TURKEY. Unifree Duty Free and Heinemann yesterday unveiled five stores at the new Istanbul Airport, which is due to open fully on 3 March after an initial opening in October by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

The airport currently has the capacity to handle 90 million passengers per year and offers retail space of about 53,000 sq m. The five new shops collectively cover 8,000 sq m.

Unifree CEO Ali Şenher addresses delegates at the launch. (Photos: IGA)

Unifree CEO Ali Şenher said: We are delighted to commission the second phase of duty free zones today, after the first opening simultaneous with the airport on 29 October 2018. The size of the area, many significant domestic and international brands as well as the concepts we developed amounted to a hit project in the world and we established a duty free zone worthy of [Istanbul Airport].

Left to right: Unifree CEO Ali Şenher, IGA Istanbul New Airport CEO Kadri Samsunlu, General Directorate of Turkish Airport Authority (DHMI) General Manager Funda Ocak, Unifree Board Member Naci Sipahioğlu.

In addition to [a] rich variety of products, quality service is one of our main values. Our sincere expert sales team… will serve [customers] 24/7 to provide unforgettable memories to passengers coming from across the world.

The new duty free area features exclusive items.

IGA built and runs the airport. CEO Kadri Samsunlu saidWe are so delighted to have taken another major step in [the] journey of making Istanbul the global aviation centre. 

Today, we are commissioning [the] second phase of the duty free zone, which we describe as the soul of Istanbul Airport. We aim to provide an extraordinary and highly enjoyable travel experience to the passengers… It is our pleasure to realise the first step of this process in cooperation with Unifree.

International luxury items will be sold alongside goods from Turkish brands, showcasing the country’s products.

We will not only provide a service at Istanbul Airport but also promote our country and, most importantly, promote Istanbul. We are happy to gather strong domestic and international brands and people across the world in our commercial space.

The duty free area is said to take inspiration from the Bosphorus, the strait straddled by Istanbul that marks a traditional border between Europe and Asia. 

IGA Airport Management CEO Ibrahim Kadyam Samsunlu said he hoped to make Istanbul Airport “the world’s aviation centre”.

More than 1,000 domestic and international luxury brands will unite to create one of the world’s major travel retail destinations.

Luxury brands at the new airport will include Bottega Veneta, Bvlgari, Celine, Emporio Armani, Fendi, Ferragamo, Loro Piana, Louis Vuitton, Prada, Hermès and Saint Laurent.

Visitors were shown the new airport, which one day aims to serve 200 million passengers per year.

Leading Turkish fashion brands such as Vakko, Kemal Tanca, İpekyol, Brandy’s, B&G Store will also reportedly feature, along with Pierre Cardin, US Polo, Cacharel and jewellery brands Saat&Saat, Altınbaş, LC Waikiki and Toyzz Shop.

The airport will offer a pre-order system so that passengers can buy online and collect items at the airport. Travellers will be able to customise chocolate brands with their own names, and “digital assistants” in the form of holograms will also feature. 

Unifree CEO Ali Şenher showed visitors around the new terminal building.

It was claimed in Turkish media that the new airport will host “the largest bazaar in the world” covering 3,000 sq m and carrying products from more than 100 domestic and international producers.

At an eventual 52,500 sq m, the new duty free area aims to be the largest in the world.

Following completion of the second phase of construction in 2028, the airport will handle 200 million passengers per year. It aims to surpass Dubai International to become the busiest international airport in the world.

As reported, Istanbul New Airport features a 32,000 sq m dedicated food & beverage area, and a 52,500 sq m duty free shopping zone – the largest of its kind in the airport world. Gebr. Heinemann has a 60% stake in Unifree and the partnership has a 25-year contract to operate commercial space in the airport.