Abu Dhabi duty free gets a new look

The refurbished duty free complex.

A comprehensive renovation and expansin programme at the Abu Dhabi Duty Free (ADDF) is nearing completion, giving a major boost to the UAE capital's airport.

The multi-million dollar programme will result in total retail space of 4,500 sq met spread over two floors of the airport and include 50 brand name boutiques occupying 20 specialty shops.

Abu Dhabi airport handled 1.86 million passengers in the first six months of 2001, an increase of four per cent over the corresponding period in 2000.

"The increase in passenger numbers has been aided to a great extent by the growing tourist facilities in Abu Dhabi. We are determined to improve and further upgrade services and facilities to cater to our ever growing number of visitors," said Jennifer Walsh, ADDF's public relations officer.

To achieve the highest standards of retail design and innovation, Abu Dhabi Duty Free has associated with Raylian London Ltd, a design group with exceptional standing in retail design. Raylian are at the forefront of groundbreaking concept work in this field and offer a unique understanding of both retailing and marketing, said Walsh.

The expansion project is being executed in three phases, the first phase was completed by the end of 1999, covering the Island Shop and the Gift International Shop, whilst the second phase was completed in 2000, covering the Arrivals shop, Landside shop and Vision 2000 electronics shop. Phase three covers the Beverage and Tobacco shop and the Upper Level concourse shops.

The Island Shop has been re-designed to take the form of two circles around the central architectural pillar of the satellite, the Island Gold and Watches shops creates a spectacular visual feast.

Clever design strategy has evolved a concentric format offering double sided counters on a monorail system, the inner shape to host gold jewellery and the outer shape to host watches and fashion jewellery products.

The renovation of the Gift International shop invites the shopper to a uniquely entertaining environment. Based around a floor area of 210 sq m, the shop offers a 'Yellow Brick Road' of discovery as its central layout theme.

Strong branded product displays and generic design icons offer a rewarding progression through the shop's open and accessible layout.

Reflecting the ever changing and exciting world of consumer electronics, Vision 2000 phase projects a sensational retailing vista.

Vision 2000 carries the latest developments in all categories of electronics and each is clearly displayed by product type to provide informative and pleasurable shopping.

A dynamic and colourful design that focuses on the products, the arrival shop features strong decorative panels to draw the attention of arriving passengers.

The shop provides a contrasting relief from the formality of this section of the airport and offers an excellent range of goods. There is also a mobile unit designed to optimise the sales potential around the main airport building.

The Landside units are open to non-airport public and create a multi-purpose, multi-unit design. They are built to an open and accessible format, creating a visually bright and inviting shopping environment. These units offer a spontaneous shopping experience for all visitors to Abu Dhabi airport.

In the third phase, the renovations to the Liquor and Tobacco shop have created a vivacious and welcoming area, allowing the travelling customer efficient access to both new and familiar merchandise.

Besides the duty free expansion, Abu Dhabi airport is continually improving the facilities and services it offers the travelling public.

In 1999, it opened the Middle East's first city terminal, making travelling out of Abu Dhabi airport a pleasant experience for passengers.

Passengers can check in at the City Terminal up to eight hours before their flight and arrive at the aiport just 35 minutes before the scheduled departure time.

Facilities available at the City Terminal include a VIP lounge, a fully-equipped business centre and showers among others.

There are now 11 airlines using the City Terminal: Gulf Air, Air France, British Airways, China Air, Egypt Air, Qatar Airways, Sudan Airways, Swiss Air, Lufthansa, Air India and Royal Jordanian.

The airport complex includes a 19-room hotel which offers a five-star restaurant able to seat 50 people, a comfortable lounge with a bar and massage chairs, a health club, business centre as well as a children's play area.

As part of the airport expansion programme, the hotel will be expanded to 40 rooms and a separate snooze area for passengers.

The airport also offers a "Golden Class" service which provides first or business class style without the price. It offers a comprehensive Meet and Assist service and access to the VIP lounge, business centre and health club.

And for transit passengers with a bit of time on their hand, there is also 18-hole, par 71 sand course only 500 metres from the terminal building, a world first.