The Moodie Blog: Dan heads down under

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

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Australia’s gain, the Middle East’s loss. That’s just one of the conclusions to come out of today’s news that Dan Cappell is leaving Abu Dhabi Airports Company (ADAC) to join Australia Pacific Airports (APAM) in Melbourne.

As ADAC Chief Commercial Officer Mohammed Al Bulooki rightly noted, Dan has made an outstanding contribution to the UAE airports company – and to travel retail in the Middle East – over more than a decade.

Now he’s set to bring that influence to an already highly progressive Australian airports group. I was in Melbourne last month to deliver a presentation to APAM CEO Chris Woodruff and his board and I was deeply impressed by their focus on the role of commercial revenues.

Here’s an airport (below) where the retail and food & beverage offer has been transformed in recent times but where much more remains to be done, especially as its burgeoning links with China increase. Because of its evolving route network and passenger profile, in many ways Melbourne will be just as much an Asian airport going forward as an Australian one, and retail will be critical to leveraging that dynamic to maximum advantage.

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Besides the innate allure of the new role, another attraction of the location to Dan will be its proximity to Auckland, New Zealand, where his beloved and elderly parents live.

As I’ve noted many times down the years, Dan’s contribution to the industry has been more than commercial. He has been the most consistently proactive yet challenging voice in the Trinity debate of the past decade. And, more importantly, he has made a huge difference, both personally and corporately, to any number of industry corporate social responsibility initiatives, to which he has consistently given both spontaneously and generously.

Right now, in fact, that generosity means he is enjoying the hospitality of Brown-Forman International at the famous Kentucky Derby

As reported, Brown-Forman Travel Retail and Woodford Reserve (‘The Official Bourbon of the Kentucky Derby’) joined forces with The Moodie Report Foundation to offer an extraordinary joint prize of two round-trip Business Class airfares from anywhere in the world to Louisville, Kentucky for the running of the 139th Kentucky Derby on Saturday, 4 May.

The prize was auctioned to travel retailers worldwide, including airport commercial departments. Guess who bid highest (the reserve was US$10,000) – and not from a corporate budget but from his own pocket? You guessed it. Dan Cappell.

So here’s to him making some of that back this weekend at the races (we confidently predict he will back the winner of the Kentucky Derby, thanks to what can only be described as a comprehensive betting approach – you read it here first, more details to follow), and to continuing to be a good and positive influence within our industry in a land down under.

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