Airport Retail Springs Back To Life As Syd-Melb Borders Open
The long-suffering airport retailers who have endured the worst shutdowns and sales slumps during COVID-19 are set to enjoy a resurgence as Australia opens its state borders.
The NSW-Victoria borders opened this morning after a four-month closure and the number of passengers passing through airports for interstate travel has skyrocketed.
The Sydney-Melbourne air route is the third busiest in the world, with around nine million flights between the cities each year.
However, at the height of the Melbourne lockdown, just 1000 travellers would be processed through Melbourne airport each day.
From today, that number has climbed to 8500, chief of aviation at Melbourne Airport Shane O’Hare told 3aw.
“What that translates to in flights is 52 flights, and around 32 flights alone just between Melbourne and Sydney,” O’Hare said.
“We’re really, really excited. But we’ve got a long way to go.”
During Australia’s worst lockdown months, between March and June, airport retailers were ghost towns.
Sydney Airport recorded a drop of 98% of passengers in the month leading up to mid-May in 2020, compared to the same period last year.
As a response to the sudden drop in customers, Sydney airport offers retailers rental deferral and ‘rental holidays’ and reduced its contractor workforce by 50%.
Paul Zahra, chief executive of the Australian Retailers Association told The Guardian airport retailers had been the hardest hit.
“Discretionary spending and air travel have been the hardest hit industries. There’s no doubt [airport retailers] have been the hardest hit … Many have chosen not to open,” he said.
Brands such as Sony, Sennheiser, JBL, Bose, Belkin, Samsung and countless others are sold in airport retailers, including Sydney’s duty-free store Heinemann.
JB Hi-Fi’s first standalone airport store was also opened at Sydney Airport last year.
The location has suffered a significant decline in sales however the Sydney-Melbourne reopening is sure to bring a swell of customers its way this week.