A true duty free love story

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Martin Moodie
Martin Moodie is the Founder & Chairman of The Moodie Report.


The Moodie Report celebrated the launch of ‘The World Rovers’ – our tale of the phenomenal Irish influence over the duty free industry’s first 60 years -with a particularly tricky competition.

Readers were asked to identify the people and locations in three photographs – one was the original Aer Rianta ‘Trinity’ in Dubai (a Kevin Keegan-like George Horan, with Colm McLoughlin and John Sutcliffe taken in the mid-1980s); one was Breeda McLoughlin (then Fox) at Shannon Airport with then-US President Jimmy Carter; and one was of some Irish dancers outside ‘Shannon’s Irish Bar’ at a certain, unspecified airport.

The competition drew many responses – but only two contestants got all three questions right. The Moodie BLOG sponsor Stuart Bull, a keen (English) student of Irish industry history, was on the money and so was a genuine World Rover, ARI’s John Kilmartin, now back in Moscow with Runway Duty Free after a period at New York JFK Airport T4. Not surprisingly, John identified the third shot as being from Moscow Domodedovo Airport and not, as most readers thought, from Shannon.

John is a definitive World Rover, a top man – and a more than useful rugby player, as he underlines regularly in the annual Rest of the World vs Latin Lovers showdown in Cannes.

But less known is the fact that John is part of what a close colleague describes as a “classic duty free love story”. He married his Russian partner Vika (pictured) last year, after first meeting her as a duty free colleague during his initial sojourn in Russia. “I went to the gallows on 6th of October last year, just before Cannes,” John reports. “We had on previous occasions attended as a couple but Vika was determined to bring that to an end.”

A great story from a great fellow. A true World Rover of huge capability and popularity – not just with Vika but with us all. And perhaps the ultimate expression of Aer Rianta International’s belief in the positive power of partnership.

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