ARI recovery gathers steam as The Loop Duty Free trades at Dublin Airport

By Luke Barras-hill |

Dublin-TheLoop-reopening

Duty free shops at Cork, Muscat and Beirut Airports are set to follow the latest reopening at Dublin Airport (pictured).

Aer Rianta International (ARI) Chief Executive Ray Hernan has branded the re-opening of the travel retailer’s shops at Dublin Airport today (29 June) a ‘triumph’.

The return of doors at Muscat, Beirut and Cork Airports in the coming days will mark an important ‘milestone’ in ARI’s recovery plan, says Hernan, as the company restores more than 50% of its global operations network.

Stores at Bahrain, King Khalid, Larnaca and Paphos International Airports have resumed trading already, together with ARI’s operation in Qatar.

“We are delighted to see our Dublin stores open again,” commented Hernan. “We are making real progress. While we are very focused on operational recovery and there remains much uncertainty, we are confident in our vision and our strategy for long-term growth.”

Ray-width-headshot-ARI

Ray Hernan, Chief Executive Officer, ARI.

OPERATIONAL PREPAREDNESS

The shops at Dublin Airport have been closed since mid-March, when the government ordered all non-essential retail shops to shut to curb the spread of the coronavirus (Covid-19).

In preparation for the re-openings, ARI conducted extensive consumer research nationally to understand customer expectations, motivations and barriers to purchase.

The findings were used to inform aspects of the customer journey, retail proposition, staff training and marketing communication, among others.

Passenger and staff safety are being prioritised via a number of measures, communicated online and on social media channels through video and written communications.

ARI recommends that passengers wear face masks or coverings on their journeys; social distancing is being enforced; simplified queue management processes, protective screens and hand cleaning dispensers are in place; and floor graphics and signs are visible in the shops.

Customers can scan boardings cards at the checkout desk and the use of contactless payments are being encouraged.

Cleaning and sanitisation processes have been increased, particularly for frequently touched surfaces, and passengers are being advised to limit the unnecessary handling of products.

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Paul Neeson, Director of Retail Ireland, ARI.

EXCITING, YET CAUTIOUS RESTART

The measures echo Ireland’s Covid-19 guidelines, those issued by the European Aviation Safety Agency, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control and the Duty Free World Council.

Paul Neeson, Director of Retail Ireland said: “Our retail teams have worked tirelessly with the wider airport teams in Dublin and Cork to prepare for today’s re-opening.

“There is genuine excitement to welcome our customers once again, but with an understanding, that the warmest welcome, is the safest welcome. All of our safety measures are in place and we have listened to customers in multiple focus groups about how they want to interact with our teams on our return. We have taken that feedback on board and will reflect it in our engagement with customers.

“We thank our brand partners for their ongoing support in delivering the widest range of brands in Ireland, a great experience instore and even more value for our customers, both instore and online.”

Passengers can continue to shop online at www.theloop.ie. Using the Click & Collect service, they can buy goods online up to 90 days before they fly and collect their purchases in-store on departure or on arrival home.

Meanwhile, a new omni-channel creative campaign is welcoming customers back, heavily supported with category offers in-store and at www.theloop.ie.

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