Heinemann upbeat as ‘greatest’ IST contract looms

By Luke Barras-hill |


Istanbul New Airport will have an initial capacity of 90 million. Source: İGA.

Gebr. Heinemann has divulged to TRBusiness unique insight into the cavernous retail footprint at Istanbul New Airport, which is set to open on 29 October.

Unifree Duty Free, in which Heinemann has a 60.8% stake, snared the 25-year duty free contract in 2015 and will preside over a gargantuan 53,000sq m of retail space.

“All of us – Gebr. Heinemann, Unifree as the duty free operator and of course the tenants – are looking forward to the beginning and we are doing work every day in order to open this great adventure […] at Istanbul,” Raoul Spanger, Executive Director Retail & HR, Gebr. Heinemann told TRBusiness in an exclusive interview.


Heinemann/Unifree Duty Free continue to work closely to design the ‘marketplaces of the future’, according to Raoul Spanger, Executive Director Retail and HR, Gebr. Heinemann.


A resplendent ‘Bosphorus’ area centrally located in the terminal building will act as the linchpin for the 53,000sq m shopping offer.

Processing all departing and transit passengers, the ‘central processor’ covers an area of 750×140 metres – the size of 15 football fields – with 36,000sq m of shopping space, 18,000sq m of which are dedicated to duty free shops and two Turkish bazaars.

Another 11,000sq m of duty free space features in arrivals, with pier and transfer shops accounting for a further 7,000sq m.

Five villages epitomise the spirit of the Bosphorus, each with their own identifies and marketplaces to improve the quality of dwell time.

These include the following:

Fashion Garden: premium, exclusive shopping area merchandising fashion and accessories targeted towards an international audience;

Family Palace: eschewed towards families with children’s gadgets, toys and childrenswear aligned with home textiles, tableware and giftware;

Luxury Hill: world-class luxury brands in fashion, jewellery, watches, leathergoods and lingerie aimed at high-income passengers;

Icon Bay: contemporary, progressive fashion and luxury for cosmopolitan travellers;

Style Beach: laid-back lifestyle fashion in a style-conscious environment predominantly aimed at travellers aged 15 to 45.

Spanger commented: “The welcoming atmosphere and elaborate design of the walkthrough concept invites passengers to stroll along the course and dwell in our retail spaces.

“We are faced with the challenge of being a convincing general tenant and master concessionaire (excl. F&B). “The industry mix is determined by the diversity of passengers carried by the globally-operating Turkish Airlines. In this, the quality of the passengers’ experience during their transit is of the utmost importance.”


Five distinct retail villages will express their own identities, unique range of products and marketplaces.


Operator İGA recently hosted an ‘İGA Retail Day’ for 100 leading retailers with expertise in technology, cosmetics, clothing, decoration, luxury consumer goods and food & beverage.

“Our most important priority is to make the passenger comfort and shopping experience perfect,” stated N. Mert Başar, Chief Commercial Officer of İGA Airport Operations. “To achieve this, we are cooperating with the largest retail brands of both Turkey and also the world and closing commercial deals.

“İstanbul New Airport will also be one of the most important platforms for the introduction of Turkish products and brands. Besides international brands, Turkey’s hero brands will also take their place at our airport and contribute to the promotion of our country.”

The airport, located 35km north of Istanbul over an area of 76.5 million square metres, is ‘94% complete’, according to Kadri Samsunlu, CEO and General Manager of İGA Airport Operations.

It is being built in four construction phases, with three runways and a passenger terminal geared towards handling 90 million in phase one.


Turkey’s recently re-elected President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan made Istanbul New Airport’s first-ever landing in June. Source: Presidency of the Republic of Turkey.

Nearly 100 airlines are poised to deliver a route network to more than 300 destinations.

Recently re-elected Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan touched down in an historic first passenger aircraft landing at the airport on 21 June.

A spectacular opening ceremony will take place on 29 October, ahead of flag carrier Turkish Airlines’ (THY) first passenger flight to capital Ankara on 31 October.

THY will deploy 800 trucks to transfer its equipment and facilities from Istanbul Atatürk Airport, which is due to close at midnight on 31 October as passenger operations move to the new facility.

To view a fly-through of the new airport, click below (Source: IGA).

For the full interview and more detailed insight on the Gebr. Heinemann/Unifree Duty Free commercial offer, watch out for the October issue of TRBusiness. Click here to subscribe.



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