Oslo Gardermoen Airport is planning to nearly double its duty free arrivals shopping area from 800sq m to 1,500sq m by June 2010, with the aim of opening up the store and improving customer flows
and transaction processing. Sales turnover from Oslo's duty free departure and arrivals shops is estimated to have amounted to more than $450m in 2008, making it Europe's largest single airport 'duty free' operation.
The duty free operation at Oslo Gardermoen is presently run by Travel Retail Norway, which is a joint venture between Gebr Heinemann and Esthetique Norge AS and the arrivals duty free store was only recently expanded from 600sq m to 800sq m earlier this month.
But even though international traffic has fallen at Oslo Airport in recent months, Director of Property and Commercial Development Espen Ettre told TREND that the arrivals shop is still performing very well, but he explained that next year's expansion is necessary – even on top of the recent significant enlargement – since the airport has identified that it is losing business where potential customers are put off by queues and congestion at peak times.
He said that the airport has now agreed a plan to secure the extra space needed by requesting that an existing customs facility be relocated.
Speaking to TREND at yesterday's 18th ACI Europe Trading Conference in Porto, Espen said he was very pleased with the progress of the operation and also happy to see that Oslo was shown to be the number one European airport for sales of travel retail Lanc?me products through global travel retail shops – adding that it was nice to get some recognition. This ranking was presented in one of the sessions by Philippe Goldman, General Manager Lanc?me TR EMEA, based on rankings provided to him and his company by travel retail operators.
On the subject of increased traffic prospects, Ettre said he was also encouraged by the recent news that Thai Airways is to begin a five-times-a-week non-stop service between Oslo and Bangkok from June 15 this year. He said this now takes Oslo into direct long-haul competition with some of the hub airports in neighbouring Nordic countries.
[Ed's note: The number of international passengers using Oslo Airport in 2008 increased by 225,502 or 2.2%, with scheduled traffic experiencing an increase of 3.4%, while charter traffic decreased by 5.8%. Meanwhile, according to the latest figures, international traffic declined by 14.4% in January, 15.5% in February and by 12.8% in March. A total of 19,344,459 passengers travelled through Oslo Airport in 2008].