Airport Duty Free operations in Asia -From then till now.


From mid-70s to the 80s duty free operations in Asia<, as an industry, was neither with direction nor a body with influencing presence. It was in a laid back & evolving mode.

Then, Changi Airport was with Terminal 1 only, Hong Kong was Kai Tak, Bangkok was Don Muang, KL was Subang, Jakarta had  Perdanakusuma ... and the Phillipines was not Ninoy yet. China was just coming out from its slumber, Japanese travelers prefer Hawaii to South Asia.......


90s witnessed the start of  revolution in Asian duty free operation within the framework of a weakening aviation industry. Singapore added a new terminal with plans for more expansion and so did Hong Kong with CLK, KL with Sepang, Bangkok with Suvarnabhumi, Jakarta with Soekarno-Hatta......etc. Strong European interests and participation put thrust to break new frontiers but this impetus was short-lived . Asian Financial crisis unfolded in 1997, many  made  reality checks on their respective ventures  , some investments went awry. Notwithstanding the crisis , the industry was  further assailed by events following 911 in 2001 and then SARs in 2003.

Fortunately, with each impediment came a strengthened belief that the anticipated revolution was actually growing within the turmoils. Still... it was 8 tumultuous years of uncertainties.


During the first decade of this millennium,  the industry was challenged by the daunting  task of reviving itself .This was achieved through innovative designs and re-inventing scalable business models that spur growth in an otherwise acute anemic travel retail environment, constraint by restrictive airport security procedures, lack of trained personnels, ....etc.

Strong European participation and coercion, motivated the industry into  creating a platform propelled by Trinity of Trust & Thrust -namely, Airport, Operator and Brand/s Owners. While the association seemingly brought about some semblance of bankable sanity to an otherwise revolving door industry, question remains on whether the gains are egalitarian. If so, can it convincingly provide as a sustainable  equitable entity when margins continue to dwindle and as zero sum gain within the trinity approaches,


We remain a faithful observer.




                                                                  our opinion