is born

By Doug Newhouse |

Former Philip Morris duty free executive Mick Dawidowicz has formed which promises to transform airline retail offers in a market said to be worth $25.9bn.



Dawidowicz describes himself as a 17-year old veteran of the business who has formed this new company with colleagues Ron Banks (formerly RJR Europe) and Tom Garrahan (ex-Saatchi & Saatchi etc) and all maintain that airlines are currently losing out on a big retail opportunity.


They maintain that from 2000 to 2010 the global air travel retail business grew by 150% to $25.9bn, although the airline share of that fell from 14% to 10%.


Over the same period they claim that airline sales per passenger grew from $0.86 to $1.03, or +19.8%, although this was actually a decline in real terms. Simultaneously airport sales have grown from $6.40 to $9.25, or +44.5% per passenger.


Quite rightly, the company points out that the onboard airline retail offer continues to be ‘an afterthought in the traveller’s mind’ and this is why it believes it has an opportunity with what it describes as: ‘an integrated solution designed to make airline duty free and travel retail a more dynamic, more engaging shopping experience for passengers – before they even fly.’


(Left to right: Mick Dawidowicz, Tom Garrahan and Ron Banks).

To achieve this, apparently uses an advanced online pre-purchase platform and combines it with sophisticated CRM and merchandising techniques to drive sales. It also works with airlines and brands to optimize and target product offers to specific passenger groups – helping them identify the best deals, while providing passengers with a single, branded experience across multiple airlines, with instant check out and customer service support.



Airline customers register with which then creates and agrees a personalized presentation for that airline. Prior to the flight, markets and sells to passengers via the internet and then send sales order information directly to the airline’s operations team.


The ordered purchases are then packed in shopping bags, along with copy invoices and delivered to passengers during the normal duty free service, after which the operations team confirms the order delivery. The company then sends the airline the money within seven days minus its commission.


The partners’ presentation claims that this new service effectively engages passengers before they fly [as opposed to not at all in most other instances-Ed] with ‘compelling and dynamic shopping propositions’. It also aims to leverage the growing consumer trend of online shopping/browsing to identify good deals – with an added bonus that the remote transaction process also protects airlines against credit card fraud.’s presentation points out that online shopping now accounts for more than 8% of all retail sales in the EU and in key countries like the UK, France, Germany and the Nordic countries that percentage is ‘well above 14%’. Online retail sales are also posting double-digit growth in Asian countries and many parts of Europe.



The new company will be present at next week’s TFWA World Exhibition in Cannes, with Mick Dawidowicz pointing out that the founding partners have a collective wealth of experience in the travel retail business, in traditional and digital consumer marketing and advertising, e-commerce, and customer engagement.


The partners can be contacted at: [email protected]; [email protected]; and [email protected].


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