BAHRAIN. Gulf Air Group Holding (GFG) and Bahrain Duty Free Shop Complex (BDFS) have signed a joint venture agreement governing the core duty free shopping offer at Bahrain International Airport’s (BIA) new terminal.

The Passenger Terminal Building (PTB), which is being built as part of the US$1.1 billion Airport Modernisation Programme (AMP), is scheduled to open next year.

Bahrain Duty Free is a public quoted company managed by Aer Rianta International-Middle East.

The retailer has renewed its management contract numerous times with Bahrain Duty Free and is negotiating with a view to continuing the arrangement at the new terminal.

The agreement between GFG and BDFS will see the establishment of a new joint venture under the name of Bahrain Duty Free Company (BDFC). This entity will invest in approximately 3,300sq m of shopping space in both the departures and arrivals areas of the new terminal.

The agreement, signed by GFG Chairman, the Minister of Transportation and Telecommunications, Kamal bin Ahmed Mohammed; and BDFS Chairman, Farouk Almoayed, will give BDFS a 55% stake in the airport’s core duty free business, with GFG holding 45%.

Bahrain Airport Company, represented by its CEO Mohamed Yousef Al Binfalah, signed a 15-year concession with the newly-established BDFC, represented by Bahrain Duty Free Shop Complex General Manager Bassam Al Wardi.

(Above and below) Bahrain Duty Free has run the core retail operations at Bahrain International Airport since 1990

The joint venture is in line with GFG’s strategic objectives to enhance the aviation sector’s contribution to the local economy. This in turn reflects Bahrain’s Economic Vision 2030, the minister explained. “The formation of this company marks a notable milestone for GFG’s aviation investment strategy,” he said. “By increasing our investment in BIA’s duty free offerings, we are not only supporting local businesses, but also ensuring that the aviation sector becomes a catalyst for further growth in commerce and retail.

Bahrain Airport Company aims to transform the traveller experience once it opens the new terminal

“We are confident that passengers travelling through the new terminal will discover a truly transformed retail experience.”

Almoayed said: “We are delighted to enter into this new joint venture with GFG. This public-private partnership business model brings together the expertise required to deliver a world-beating duty free offering to passengers at BIA’s new terminal.

“On behalf of BDFC, we are proud to sign this heads of terms agreement with BAC for the operation of core categories at BIA’s new passenger terminal building. We truly believe that our 27 years of expertise in this area will help us ensure that we continue to deliver a first-class shopping experience to every passenger travelling through the new passenger terminal.”

Al Binfalah said: “This new heads of terms agreement with BDFC replaces the previous one and signifies another success story for BAC’s commercial team. We are pleased to enter into this partnership with BDFC and look forward to working with them over the next few months to define a new and elevated travel retail experience for passengers as we continue our efforts to conclude agreements with other tenants and service providers at the new terminal building.”

The signing ceremony was also attended by other board members of GFG and BDFS and members of the BAC and BDFS management teams.

Note: As revealed by The Moodie Davitt Report, Bahrain Airport Company is seeking partners to manage the pharmacy units and the convenience, tobacco and news (CTN) concession in its new terminal. Click here for tender details.