January 30 2019  |  Airlines & Airports

Istanbul Airport opens second phase of duty free zone

By Mary Jane Pittilla

Istanbul Airport will open fully on March 3 as the biggest airport in the world

Istanbul Airport will open fully on March 3, replacing the current Istanbul Atatürk Airport, which will be closed for scheduled passenger flights.

“We are all ready for the occasion,” said Kadri Samsunlu, Chief Executive Officer of İGA Airport Operations.

Istanbul Airport will be the biggest airport in the world, with an initial capacity to serve 90 million people, which will be expanded to 200 million once all phases are completed.

Istanbul Airport also overrides its competitors with its size. The airport is 3.5 times as big as Beijing Airport, which has an area of 23 million square meters. “Our challenge is to be the biggest and the best,” Samsunlu said.

As part of the airport’s first phase, Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan inaugurated the first duty free shop on October 29, 2018.

The second phase of Istanbul Airport’s duty free zone began trading on January 15 with five new shops covering an area of 8,000 square meters.

The total duty free retail space will cover 53,000 square meters and carry more than 1,000 international and national brands.

Unifree Dutyfree commissioned the second phase with its partner Gebr Heinemann.

One of the two main duty free flagships, consisting of different concept stores ranging from 4.2 square meters to 28 square meters, has opened in phase two.

These stores carry a wide range of products, specially made for Istanbul Airport.

The overall design of the duty free zone was inspired by the Bosphorus. The zone has seven different sections, consisting of the Fashion Garden, Family Palace, High&Lux Hills: Fashion, High&Lux Hills: Jewelry and Watch, High&Lux Hills: Fashion and Accessories, Style Beach, and Icon Gulf.

Each section welcomes passengers with concept-related selective domestic and international brands offering a variety of products.

Exclusive products for Istanbul Airport

Luxury brands will include Bottega Veneta, Bulgari, Celine, Christian Dior, Emporio Armani, Fendi, Ferragamo, Gucci, Hermes, Loro Piana, Louis Vuitton, Prada and Saint Laurent Paris.

In addition, the retail space will feature national brands D&R, Desa, Vakko, Mavi, Atasay, Zen Pırlanta, Yargıcı, Saat&Saat, Rue, Damat&Tween, D’s Damat, Luzdemia, Tamer Tanca and TNC Butik, Emnana, Guard Leather, İpekyol, Machka, US Polo, Pierre Cardin, Cacharel, Dogo, Lambend, Brandy’s and Penti.

In addition to the exclusive products offered by world-renowned brands for Istanbul Airport, many firsts will be achieved in terms of technology, the airport operator said.

Pushing the limits of a traditional duty free approach, Unifree will offer passengers the opportunity to experience the latest developments in technology before anybody else through the innovative products to be displayed in four different technology stores in the Arrivals floor at Istanbul Airport.

Products from the world's leading technology brands will be displayed in specially designed concept stores. Passengers will receive the best price advantage, said İGA.

Redefining duty free shopping

Through a pre-order system, passengers will be able to order products online for collection at the airport.

In addition, tablets will be put in certain lounge areas to enable passengers to use the pre-order system and connect to their personal VIP sales representatives.

An interactive area will feature digital applications where passengers can try on beauty products both physically and via Augmented Reality. This area will have a selfie point where pictures can be taken and shared on social media. Mirror screens will also differentiate the shopping experience at the airport.

Unifree’s stores will also carry special world-first launches.

In addition, passengers will be able to buy perfumes and spirits featuring their names and personalized world-renowned chocolate brands, while also experiencing new-generation shopping with holographic narrations and digital assistants.

World’s largest bazaar

The airport will feature the world's largest Bazaar store, located over 3,000 square meters and carrying products from over 100 domestic and national producers.

The Bazaar area, which will be operated by ATU Duty Free, will carry local products such as Turkish Delight and 365 tons of baklava, amounting up to 60% of Turkey's annual baklava export.

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

“In addition to the rich variety of products, quality service is one of our main values. Our sincere expert sales team, personalized for the needs of passengers, will serve 24/7 to provide unforgettable memories to passengers coming from across the world."

Kadri Samsunlu, Chairman of the Executive Board at İGA Airport Operations, said: "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 of Istanbul Airport. It is our pleasure to realize the first step of this process in cooperation with Unifree. 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."

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