Aer Rianta to attend Middle East exclusive duty free expo

Aer Rianta International (Middle East), ARIME, could have another big reason to celebrate when it attends the Middle East Exclusive duty free exhibition being held in Dubai in December.

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By  Rhys Jones Published  November 11, 2003

Aer Rianta International (Middle East), ARIME, could have another big reason to celebrate when it attends the Middle East Exclusive duty free exhibition being held in Dubai in December.
The Middle East's biggest international duty free operator in five cities across the region is celebrating its 10th anniversary, although the subsidiary of Aer Rianta, the Irish state-owned Airports Authority, has been in the region for the past 20 years.

In terms of individual operations, ARIME is the biggest in the Middle East with business interests in Bahrain, Qatar, Kuwait, Beirut and Muscat. This year the company reported a turnover of $250 million for all managed operations.

ARIME has seen dramatic increases in turnover particularly in Beirut and Qatar. At Qatar Duty Free sales have by 40% in the last year, at Doha International Airport. This increase in sales has been fuelled by the dramatic increase in passengers at Doha International Airport, particularly those carried by Qatar Airways. Discussions are under way with client Qatar Airways to build an additional 150 square metres of new shops in Doha's departure area.

'We are delighted with the performance of Qatar Duty Free, where we are seeing dramatic growth coupled with the growth of Qatar Airways. Passenger numbers are increasing significantly, the market is beginning to mature and it can only get better,' said John Sutcliffe, ARIME's Managing Director.

ARIME's flagship operation - Bahrain Duty Free recently received a 25-year extension to its concession from the Civil Aviation Authority at Bahrain International Airport, where it is currently redeveloping it arrivals shop to double available retail space to more than 250 square metres.

Another reason to be pleased could soon come from the Cyprus government. It's expected to announce the preferred bidder a Build Operate & Transfer tender for a 25 year concession to build passenger terminals at the Mediterranean island's main airports of Larnaca and Paphos.

'The process has been protracted but we are hoping to hear the result over the next couple of months, possibly before we come to the Dubai Expo. With a political settlement possible along with membership of the European Union and its proximity to both the Middle East and Europe, Cyprus has a lot of potential upside,' Sutcliffe added.

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