Duty Free Americas (DFA) has won a 5-year duty free contract at Ovda Airport in southern Israel, representing its first step into this market.
Ovda is the second-largest international airport in Israel and has been operated by the Israel Airports Authority since 1982, prior to which it was an air force base.
Yoram Shapira, Deputy Director General, Commerce and Business Development at the Israel Airports Authority (IAA) told The Business today he was very pleased with the development, albeit pointing to modest historic duty free sales of around $2m to $2.5m at the location.
“It is good and I think they wanted to take their first step and get a taste of operating in Israel,” he said, noting that DFA may also take a strong interest in the upcoming duty free concession at Tel Aviv Ben Gurion Airport which is going to tender in mid-January 2013.
Ovda is, of course, tiny compared with Tel Aviv Ben Gurion Airport and it is very much a tourist airport. As far back as 1988 a decision was taken whereby international flights bringing tourists to Eilat would land at Ovda instead of at Eilat.
According to the IAA, this facilitated the operation of large, wide-bodied craft, such as the 747, which could not operate from Eilat Airport. Since that time, the majority of international flights now land at Ovda instead of Eilat, with the runway allowing long-range flights to take off for most European destinations without the need to refuel.