INTERNATIONAL. The Duty Free World Council (DFWC) has thrown its support behind an Airports Council International (ACI) World document calling for measures to support airports and their retail partners.

The Policy Brief, Path To The Airport Industry Recovery ─ Restoring a Sustainable Economic Equilibrium, draws attention to the 44% of airport revenues that comes from non-aeronautical sources and the crucial role duty free plays in the growth of airports around the world.

The document from ACI says a boost in duty free sales will help the wider aviation sector in its recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. It calls for:

  • A temporary relaxation of duty free limits to stimulate sales and consequently help airports generate revenues from retail concessionaires
  • The introduction of arrivals duty free in all countries to level the playing field with countries that already have duty free on arrival in place

DFWC President Sarah Branquinho said: “We are delighted to see the central role of duty free and travel retail sales highlighted in this latest ACI Policy Brief, and the call for increased allowances and arrival shopping which would provide a much-needed boost to our industry and to the airport sector.

“Throughout much of the COVID-19 outbreak, airports and travel retail have stood against the worst of the conditions, often without government support. Now is the time for governments around the world to put in place the operating conditions that give airports and travel retail the best possible chance at recovering swiftly and returning to their role as major contributors to economic growth and job creation.”

ACI World Director General Luis Felipe de Oliveira added: “Airports recognise the importance of commercial activities, such as retail and duty free, in diversifying their revenue streams beyond aeronautical sources, but stimulating commerce at airports goes beyond the industry bottom line in the current crisis.

“In fact, ensuring that the travelling public has greater choice and convenience in their purchases goes hand in hand with rebuilding passenger confidence. Most importantly, changes to tax free shopping also represent a needed lifeline for the millions of jobs in the travel retail space and broader aviation ecosystem, industries which have been most affected by the lockdown and subsequent downturn.”