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January 15, 2007 - Bratislava airport appoints Gebr Heinemann (again) in Slovakia
SLOVAKIA. Gebr Heinemann has renegotiated a deal with the new board of directors at Bratislava airport to operate the duty-free and duty-paid retail space
It signed a new concession agreement for the existing three premises totalling 173sq m (1,861sq ft) after persuading the board not to manage the retail operations in-house. The decision to re-appoint Heinemann comes after sources indicated that “the board realised the sheer scale of overseeing the retail offer themselves”, although details of the contract terms were unavailable as DFNI went to press.
Heinemann began operations at Bratislava this month and the agreement includes an option to increase the existing sales area related to the expected growth in passengers, which looks promising (see table). Passenger levels have increased from 1.3m in 2005 to 1.6m in 2006 and international passengers accounted for 95.2% of traffic in 2005.
Heinemann’s patient approach has paid dividends and it has now secured the prize in which 24 rival operators registered interest. One industry source told DFNI: “Announcing the tender was unnecessary as most of the well-known operators in Europe were keen to participate. It was to be expected that Heinemann claimed the contract as one of the biggest operators in the region.”
Former incumbent Helitrade ceased trading at the airport on November 30 and director Eva Svecova will join Heinemann to oversee the airport stores. Helitrade will continue to run downtown operations and a replacement is likely to be appointed from within the Helitrade team.
Elsewhere in Eastern Europe Heinemann is likely to be working hard to gain retail space at the developments at Warsaw Frederic Chopin and Wroclaw Copernicus airports.
Meanwhile, in Southern Europe the renewal of its supply contract in Macedonia, where its one-year contract is due to expire shortly, will also be a challenge. But if the process of appointing a duty-free operator is as complicated as at Bratislava, Heinemann’s patient approach will be vital to negotiate contracts to the finishing line and beyond.