UPDATE: Tallinn Airport and Baltona unveil new stores

By Andrew Pentol |


Piret Mürk-Dubout, Tallinn Airport Chairman of the Management Board, CEO and Baltona Duty Free CEO Piotr Kazimierski pose outside the new 800sq m walkthrough departures store which officially opened yesterday (21 June).

Estonia’s Lennart Meri Tallinn Airport and Poland’s Baltona Duty Free officially opened yesterday (21 June) the new 800sq m walkthrough duty free store.

TRBusiness, the only DF&TR media in attendance, joined representatives from Baltona, Tallinn Airport and various other airports from across Poland at this lavish event which included Estonian jazz and soul singer Sofia Rubina Hunter.

Speeches from Piret Mürk-Dubout, Tallinn Airport, Chairman of the Management Board, CEO and Piotr Kazimierski, CEO Baltona Duty Free preceded a ribbon-cotton ceremony inside the new store. This included Estonian national dancing from a group of local performers.

Dubout said: “We are pleased to enter into partnership with Baltona Duty Free after a meticulous planning process to upgrade the duty free retail facilities at Tallinn Airport.

“The ‘cosiest airport’ is currently undergoing significant changes and we believe that this new retail configuration will further enhance the positive shopping experience of our passengers.”

Kazimierski, who reflected on when Baltona unsuccessfully bid for the concession five or six years ago added: “I remember when we bid for this concession for the first time. We were only successful last year.

“I am very happy, not only because we won, but because we overcame strong competition. We are happy that we have been able to work with the airport and with The Design Solution on this project.”

The store, which began trading on 1 January 2018 features all the traditional core category products such as tobacco, perfumes and cosmetics, confectionery and liquor, along with fashion accessories and jewellery.


An extensive fashion offer features leading brands such as Furla and Coccinelle.

A range of local specialities include fine foods, souvenirs and traditional Estonian products.

London-based travel retail specialist The Design Solution, which was represented by Director, Nick Taylor at the event, has done an excellent job creating a strong sense of Estonian culture by incorporating local themes, reflecting the country’s dense forest areas.

He told TRBusiness: “The main thing to be proud of is the way the end product has been faithful to the original design. What we sold as a design to Baltona and they sold to the airport has absolutely been delivered on.

“This is comparable in terms of delivering a sense of place with anything we have done at the big Asian airports where we have had bigger spaces to work in.”


The ribbon-cutting ceremony took place inside the store in Tallinn yesterday.

He added: “Obviously this is not massive as a space itself, which made the project more challenging.”

In his earlier speech, Taylor focused on the design concept in more detail. He commented: “When we started coming up with designs for the stores, we very quickly found that Estonia is a nation in love with the outdoors and has a real sense of adventure.

“Our concept for the stores came from these human emotions, coupled with the idea of cosiness and the concept of the ‘enchanted forest’ was borne. We wanted the store design to sprinkle a little bit of Estonian magic into the passenger’s day–a seamless journey punctuated with moments of delight and relaxation.

“To do this, we started to look at ways we could create small lounge spaces anchoring each category heart. These became warm and soft cocoons where passengers can relax and connect with the exterior through glazed sections of façade.


Nick Taylor, The Design Solution, Director, raises a glass to a job well done in Tallinn.

“We developed a natural palette of light timbers, with birch and plywood edged detailing and local furniture and found objects will feature throughout. In parallel, there is never a doubt in our mind that every one of these 800 square metres has to perform commercially or else we have failed.”

The seven-year contract, which Flemingo-International owned Baltona secured last March, also includes two last-minute outlets for transfer and non-Schengen passengers, totalling around 180sq m. The contract itself began in the first quarter of 2018.

Speaking to TRBusiness after the ceremony Kazimierski said: “We are extremely proud of the new stores but even more happy and glad because if you look at the uniqueness of the airport, it very much suits our strategy.


The confectionery area in the new Baltona departures store.

“We are very happy that we won the contract in 2017 because we were ready to win. We grew and developed our knowledge about how destination airports should be serviced and what they deserve.

“That is one of the reasons we joined forces with The Design Solution which are an excellent design company and not content with mediocrity.

“There is top quality all around and I honestly think it is not only me who will be really happy but the passenger as well.”

Baltona runs airport duty free businesses in nine countries, seven of which are in Poland (Wrocław, Poznań, Katowice, Kraków, Rzeszów, Modlin and Bydgoszcz).

The opening of the stores is part of of a €127m ($147.8m) development programme at the airport which includes the expansion and re-construction of the airside traffic area, extension of the runway from 3.070m to 3,480m and replacement of the runway cover. This was completed in 2017.



TRBusiness joined guests at yesterday’s grand opening.

Last year the airport handled 2.65m passengers, an increase of 19% on the previous year. Its top-five destinations are Helsinki, Stockholm, Frankfurt, Riga and Moscow Sheremetyevo. Nordica, airBaltic, Finnair, Lufthansa, Ryanair and SAS are its key airline customers.

Looking back at the duty free redevelopment project Dubout told TRBusiness: “It has been an extensive project just to ensure the customer experience is how we visualised it.

“We worked hard on the customer journey and worked with Baltona on the concept to emphasise Estonian features and to ensure the design showed some of the elements we are proud of in Estonia.”

Stay close to TRBusiness.com and future issues of TRBusiness for extensive interviews with Piret Mürk-Dubout, Tallinn Airport Chairman of the Management Board, CEO and Baltona Duty Free CEO Piotr Kazimierski.


The new 800sq m Baltona Duty Free store at Tallinn Airport features all the traditional core duty free categories.

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