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Countdown Begins to June Opening of ARI’s airport shops in China

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The countdown has begun to the opening of Aer Rianta International’s (ARI’s) latest international frontier with the announcement that Kunming International Airport will commence operations on June 28, in less than 100 days’ time.

ARI, a fully-owned subsidiary of DAA, the state-owned Irish Airports Authority, will operate up to 650 square meters of premium retail space across eleven separate shops at Kunming. The duty-paid stores represent the company’s first operational venture into the fast-growing travel retail sector in China and will sell a range of products in the fashion accessory, perfumes & cosmetics, confectionery, jewellery and souvenir categories.

“This is a key strategic development for ARI and helps establish an important Irish trading presence in this dynamic region of South West China.  The stores have been designed and fitted-out by our own specialist teams and will operate under our Irish travel retail brand, The Loop,” said Jack MacGowan, Chief Executive Officer of ARI, who is taking part in the four-day Trade Mission to China, led by An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny.

“The revenues and profits generated over time by this new contract and by all ARI’s  retail activities in Ireland and overseas contribute significantly to DAA’s investment in Irish airports and the maintenance of aviation-related jobs in Ireland.  We also use our stores to sell Irish products where we believe there is local demand,” he added.

ARI, which will employ over 90 local people at the new Kunming stores, led by a small Irish management team, recently appointed a dedicated Business Development Manager in China, John Woodhouse, to pursue other retail opportunities at Chinese airports.

“We have long-standing successful operations in eleven countries including Ireland, Canada, Cyprus and the Gulf Region and we employ over 3,500 people across the world. We have identified India and China as key growth markets and entered the Indian market two years ago. We are lead partners in a consortium operating the single largest duty free operation in that country, at Terminal 3 in Delhi” Jack MacGowan noted.

ARI first entered China in the 1990s when it provided retail consultancy services to Beijing and Hong Kong International Airports.  It secured the operational retail contract in Kunming last year, following the signing in 2010 of a Strategic Collaboration Agreement between Yunnan Airports Group, owners of Kunming International Airport, and the DAA. When it opens in June, the new Kunming airport will be the largest single terminal building in China with a capacity for up to 70 million passengers.

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