Dubai’s ‘district’ design still evolving says Eugene Barry

By Charlotte Turner |

Eugene-Barry-Dubai-Airports-leadDubai Airports, EVP Commercial, Eugene Barry told Charlotte Turner in Cannes last year, what it takes to maintain a ‘world class’ airport and how to satisfy the basic needs of such a large volume of passengers – DXB is the world’s busiest for international traffic with 250,000 served a day – whilst also delivering the best customer service.


“Our emphasis right now is improving the passenger journey through the airport and I think a lot of what we do, whether it’s commercial or non-commercial, is improving the ambience first of all…and then getting more and more into what passengers are asking for,” said Barry.


When asked about Dubai Airports’ commercial offer, Barry emphasised that its retail partners are under additional competitive pressures as the operator serves a huge number of connecting/transfer passengers, which means their customers may have already shopped at their airport of origin.


“Connecting travellers certainly have different needs,” reiterated Barry. “They have probably been exposed to a retail offer on their journey before they arrive at Dubai Airport, so it’s important for us as that second airport in their journey to have a mix which is frequently updated and which is relevant to their needs at that moment in time, which means competing with global players at other airports. So that relevance for us is very important.”


Barry explained that this doesn’t necessarily mean delivering just the well-known international brands, but allowing more niche or small brands to shine, if appropriate.



Barry also said that Dubai Airports might ask those powerhouse or ‘hero’ brands to present themselves in a different fashion; pushing the boundaries between retail and food, retail and entertainment or retail and hospitality.


Watch the video to discover more about how the airport operator has redesigned its layout and commercial offer by districts (signalled in part by the arrival of High Street fashion brand H&M) and what role speciality retailers and travel essentials brands will play for the airport – in addition to Dubai Duty Free – going forward…


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