Duty-free operator eyes third airport

Duty-free operator eyes third airport

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet
Duty-free operator eyes third airport

Gebr. Heinemann operates the duty-free store in Istanbul Atatürk Airport with TAV. DHA photo

The German partner operator of Istanbul Atatürk Airport’s duty-free stores, Gebr. Heinemann, is seeking to operate the duty-free shops at the planned third airport in Istanbul as well.

“We know the passenger in Istanbul. We have an advantage, so we’re desirous of operating duty-free at the world’s biggest [airport],” says Claus Heinemann, co-chair of Gebr. Heinemann.

Gebr. Heinemann, one of the world’s three largest duty-free operators, is one partner of Unifree, while ATÜ, a subsidiary of Atatürk Airport’s operator, Turkish company TAV, is the other partner.

TAV Airports is among the candidates for the operational rights of the third airport to be built in Istanbul. A tender set to be held May 3 will award the rights.

“I believe TAV will win the tender, but I don’t know what we will do if it can’t. We have been together with TAV in Turkey for 13 years,” Heinemann said.

The German operator has a contract with TAV through 2021, Heinemann said, adding that his company is preparing to bid for duty-free operations at the new airport with TAV as well, as it is getting ready to grant a loan to ATÜ. It is hard to estimate the amount of investment, he added.

Heinemann also said Turks and Germans formed great partnerships as they complement each other’s strong and weak aspects and his company was looking at duty-free merchandising opportunities related to seaways and road projects. 

In addition to the rent cost totaling 3 billion Turkish Liras in 12 years, Gebr. Heinemann has paid 220 million euros worth of tax, he said. “So we don’t bring the money we earn back to Germany, and we leave a lot of income in Turkey.”

The new airport project comprises 40,000 square meters of store area.

The third airport’s passenger capacity is planned to gradually reach 150 million passengers, and its first phase is set to be completed by 2017. According to the latest reports, 17 firms have received the file of specifications for the airport tender.

The new airport’s construction is being rushed due to high occupancy in Atatürk Airport.