Aena launches ‘world’s largest duty free shop tender by turnover’

By Faye Bartle |

Aena’s Commercial and Real Estate Managing Director, María José Cuenda.

Aena’s Commercial and Real Estate Managing Director, María José Cuenda.

Aena has launched what it claims to be ‘the world’s largest duty-free shop tender by turnover’, the terms of which have been published today on the airport manager’s website.

The expected turnover is €18 billion and includes 86 duty-free points of sale, plus a large number of additional premises dedicated to other categories, which in total will occupy an area of 66,000 square metres – that’s equivalent in size to more than seven football pitches. 

“This tender has generated a great deal of excitement and has already sparked the interest of the main operators in the sector,” said Aena’s Commercial and Real Estate Managing Director, María José Cuenda, who was able to confirm interest in the presentation of the basic outline of the strategy made during the TFWA World Exhibition and Conference in Cannes in October, which TRBusiness previously reported on.

The new tender will involve renewing the management of these commercial spaces at 27 airports in the Aena network, with the current contracts in force until 31 October 2023.

Aena held a previous briefing on the tender on 4 October at the TFWA World Exhibition & Conference in Cannes.

The bidding specifications include a greater number of lots, with the total doubling to six compared to the three in the previous tender, and with a sufficient size for economies of scale to be developed.

This, says Aena, fulfils one of its main objectives to ‘boost clientele and promote competition’. 

Furthermore, the duration of the contract has been substantially increased, rising from seven to 12 years, with the option of three annual extensions.

Aena has highlighted that this responds to an ‘important request from the operators’, to ‘benefit the depreciation of the investments’. 

According to the statement just released, the tender strategy also aims to: maximise the value of this business line by reaching more customers and boosting global sales; attract the largest number of international operators to bid for the different lots (establishing rules that avoid empty lots in the award); diversify the business (expanding product categories and services); adapt to changing trends that are occurring in both passenger type and the model; and incorporate and support the development and implementation of new technologies and digitisation.

TRBusiness June/July 2022 e-zine.


These revenue maximising objectives are anchored by Aena’s key pillars: sustainability, technology and customer experience.

The impact of Brexit has been taken into account, with the terms representing ‘a major change in the business of Aena’s duty free shops’, with the duty free system predominating in almost all lots (British passengers represent Aena’s main market).

The result of the tender is expected to be published in July 2023, after being ratified by Aena’s Board of Directors. 

Read our cover interview with María José Cuenda in our June/July 2022 e-zine. 

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