Fraport and Lufthansa trial new inflight retail model

By Charlotte Turner |

Frankfurt-Airport-leadKai Schmidhuber, Executive Vice President Multi-Channel, Fraport has revealed information about a new partnership struck between the airport authority, Heinemann and Lufthansa, which could signal some big changes for the inflight retail industry.


During the final session of The Trinity Forum held in Mumbai last week, which was billed as ‘a hard-hitting, prophetic panel involving a broad array of Trinity perspectives’, Fraport’s Schmidhuber stunned the audience with a ‘disruptive’ view of airport retail.


He provided solid evidence that Frankfurt Airport really is walking the talk in turning duty free shopping into an omni-channel experience.



Kai Schmidhuber, Executive Vice President Multi-Channel, Fraport.

The airport is also on track to register one million loyalty card holders, while it is also looking to keep ‘etailers’ like Alibaba and Amazon out of the business as it considers more radical ideas.



One is a trial partnering with its existing retail partner, Heinemann and Lufthansa, Germany’s largest airline. According to Schmidhuber, Fraport is partnering with the airline to offer its entire product portfolio inflight via free WiFi, as passengers browse all skus, and buy online with a pick up at Frankfurt Airport.


Audience members and the panel then questioned how this could work and which stakeholder received ‘what cut’ from the purchases?


He did stress that this was a trial currently, but that the partnership preferred to try before arguing about who received what.


Interestingly, earlier on during the forum, Dufry CEO, Julián Díaz said that more opportunities could be gleaned from partnerships with airlines. “There should be a focus now from airlines to link up with retailers. Arrivals is one opportunity for airlines and retailers to partner, but technology needs to evolve in order for this to be executed.


“The link between aircraft and arrivals could be an opportunity for the business. But, as I said before, collaboration is not just a word, it’s an action and each location requires a different approach.”



Germany’s biggest airline.

Editor’s Comment:

Whilst this Fraport/Heinemann/Lufthansa trial appears to still be in its infancy, but if it works, the repercussions for the industry could potentially be dramatic.


Many delegates at the forum seemed to be overly concerned as to how the spoils from these transactions would be shared.


Still, Schmidhuber answered naysayers with this neat retort. “We thought to ourselves; let’s try it first before we argue for the next five years who gets the biggest slice of the cake.”



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