Retail Update

Activity remains robust at airports As concessionaires compete for requests for proposals and look for opportunities to expand, airports strive to increase revenues. Whether it’s the addition of a proven nationwide food chain to a profit-lagging...


Activity remains robust at airports
As concessionaires compete for requests for proposals and look for opportunities to expand, airports strive to increase revenues. Whether it’s the addition of a proven nationwide food chain to a profit-lagging terminal, taking a chance on an unproven local café concept, or adding an upstart disadvantaged business enterprise manicure shop, concessionaires and airport executives continue to explore new ideas. Here’s a sampler of industry activity.


The first Hudson News/CNN Newsstand opened its doors in BAA Pittsburgh’s AIRMALL in the D concourse at Pittsburgh International Airport. The co-branding not only adds the CNN name, but televisions broadcast live Headline News in a rebuffed store designed to portray a TV studio motif around the newsstand.

Laura Samuels, director of corporate communications with the Hudson Group, says that the CNN/Hudson Newsstand now becomes a “double news source” as customers can watch live news coverage as they are purchasing print publications. “[Hudson’s] patrons are changing and people are customizing their news when they want it,” Samuels says. “The CNN brand is a great step forward for the customer, because he can then satisfy his immediate need for news and information in the same place where he’s buying his reading material.”

The move to live coverage is to steer away from the canned reports looped on closed circuit television in airports. For passengers who don’t carry a laptop or blackberry, but still have a desire for information, the newsstand will provide an alternative, timely news source, she explains.
“If something happens to Anna Nicole Smith, there it is live,” Samuels says. “There is Anderson Cooper.”


HMSHost has been awarded a 15-year lease extension at Jacksonville International Airport to include 13 new eateries and upgrades to existing facilities. The extension marks the seventh Florida airport operating under HMSHost. The company will inject local Jacksonville flavor with Sam Snead’s Tavern and Sam Adams Toasts Jacksonville.

HMSHost will also tap the NASCAR phenomenon with the Budweiser Racing Track Bar & Grill and add sports-themed Budweiser Stadium Club to the airport.

HMSHost has also been awarded contracts to develop new food and beverage facilities at Nashville International Airport and El Paso International Airport. The 13-year contract with Nashville — with estimated revenues to exceed $182 million over the life of the contract — will feature the Gibson Café, celebrating the Nashville guitar maker.

In El Paso, HMSHost was awarded an eleven-year, $105 million contract to operate more than 14,000 square feet of space in the airport’s main terminal and concourses A/B.


First Class Seats rolls out its relaxed workstation at seven American Airlines locations in ‘C’ terminal at Dallas Fort-Worth International Airport, bringing the company to a total of 16 locations at DFW. The workstation offers a place to sleep, charge a cell phone or laptop, and listen to music ($1 for three minutes).

“Our concept is not massage,” First Class Seats president Mark Eberhardt says. “Our concept is a first-class seat in the airport. If the airlines will sell you a first-class seat on the airplane and your wait in the airport could be longer than it is in the airplane, then why shouldn’t you be able to buy a first-class seat in the airport?”

After a positive reaction to the first installation at Mitchell International Airport in Milwaukee, the Wisconsin-based company expanded to Albany and Nashville.

“The [relaxed workstation] doesn’t require any build-out space. It’s simply a matter of exchanging an airport chair for a first-class seat,” says Eberhardt.


HDS Retail, North America enters into a license agreement to develop and operate an airport retail concept themed around the USA Today brand — the USA Today Travel Zone — to be introduced into airport concessions programs.

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