a strong show of support to business partners, the company waived all minimum guarantees on contracts.

Battuello added: “We decided that from the day we resume the business we would basically we would work on a variable rent model only.”


During the lockdown the Italian government closed Linate Airport. SEA Milan itself decided to close Malpensa Terminal 1. “We decided to concentrate all airport operations at Malpensa into the old Terminal 2.

“On Monday (15 June), we decided to close down Terminal 2 and base ourselves in Terminal 1 which is much larger. This has worked out much better in terms of complying with our own regulations and those issued by other institutions.

“As of the day before yesterday, we are running around 100 flights per day [at Milan Malpensa] so the situation is improving little by little.”

Lifting the lid on its cooperation with long-standing duty free partner Dufry during the pandemic, Battuello said: “To be honest, we have not treated Dufry any differently from our other partners. Normally, we have a commercial committee meeting twice a month to discuss various issues.

“With Dufry it has been easier in the sense we have more frequent contact.”

Regarding the Dufry partnership, SEA Milan, which is among a number of airport and DF&TR operators to sign up to the TRMarketplace digital platform, decided which shops to close and reopen. “We decided to concentrate most of the activity on the Hudson newspaper shops rather than the general duty free shops.

“There was a period when the traditional core category duty free shops were closed and the Hudson shops were open.”

Looking ahead, Battuello is confident things will return to normal from the beginning of July. This is why SEA Milan has not forced retailers to re-open, with the exception of some essential food and beverage outlets.

“If you were to visit Terminal 1 right now, commercial business would probably be almost zero. The general look and feel though is relatively normal.”

Adapt and Survive asks members of the travel retail industry community, often working from home, for their candid commentary on the constantly evolving Covid-19 pandemic.

The video series is a direct response to the industry’s critical need for direct, factual and analytical commentary and – in typical TRBusiness fashion – interprets clearly and concisely the challenges faced by travel retail during Covid-19.

To register your interest in the Adapt and Survive series, please contact one of the editorial team at the following addresses: [email protected][email protected][email protected].





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