InMotion, acquired by WHSmith in 2018, will operate the eight stores due to be vacated by Dixons Travel after it announced its decision to exit airport retail earlier this year.
Information on the length of the contract and the date of its commencement was not immediately available when TRBusiness approached Heathrow, although it is understood that the new operator will be transitioned in sometime in Q4 in line with expiration of the current lease.
FAITH REMAINS IN TRAVEL RETAIL ELECTRONICS
Fraser Brown, Director of Retail and Property at Heathrow said: “We’re absolutely delighted that our passengers will shortly be able to shop at InMotion – part of the WHSmith Group – across Heathrow’s terminals.
“This new partnership will ensure our passengers have access to the latest technology on offer, from one of the world’s leading tech retailers just as international travel takes off again.
“We are pleased that this commitment by InMotion has been taken, despite the extremely disappointing decision from the UK government to remove tax free shopping. This is testament to the confidence that international travel will recover and it is great news for our airport and passengers.”
Fraser Brown told TRBusiness in a recent interview that he had been incredibly impressed by the number and quality of [technology] tender responses the airport had received.
“It tells us that people are still confident in the medium term about travel retail as a whole, in technology as a sector in travel retail, and that Heathrow will recover quite quickly,” he told this publication.
TRIAL FOR FULLY VACCINATED ARRIVALS
In separate but related news, Heathrow yesterday announced a trial with British Airways and Virgin Atlantic concerning fully vaccinated passengers on selected flights from the US and the EU.
Under the scheme, travellers can present their Covid-19 credentials in digital or paper format to help prove to the government that vaccination statuses can be quickly and efficiently checked while allowing safe entry to the UK.
The trial comes amid pressure to relax rules on quarantining in the UK on arrival from Amber-list countries.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps is understood to be briefing ministers this morning on plans that could mean travellers who have received both Covid-19 vaccine doses will not have to quarantine for 10 days on arrival and take two Covid-19 tests as the rules currently require.
To read an exclusive interview with Fraser Brown, watch out for the Top 10 Annual Airports report in in the July/August e-zine, available soon.