Travel retailer Gebr. Heinemann has praised the resilience of joint-venture partner JR/Duty Free in Israel in terms of how it has coped with the impact of the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic and dealt with the latest bout of conflict with Palestine.
The latest outbreak of violence between Israel and Palestine commenced on 10 May 2021, a few days after Palestinians began protests in East Jerusalem over an anticipated Supreme Court decision to expel Palestinian families from their homes. A ceasefire finally came into effect on 21 May 2021.
At one stage, incoming passenger flights were being diverted from Tel Aviv Ben Gurion Airport to Ramon Airport outside Eilat in the South to minimise the exposure of civilian air travel to rocket fire amid the conflict. Departing flights are understood to have continued throughout.
Responding to a question from TRBusiness at the recent Gebr. Heinemann press conference which took place virtually, Raoul Spanger, Chief Operating Officer, Gebr. Heinemann commented: “The situation was really dangerous, but thankfully for our partners and the citizens of Israel things have calmed down.
“Despite everything, the airport was maybe only closed for a couple of hours. The Israeli people are very tough and continued to travel.”
MAIN JR/DUTY FREE STORE NOW TRADING
Amid the recent round of conflict, the main JR/Duty Free store at Tel Aviv Ben Gurion International Airport Terminal 3 resumed trading on 11 May 2021 after being closed for 14 months due to the impact of Covid-19.
The James Richardson and Gebr. Heinemann joint venture secured the 10-year liquor, tobacco perfume and cosmetics and confectionery contract covering Terminal 1 and Terminal 3 at Tel Aviv Ben Gurion in 2017.
Spanger remarked: “We have now reopened our main store at the airport and have security measures in place in partnership with the airport authority to ensure everyone is protected.”
He added: “There are not too many destinations to fly to at present, but they will build this back up. The people in Israeli are tough and keeping things going.”
Meanwhile, vaccinated individual tourists could be allowed to enter the country from 1 July. According to multiple local media reports only vaccinated travellers — and not those who have recovered from Covid-19 — will be allowed to enter the country. Vaccination certificates along with negative PCR tests would also be required in order to board flights.