Finnair sells up to World Duty Free Group (WDFG) at Helsinki

By Kevin Rozario |

Finnair Travel Retail is selling its airport shop business to World Duty Free Group giving the latter control of the core travel retail operations at Helsinki Airport (HEL) in Finland – where WDFG plans to be fully operational from January 2015.


The airline has signed an agreement for the sale of part of its retail subsidiary, and the deal – worth €13m ($17.4m) to Finnair’s 2014 result (before taxes) – is expected to close in the fourth quarter.


“This transaction is a part of Finnair’s restructuring programme in which Finnair aims to focus on its core airline business,” says Finnair’s Chief Commercial Officer Allister Paterson (below). “We believe World Duty Free Group offers a good home for the experienced team transferring from Finnair.”


Finnair Travel Retail falls within the hub carrier’s Aviation Services segment which also includes aircraft maintenance and the operations of Finncatering. The segment had revenue in 2013 of €196.3m ($263.4m) a -38.6% fall due to a big outsourcing move over the period and the transfer of Finnair Catering operations [not the same as Finncatering] to LSG in August 2012.


Finnair Travel Retail currently operates the Finnair tax free shop and the arrival shop at Helsinki Airport. In addition, the company operates inflight and pre-order sales on Finnair flights which is not part of the WDFG deal.


Finnair Travel Retail employs approximately 70 employees in total. The deal includes the transfer of about 60 of Finnair Travel Retail’s employees to World Duty Free Helsinki Ltd as existing employees.


In November 2013 World Duty Free Group signed a long-term agreement with Finavia to operate 11 stores at Helsinki Airport.

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