ARI now in China

Travel retail company Aer Rianta International (ARI), a subsidiary of the Dublin Airport Authority, has opened its first airport stores in China.

The ARI shops comprise 650sqm of premium retail space across 11 separate stores are located in the post-passenger security area of the Changshui International Airport in Kunming, South West China.

Trading under the same ‘The Loop’ brand as ARI’s stores at Dublin, Shannon and Cork Airports in Ireland, the shops offer a wide range of duty paid products in the perfume and cosmetics, fashion accessory, jewellery, confectionery and souvenir categories. 

Overseas retail operators are currently constrained from selling duty free products or liquor at travel retail outlets in China.

ARI CEO Jack MacGowan said its entry into China is a key strategic development for ARI and DAA.

“We were involved in some consultancy contracts in China during the 1990s but we are now on the ground, for the first time, as retail operators in one of the world’s most dynamic economies and aviation sectors.”

The shops, which have been designed and fitted-out by ARI’s own team, also represent an important Irish trading presence in the fast-growing region of southwest China. 

“We are confident we can build from this operational base to secure additional contracts in this region and throughout China and a dedicated business development team is currently pursuing opportunities in this regard,” said MacGowan.

ARI’s shops at Kunming employ more than 90 local people led by a small Irish management team. They stock a broad range of international brands and include some new features for the travel retail sector in China such as a stand-alone shop within a shop for the Origins skin care brand.

According to Alan Magan, ARI GM, Kunming, perfumes and cosmetics will be the largest product category, followed by handbags and sunglasses.

ARI secured the Kunming retail contract in 2011 following the signing the previous year of a strategic collaboration agreement between Yunnan Airports Group, owners of Kunming Changshui International Airport and the DAA.

The new airport terminal at Kunming covers nearly 550,000sqm (more than five times larger than Dublin Airport’s Terminal 2 and boarding gate pier) and is the fourth largest airport building in China. 

The airport, which serves as a strategic hub for airlines serving South East Asia from China, will process about 24 million passengers this year. This is expected to rise to 38 million passengers by 2020. The airport has a design capacity of close to 70 million passengers and has four runways.


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