From a financial perspective, airport revenues can be divided in two large groups on the basis of their nature:
- Aeronautical Revenues, which come from aircraft operations at the airport, such as aircraft parking fees, security fees and facility fees
- Non-Aeronautical Revenues, which come from commercial activities at the airport, such as shops, restaurants, leases on land, operating car parks, etc.
The results obtained by adopting this concept point to a considerable rise in the amount of commercial revenues.
Aeronautical revenues have traditionally exceeded commercial revenues. In the last few decades, however, the latter have turned this proportion on its head. The reasons for this change are mainly due to the fact that there is little room for manoeuvre to change airport operations and fees. Additionally, commercial revenues have more leeway for development and future increases.
One of the main strategies airports use to boost such revenues is by using “walk-through store” layouts in their establishments, especially duty-free stores.
In this model, the retail shop is located in the passengers’ path, usually just after the security controls, thereby ensuring the airport that all passengers will visit the store. The results obtained by adopting this concept point to a considerable rise in the amount of commercial revenues.
Though this kind of store was first used at Sydney Airport with outstanding results, many European airports have now placed a firm wager on this store concept, including: Paris CDG, Heathrow, Gatwick, Zurich, Bologna, etc.
In Spain, the wager placed on the “walk-through store” model is unanimous, and significant investments were made to adopt this concept between 2012 and 2013. Hence, airports like Madrid – Barajas, Barcelona – El Prat, Malaga – Costa del Sol, Palma de Mallorca and Alicante are now equipped with “walk-through” duty-free stores.
From the standpoint of an airport, there can be no doubt that this is an effective measure to boost commercial revenues. However, do passengers feel the same way when they are forced to walk along a pre-set path?