Unifree to pay up to 500 million euros in rent for new Istanbul Airport duty free shops
Sefer Levent – ISTANBULUnifree Duty Free İşletmeciliği, the operator firm of the duty free areas in Istanbul’s to-be-built new airport, will pay rent up to 500 million euros per year to Istanbul Grand Airport (İGA), the operator, if the shopping facilities reach their full potential.
Unifree will start paying 300 million euros in rent and will pay 500 million in the following years, according to calculations made by examining the modelling in existing airports and customer-passenger ratios.
The agreement, which is one of the longest standing trade contracts in the aviation industry with a period of 25 years, was signed in January 2015.
Both İGA and Unifree declined to respond to daily Hürriyet’s request for comment on the financial terms of the deal.
The number of passengers at Istanbul Atatürk Airport was 61.3 million in 2015, of whom 67 percent were international and 33 percent domestic.
The rate of foreign passengers has been increasing steadily in recent years. The trend shows that the portion of international passengers may reach 70-75 percent by 2018, the projected date for the opening of the new airport in Istanbul.
Developers have declared the capacity of the new airport at 150 million people annually, with around 112 million international passengers.
Some 60 percent of the international flyers passing through the new airport would be considered transit passengers and half of these will be potential duty free shoppers.
Therefore, if the airport reaches full capacity there will be up to 56 million potential customers at duty free shops, spending an expected average of 20 euros per person.
In this event, Unifree would hit revenues of 1.12 billion euros, of which 45 percent would go on paying rent, resulting in revenue worth 504 million euros for İGA.
The Cengiz-Kolin-Limak-Mapa-Kalyoncu consortium, a joint venture of Turkish companies, won a tender for the third Istanbul airport in May 2013, promising to pay the state 22.1 billion euros, plus taxes, over 25 years starting in 2017. The İGA was then established to build the new airport.
Limak Holding Chairman Nihat Özdemir said Unifree had made investments worth 150 million euros for the six-sectioned duty free area, which will cover an area of 70,000 square meters.
“An investment that assembles more than 400 local and foreign brands under the same roof is taking place,” Özdemir told daily Hürriyet.