GREECE. Dufry-controlled Hellenic Duty Free Shops has conducted the grand opening ceremony for the refurbished Heraklion International Airport and its duty free shops.

The refurbishment, extension and modernisation of the airport was financed by Hellenic Duty Free Shops. The aim was to improve service levels in response to passenger growth, said the retailer.

Team effort: Hellenic Duty Free Shops partnered with the Greek State for the refurbishment project

New walk-through duty free stores were created after the old shops were relocated from the first floor to the ground floor of the refurbished airport building. The total surface area remains unchanged, at 2.054sq m, featuring duty free and duty paid products across all categories.

In line with other Dufry duty free stores, the new shops have been designed to reflect local culture. Traditional Greek and Cretan food & beverage products appear in the Hellenic Gourmet zone, which features a tasting area.

All food & beverage outlets were also refurbished, Hellenic Duty Free Shops said, while four VIP lounges were added. There are two each in the Non-Schengen and Schengen areas.

Open for business: Folli Follie Group CEO Giorgis Koutsolioutsos, Minister of Transport and Infrastructure Christos Spirtzis and Hellenic Civil Aviation Authority Governor Konstantinos Lintzerakos join Hellenic Duty Free Shops CEO George Velentzas for the ribbon-cutting ceremony

The refurbishment of the airport included the creation of a new 2.895sq m departures area on the ground floor and a 585sq m space in the sheltered area of the basement. There are 11 departure gates, with lifts installed at all exits. The old departure areas were also restored.

Heraklion International is managed by the Hellenic Civil Aviation Authority and the Greek State. It is expected to handle 8 million passengers in 2018. The refurbishment project was realised by Hellenic Duty Free Shops in cooperation with the Ministry of Infrastructure and Transportation, the Hellenic Civil Aviation Authority and the Airport Commander of Heraklion.

Hellenic Duty Free Shops CEO George Velentzas: “This is a location where cleanliness, respect, order, kindness and style co-exist.”

“This investment was realised in 165 days and constituted the successful expression of the partnership of a private initiative with the Greek State benefiting both sides. We shall not end here, we shall move on to more investments,” said Hellenic Duty Free Shops CEO George Velentzas.

“This location reflects European Greece [and is a place] where cleanliness, respect, order, kindness and style co-exist. With our shops, we have [helped] create this environment and image.”

Minister of Transport and Infrastructure Christos Spirtzis: “The modern refurbished airport will give new impetus to growth”

Greece’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economy and Development Yiannis Dragasakis stated: “Heraklion Airport had long exhausted its limits. With the adjustments and extensions that have been made, as well as the ones that will follow in the surrounding area, the airport’s functionality will be significantly improved in order to respond in a better, more modern and efficient way to the growing needs [of passengers].

“We [also] want to emphasise the importance that the government attaches to both Crete and the region in general.”

Minister of Transport and Infrastructure Christos Spirtzis noted the financial contribution made by Hellenic Duty Free Shops. He said: “The modern refurbished airport will give new impetus to growth and new impetus and image to the infrastructure of Crete until the airport in Kastelli is built and operated.”

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economy and Development Yiannis Dragasakis: “The airport’s functionality will be significantly improved in order to respond in a better, more modern and efficient way to the growing needs [of passengers]”