Tourvest to launch with BA

By Doug Newhouse |

South African based in-flight retail concessionaire Tourvest Duty Free (TDF) has confirmed that it has formally completed the signing of its exclusive agreement to supply and manage the British Airways inflight retail business. This confirms TREND’s earlier report in January, following the circulation of a communiqué to suppliers from BA Retail Manager Nigel Smith.

As Tourvest rightly says, British Airways (BA) is one of the most respected inflight retailers within the industry and the company says it is ‘extremely proud’ to be associated with such a high-profile business which ‘naturally compliments’ the South African company’s existing portfolio of legacy airline customers. 

Tourvest adds that BA has confirmed that TDF will launch its new inflight retail programme on November 1, 2011 across its fleet of 229 aircraft, serving both short haul and long-haul destinations.

TDF CEO Selwyn Grimsley commented: “We are delighted to have been appointed by British Airways to manage such a prestigious inflight retail business. The BA business adds further scale and value to our already successful and growing business outside of Africa. 

“Our dynamic UK based team is working well with the BA team headed up by Nigel Smith (BA In-flight Retail Manager) and we very much look forward to launching the new programme on the 1st November”. 

Nigel Smith added: “After a very thorough evaluation process, we made the decision to outsource and appoint TDF to manage our in-flight retail business. TDF’s proven track record and vision will enable BA to enhance its retail offer across new sales channels, whilst adding value to the overall customer experience. 

“We are extremely excited about entering into this new phase with TDF who will no doubt exceed our expectation in terms of revenue and service delivery”.

COMMENT: As we commented last January, the world’s second biggest inflight duty free programme at British Airways – and arguably one of the best – has been under review as far back as June 2010 when rumours were circulating that BA might take a serious look at outsourcing the business. [At that time BA spokesperson Amanda Allan told Generation/TREND that the airline was not outsourcing inflight retail-Ed].

According to Generation Research, BA’s inflight business was worth an estimated $128.4m in 2009 (-13.5% on 2008 in US dollar terms: +2.5% in £), placing it second among the world’s airlines behind Korean Air at $170m, but ahead of Thomson Airways (UK) at $112m and Thomas Cook Airlines Scandinavia at $103.6m.

As we’ve written before, BA’s programme is acknowledged as one of the best in the world and Tourvest is also a good inflight retailer, which currently operates Virgin Atlantic’s inflight concession out of its bonded warehouse at Gatwick. Tourvest also operates the inflight concessions with South African Airways, Kenya Airways, Interair and South African Express.

Tourvest Duty Free has also won various awards in the past, including the Frontier Award for Inflight/Marine Retailer of the year in 2009 and it was also the joint recipient of the ISPY Best Product Merchandising Award at Virgin Atlantic in the same year.

The recent resolution of the long-running dispute between BA’s cabin crew union Unite and BA management over terms and conditions will obviously be welcomed by all parties:″



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