Auckland Airport on building a duty-free area of the future

  • News
  • February 18, 2016
  • Elly Strang
Auckland Airport on building a duty-free area of the future

In January, Auckland Airport announced a major upgrade to its international departure area as part of its 30-year vision to build an airport of the future.

The revamp will almost double the size of the already existing processing zone, passenger lounge and retail hub.

The terminal’s first floor retail and food and beverage leased area after the security gates will grow by about 65 percent in size.

These will be the first drastic changes to the airport’s international terminal in a while, as the biggest change as of recent has been the shop reshuffle in the past year.

Aelia Duty Free and The Loop Duty Free replaced the longstanding duty free retailers DFS and JR Duty Free, while New Zealand brands Saben and Ruby moved in, as did watch label Casio G-Factory.

General manager of retail and commercial Richard Barker says the upgrade plan is to create a differentiated retail proposition from any airports overseas that showcases the best of New Zealand products, as well as food and beverage.

“That’s the vision, it won’t come to life fully until the end of 2017.”

He says the orientation of the terminal will fundamentally change, as will the design and retail mix.

“It’ll be a much lighter, brighter open area with really good architecture,” Barker says.

“Along with a completely new food and beverage offer and new brands and experiences that will change airport shopping in New Zealand.”

Auckland Airport chief executive Adrian Littlewood said the design will be themed around New Zealand’s natural beauty and cultural heritage.

The airport has brought on board a mixture of local and international designers, with American architects Gensler to work alongside New Zealand architects, Jasmax.

Gensler is responsible for designing Topshop and Topman at The Grove in LA, terminals 2 and 3 at San Francisco International Airport and Facebook’s headquarters.

Jasmax has designed Lambton Square Shopping Centre in Wellington and The Sugar Club in the Sky Tower.

Barker says they’re looking globally for inspiration, including the likes of Changi Airport and Singapore, as Gatwick Airport in England and Amsterdam Airport Schipho for retail ideas.

He says they’ve already started the process of looking for tenants and there’s a lot more interest than there is space available.

“Our aim is to start to lock those retailers down from the middle to second half of this year. We’ve got about 12 months to finalise design, fit-out, and then get them up and trading.”

The mix they’re looking at is a combination of local retailers and international retailers that have little exposure in New Zealand, he says.

These will range from high-end brands, similar to what’s occurring in the lower end of Queen St, he says, all the way to the other end of the spectrum.

“Were also looking at fast fashion, as we want to make sure there’s something pretty much for every customer to buy.”

Other design features include a range of different seating zones and a kids play zone.

Littlewood says the focus is on making the design intuitive and user friendly in order for passengers to have a great experience.

The first phase of the international terminal will be open November 2016, with the full expansion finished by early 2018.

Read part one of the interview with Richard Barker here.

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