(A PANEL AT SUMMIT OF THE AMERICAS CO-ORGANIZED BY THE MOODIE DAVITT REPORT AND ARRA)
Jim DeCock, AirProjects
Matthew Greenbaum, International Shoppes
Erasmo Orillac, Motta Internacional
Andrew Weddig, Airport Restaurant & Retail Association
Dermot Davitt, The Moodie Davitt Report
This panel revisited the theme we first explored at Summit of the Americas last year: recovery toward a “new normal” for airport concessions. This year, we updated the state of the recovery, topics that our industry has addressed over the past year, and the many topics that remain to be resolved. Although our industry is much improved from one year ago, we cannot overlook the impact of the pandemic: air travel has widely recovered to 2019 levels, but that is still more than 10% below where we expected to be in 2023. And the people who did not travel during the three years of the pandemic – nearly 1.3 billion travelers in the U.S. alone – and their purchases are lost forever.
This is the magnitude of the recovery our industry faces. And we need change. Quoting Dermot in his introduction, “We know that even with traffic recovering, many airport concessionaires have a long way to go before they recover. The pandemic exposed fractures in the business model that were just below the surface pre-crisis. And it is clear that the travel retail industry won’t bounce back until we collectively evolve the business model.”
Our panel of industry veterans addressed the challenge head-on, discussing the recovery curve, a changing customer base, operational headwinds, and airport relations. Here are three key takeaways:
These are just three important takeaways. Our panel offered many more profound insights and bold ideas. We encourage you to read Moodie Davitt’s extensive special report on the session, “Striving for balance in the airport concessions business” here.