Dublin Airport Authority subsidiary Aer Rianta International has signed a contract to operate 11 retail outlets at Yunnan Airport Group’s new Kunming Changshui International Airport in China, which is due to open next January to replace the city’s existing airport. ARI will run separate duty paid stores selling branded skincare products, perfume and cosmetics, fashions items, accessories and other goods. The outlets will be ARI’s first in China.
ARI currently operates businesses in North America, the Caribbean, Europe, the Middle East and India. “This is a very significant strategic move for ARI, as it means we will be operating outlets in the fast-growing Chinese airport market for the first time,” said DAA Chief Executive Declan Collier. “The Chinese aviation market is experiencing phenomenal growth and we are very excited at the potential for further opportunities in China.”
Last summer, DAA signed a strategic collaboration agreement with the Yunnan Airport Group, which operates 11 airports in south-west China, and it is hoped that the deal to operate 11 stores at the new Kunming Changshui Airport will be the first of many partnerships between the two airport authorities.
The new Kunming Airport, which is currently under construction, is a world-class facility, capable of handling up to 70 million passengers per year. The airport has four runways and its new terminal will be the largest single terminal building in China. The new airport is expected to be China’s fourth largest after Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou.
“ARI has a proven track record in international airport retailing and we look forward to bringing that expertise and retail flair to passengers at the new Kunming Airport when it opens for business next year,” Mr Collier said. The new ARI venture will initially employ about 100 staff.
ARI’s move into China follows the company’s successful entry into the Indian duty free market. ARI’s Delhi duty free business opened in the new Terminal 3 at Indira Gandhi International Airport just over a year ago and has performed well during the past 12 months.
The existing Kunming airport, which will close when the new airport opens, is the seventh largest airport by passenger numbers in China. The new airport will handle about 24 million passengers in its first year of operation and passenger numbers are expected to double within the next five years.
The aviation market in China is expected to expand rapidly during the current decade. Total passenger numbers are forecast to increase from 266 million last year to 700 million in 2020, while the number of Chinese airports is expected to grow from 176 to 250 during the same period.