Spain duty free tender: Operators given 12 weeks in crucial bidding window

By Luke Barras-hill |

All 10 travel retail operator groups have received the green light to move to the bidding phase after meeting necessary solvency requirements.

Travel retail operators expressing interest in the coveted duty free tender spanning 27 airports in Aena’s Spain network have met solvency requirements and now progress to the bidding phase, the landlord confirmed today (8 February).

As reported, Lagardère Travel Retail, Gebr. Heinemann, Aer Rianta International, Dufry, Bahrain Duty Free, Hotel Shilla, Setur Duty Free, GMR Airports (India), China Duty Free Group and DFA-owned UETA signified their intent last month.

They join Smartseller, Carnariensis and DF, to bring the total to 13 operators from 10 major companies.

Candidates have now been given 12 weeks to lodge submissions for the six lots on offer, with the deadline running until 3 May.

In a statement, Aena noted: “The bidding process strategy aims to maximise the value of this business line by reaching more customers and boosting global sales; to attract the largest number of international operators to bid for the different lots (establishing rules that avoid empty lots being awarded); to diversify the business (expanding product categories and services); to adapt to changing trends that are occurring in both passenger type and the model; and to incorporate and support the development and implementation of new technologies and digitisation.

“These objectives, aimed at maximising revenue, are anchored by Aena’s fundamental pillars: sustainability, technology and customer experience. In addition, the impact of Brexit has been taken into account, as it represents a major change in the business of Aena’s duty-free shops, since the duty free system predominates in almost all lots. It should be noted that British passengers represent Aena’s main market.”

The expected turnover over the course of the 12-year contract (plus three annual extensions), which covers 86 duty-free points of sale, plus a large number of additional premises dedicated to other categories across 66,000 square metres, is estimated at €18 billion.

Dufry’s current contract runs until 31 October 2023, with the new concessions set to begin in November.

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