After winning last month’s Spanish airports’ DF&TR tender, WDFG’s $134m upgrading and rebuilding programme at 26 airports has begun at Madrid and Barcelona.
WDFG parent company Autogrill expects total sales revenue across all 26 airports to generate €7bn ($9.3bn) over the seven-year contract period and it estimates that operations under the 21 renewed airport concessions – not counting the five newly included small airports under the new contract – will produce revenues of around €520m ($695m) in 2012.
Commenting on the early progress to date and speaking exclusively to The Business, Daniel Montero (pictured), WDFG’s Operations Director in Spain said: “We have started work at the beginning of the month on the renovations and the objective is to finalize these by the end of the year. Together with AENA [Aeropuertos Españoles y Navegación Aérea-Spanish Airports authority-Ed], we have a programme to ensure that passengers are not disturbed by the work and we aim to open the stores as soon as possible.”
Montero added that WDFG was not surprised to win all three lots up for tender: “WDFG went into the three tenders with the clear objective of winning each one. We have been operating duty free shops and travel retail operations in AENA-controlled airports since 1976 and obviously this has given us in-depth knowledge of Spanish airports and the travellers who use them.
WDFG: ‘ABSOLUTE CONFIDENCE…’
“In addition, we have absolute confidence in the solidity of our commercial offer and in the high degree of quality and innovation of our new commercial offer. All these factors when taken together allowed us to tackle the tender process with optimism and a great degree of enthusiasm.”
[Top image: Madrid Barajas Airport. Right: WDFG trading as ‘Aldeasa’ at Barcelona Airport – Spain’s second-largest airport in passenger traffic terms].
WDFG has put its cards on the table with its promise to pay AENA a minimum of €1,964m ($2,625m/$2.6bn) in rental income during the life of the concession contract. Montero comments: “The new situation after the tender is clearly an important challenge for the company. We feel however that in spite of the evident economic difficulties, we can optimize the commercial space with our partners at AENA and obtain the revenues we require. Obviously this is not a simple task, but working closely with the airport authority, we can increase the spend per passenger to levels similar to the best airports managed by WDFG.”
He continued: “It is important to point out that we will be implementing an ambitious business plan,” concludes Montero. “The commercial space will increase from the 33,000sq m we have now to 45,000sq m after the renovations; that is over 35% more space.
“The plan also includes the optimization of the use of available retail space, the introduction of more walk-through stores, a wider commercial offer with the addition of new brands, innovative digital marketing strategies as well as new strategies to improve the overall purchasing experience with entertainment at the point of sale.”