Dufry among winners in Sangster Airport tender

By Luke Barras-hill |

Sangster International Airport handled a record 4.7 million passengers in 2019.

MBJ Airports Limited has awarded Dufry three packages in a tender for 29 speciality retail and duty free stores at Sangster International Airport (SIA) in Montego Bay, Jamaica, TRBusiness can reveal.

The airport issued a request for proposals (RFP) in December for the spate of post-security units located in the departures terminal of the International Terminal Building (ITB).

The RFP was revised in February, with submissions originally due on 13 March ahead of an announcement of the winners on 24 April but the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic delayed the process.


Dufry secured convenience/travel & news (Hudson News), technology (Tech On The Go) and souvenirs concessions from a tranche of leases that included two lots for duty free jewellery and watches, one for high-end cigars and liquor and 26 speciality retail stores and kiosks.

The travel retail giant will now operate five stores throughout the terminal and continues to run the main duty free concession it has held for a number of years.

Bijoux, Chulani and Didd (XO Store) were among the other operators to emerge with licences.

All of the concession agreements, which run between two to six years, are currently being finalised. Shop spaces are due to be handed over to new concessionaires in October ahead of operations commencing in December.

Click to enlarge.

Sharon Hislop-Holt, Manager, Commercial Business Development and Marketing, MBJ Airports said: “One hundred and sixteen proposals were received and subjected to a robust evaluation process using the international benchmarks for design and product mix anchored by a core set of criteria.”

According to Hislop-Holt this “required future operators to create store aesthetics infused with a strong sense of place while creating meaningful experiences, not just an offer of products or brands”.

The successful partners will trade as part of SIA’s redesigned retail programme in line with a substantial and ongoing terminal expansion project to develop the passenger experience.

Beginning in March this year, the retail expansion and redevelopment programme features a US$12 million construction of 2,700sq m of newly built retail space, including a 12-metre high Rotunda double-height space, with a floor-to-ceiling curtain wall due to complete in March 2021.

As reported, The Design Solution was commissioned to devise a new commercial blueprint for the main terminal.

More than 4,000sq m of space is being renovated to create 15 retail units, offering extra space for passenger flows and orientation areas.

The enhanced commercial footprint is being designed mainly to accommodate the relocation of food & beverage offers, with Express Catering – the sole F&B post-security concessionaire – adding new concepts to its list of proprietary brands and internationally known franchises.

Sharon Hislop-Holt, Manager, Commercial Business Development and Marketing, MBJ Airports.


As mentioned, current duty free incumbent Dufry runs the main duty free concession offering liquor, tobacco, perfumes and other goods.

Juan-Antonio Nieto, General Manager, Caribbean, Dufry said: “Dufry Group is very excited to continue our strategic partnership with MBJ Airports at Sangster International Airport.

“Dufry is going to develop a new walkthrough concept with the best group practices regarding customer service and technology, and presenting the most recognised brands worldwide.

“Additionally, we will expand our commercial offer with the introduction of our well-known concepts such as the Hudson convenience and Tech on the Go speciality shops. This confirms our commitment to MBJ as the leading airport in the Caribbean.”

Montego Bay is the second largest city in Jamaica and, traditionally, a key tourist hotspot.

Gateway airport SIA, which is managed by MBJ Airports under a 30-year concession with the Airports Authority of Jamaica won in 2003, handled a record 4.7 million passengers in 2019.

The island reopened its borders to international tourists on 15 June and is handling approximately 25% of flights compared with 2019. The airport ordinarily handles more than 30 carriers serving more than 60 international destinations.

To cope with the restart, MBJ Airports has implemented elevated health and safety protocols covering areas such as communications, screening and sanitisation.

All passengers are required to wear a mask during the departures and arrivals process and all airport staff interfacing with the public will comply with the same.

Plexiglass protective barriers have been installed alongside hand sanitiser stations, touchless technology, with signage, announcements, stanchions and floor markings displayed throughout the terminal.

Specific protocols have also been introduced in the core duty free, food court and lounge areas such as prioritising single-use disposable products and spaced seating to comply with social distancing measures.

The request for proposals was the most substantial to be undertaken at the airport since 2003.

MBJ Airports remains in close dialogue with the Ministry of Health and Wellness to monitor and adjust, as necessary, all protocols.

In the near-term, MBJ Airports says it is ‘undaunted’ by the responsibility of driving SIA’s contribution towards Jamaica’s economic recovery and remains excited about the impacts of the renovation project on local enterprise and employment.

The phased expansion and redevelopment programme, which commenced in March, features 2,700sq m of newly built retail space with 4,000sq m under renovation.

The focus for the next six to eight months will be around offering support to existing concessions, maintaining construction guidelines and ensuring all shops are operational to maximise sales as passenger traffic restores, adds MBJ Airports.

Shane Munroe, CEO, MBJ Airports commented: “This is indeed an exciting time for us, as we seek new opportunities that will allow us to be in a better position while navigating and effectively responding to the prevailing conditions created by the current pandemic.

“MBJ remains committed to our passengers and all stakeholders as we continue to earn our title as Caribbean’s leading airport.”

MBJ Airports is run by Desarrollo De Concessiones Aerportuarieas, owned by Grupo Aeroportuario del Pacifico (GAP) of Mexico that has a 74.5% shareholding, and Vantage Airport Group that has a 25.5% shareholding.

All images courtesy of MBJ Airports. Video courtesy of MBJ Airports/The Design Solution.


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