Unifree DutyFree signs contract for Istanbul New Airport

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Unifree DutyFree, a subsidiary of concessionaire Gebr. Heinemann, has signed a contract for the operation of the world’s largest duty free area at Istanbul New Airport in Turkey. The duty free operator will have responsibility for approximately 174,000ft2 of retail space over a period of 25 years.

The duty free contract was awarded by the airport’s developer İGA Havalimanı İşletmesi (iGA) after an extensive bidding process. Unifree DutyFree is planning to invest €120m (US$139m) and gather more than 400 domestic and foreign luxury brands under one roof. Unifree’s contract will create more than 3,000 jobs at the airport, which is scheduled for completion in 2017.

Kerem Üstünkaya, shareholder and deputy chairman of the board for Unifree DutyFree, said, “We will create a shopping environment that is far from the traditional and cliché form of duty free shopping, offering unforgettable and extraordinary experiences to the customers. During this process, when the world will be watching us with much curiosity and excitement, we will organize special events for Unifree in our shops by using our current relations and by following closely the future trends. This way, we will be able to provide our customers the opportunity to have access to all the luxury brands at the same location.

“Passengers will be able to try luxury products in ‘Private Rooms’, will have fun in the ‘Game Center’, and will have an opportunity to refresh themselves with the help of experts in a spa, hairdresser and beauty salon. They will also be able to watch new released movies at the ‘Movie Theater’, equipped with the state-of-the-art technology, and while shopping they will be able to leave their children in the ‘Unikids’ area where the children will be safe and sound.”

Nihat Özdemir, board member of iGA and chairman of the board of directors of

Limak Holding, said, “We have an ambitious target and that is to turn Istanbul and our country into the center of the global aviation industry. iGA will not only be paying €26bn (US$30bn) including VAT to the state, which is the highest amount for a bid in the history of our Republic, but will also make additional investments and break new records, while contributing to the Turkish economy.”

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Helen has worked for UKi Media & Events for nearly a decade. She joined the company as assistant editor on Passenger Terminal World and since progressed to become editor of five publications, covering everything from aviation, logistics and e-commerce to meteorology. She has a love for travel and property and has redeveloped three houses in three years. When she’s not editing magazines, she’s running around after her two boys and their partner in crime, Pete the pug.

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