A hectic commercial period for Incheon approaches

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


I’m back at the oh so familiar Hyatt Incheon bureau of The Moodie Report, looking out on one of the great airports of the world.

It’s a more fleeting visit than most that I have made at least annually to the wonderful country that is South Korea over the past 25 years. In fact I’m here just for a day before returning to London via Hong Kong in the morning.

The purpose of my visit is to catch with up the commercial team at Incheon International Airport Corporation (IIAC). They are working harder than ever this year due to a series of impending commercial tenders for duty free, food & beverage and other related contracts.


[Martin Moodie with Ms Young-Shin Kim, Senior Manager Concession Team 1 and Sang J Ahn, Director Concession Team 1]

It’s too early for us to report details yet, but I can tell you that everyone at IIAC is determined that all the tenders will be fair and transparent, and that international as well as local companies will be encouraged to bid.

Along with Dubai International Airport, Incheon is a giant of airport duty free retailing, generating revenues of about US$1.8 billion last year. The duty free tender will take place against the backdrop of new legislation introduced last year designed to curb the influences of the giant chaebols (conglomerates) that dominate so many sectors of Korean business, including duty free. Incumbents Lotte Duty Free and The Shilla Duty Free are, of course, subsidiaries of two of the leading chaebols.


[Airstar Avenue is the overarching brand for all Incheon International Airport’s retail activities]

Both will be ultra-keen to retain their Incheon strangleholds. But in a fast-changing commercial landscape, it is likely that they will face competition not only from international rivals but potentially from a string of local debutantes.

There’s also great excitement about the food & beverage tenders, which will be encouraging a much wider mix of outlets and cuisines. Watch this space, we’ll be working closely with IIAC all year to bring you news as it breaks of some of the most important commercial tenders in the airport business.


[Taking dinner with Bum-Ho Kim, an old friend and one of IIAC’s most respected senior executives and Young-Shin Kim]


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