Latest posts by Martin Moodie (see all)
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I’m filing this Blog from my new, temporary Antalya bureau, on the Mediterranean coast of southwestern Turkey.
To the right of my balcony, there are dramatic mountains; in front of me the bluest sea you ever saw. Beneath me, holidaymakers (mostly Russians from the accents I heard at breakfast) are splashing in the pool or taking in the sunshine to help combat the effects of a long and boisterous night.
I’m here, alas, not to holiday, but to attend the opening of the new Nuance-Net Departures duty free offer at Terminal 2, which promises to be something pretty spectacular. Nuance are doing really great things in Europe, and this (in tandem with a strong local partner) is just one of several impressive additions to the portfolio in recent times.
I arrived in via Easyjet late last night and arrive back to Gatwick at 00.55 tomorrow morning. People often think this job is glamorous. Well it is, but there’s another side as we all know. Last night when I got back to my room in the wee, small hours, the news came into my in-box of DFS winning a 7-year (plus three) extension to its duty free contract at New York JFK Airport T4. The story had to be written there and then.
Still, I’m not complaining. The Mediterranean is glorious, the sun good for the spirits. I craved for moments like this when I was ill a year or so back and it’s good to have them back. Every day is rich. I also love going on location to report on new terminal and store openings. You really feel the passion of the local staff and management and today will be no different.
Late last night, the travelling press contingent were kindly met by the Nuance-Net team. I had a brief chance to walk (and photograph) the Arrivals store, which looked clean, spacious and well-ranged. Arrivals is about 20% of the business here, with the Russian business particularly buoyant and plenty of sales done in tobacco and liquor to the likes of the British and Germans.
En route to Antalya, I flew out of Gatwick and I have to put on record something I would not have written a few short years ago. I like Gatwick Airport. Somebody is doing something seriously right there in terms of its signage, facilities and general consumer friendliness.
I doff my cap again to WHSmith for its splendidly revamped news & books offer (London News Company and London Books Company). What a transformation from the tired, crowded and ugly old WHSmith-branded proposition.
As someone who has queued for 10 minutes to buy a newspaper at WHSmith, I loved seeing an ‘Honesty Box’, allowing passengers to buy their papers on trust. I wonder what the results are? Do people pay the full cost? There’s no-one there to police it but I bet, I just bet, that it brings out the best in people. I would even contemplate putting a charity box next to it. Being trusted makes people feel good.
Time to pack up the Antalya bureau, there’s an opening to attend. What a pity, I was just beginning to like it here.