ADDF undergoes major expansion

The mushroom-shaped Abu Dhabi Duty Free.

Abu Dhabi Duty Free achieved a total revenue in 2002 of $77.6 million - an increase of 4 per cent over the previous year's figure.

The forecast for 2003 is optimistic with expected growth of around 10 per cent due to the renovation and expansion which has taken place lately as well as the many new promotional offers and marketing campaigns which the duty free has introduced.

According to officials from ADDF it has also increased airline operations, such as Thai Airways and Britannia, which has directly increased its business.

Official statistics revealed that a total of four million passengers used Abu Dhabi International Airport in 2002 - an increase of seven per cent over the previous year.

Abu Dhabi International Airport has a $600 million plan to double the size of the airport by 2006 with a second satellite. Meanwhile, the existing facilities are being refurbished and expanded to match the style of the new airport, including the expansion of the airport hotel from 19 to 40 rooms, the installation of three new coffee shops under the international brand Café Ritazza, the installation of a piano bar, the addition of 20 new shops on the upper level and the expansion and refitting of all the shops on the lower level.

There are a total of 350 staff working in the duty free.

An official stated: "To run an efficient duty free, you have to have a strong collection of international brands. The international traveller these days is well aware of trends and brands as well as comparative prices. You need to have good merchandising and exotic displays, as well as understanding the customer's needs and offering a wide variety of products at competitive prices."

The top selling item in ADDF is reported to be gold jewellery, wine and spirits, and confectionery.

The average spend per passenger at ADDF in 2002 was Dh121 ($33) which makes Abu Dhabi one of the top ten airports in the world for passenger spend. The breakdown of passengers by nationality is as follows.

Asians make up 34 per cent of passengers at ADDF and their spending levels have increased by five per cent in comparison to 2001.

Europeans and western nationals represent 21.7 per cent of passengers and their spending levels have been maintained in line with last year.

GCC nationals make up 7.1 per cent of passengers while UAE nationals represent 4.5 per cent.

Nationalities from the Far East make up 6.9 per cent of total passengers.

According to officials, Abu Dhabi Duty Free was the first duty free in the gulf to introduce the concept of branded shops and boutiques, with top brands having dedicated spaces where their products are displayed together under a distinctive corporate design.

Mohamed Mounib, managing director, says "Our motto is 'Service before Profit' and we firmly believe in giving our customers a whole range of value-added services so that they will enjoy using our airport and come back to us again, according to the instructions of our chairman, HE Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mubarak Al Nahyan."

According to Mounib, ADDF's philosophy has paid off in the large number of awards that have been presented to them, the latest being from Frontier magazine. ADDF was awarded the prize for 'Best Marketing Campaign by a Retailer' for their innovative marketing and promotional ideas, including the launch of a new website, the ongoing and updated 'Be a Millionaire' raffle promotion, the introduction of an interactive magazine - Buzz - and a range of sponsorships and in-house promotions.