New Delhi: A massive marketing campaign will precede the July opening of New Delhi airport’s third terminal, inviting travellers to its sprawling shopping and food sections.
The retail area at Terminal 3 (T3) is nearly the size of three football fields and will be pitched through television and print advertisements as a shopping destination, rivalling the spread at the Dubai and Singapore airports.
“We have to excite the consumers that T3 is an alternative choice for retail,” said Suredj Autar, chief of commercial and strategic development at Delhi International Airport Pvt. Ltd (DIAL). “You don’t have to fly to Dubai or go to Bangkok or Singapore.”
Spread over 5 million sq. ft, T3 is one of the world’s largest terminals, and is expected to provide the much-needed boost to India’s lagging airport retail business.
Inviting travelers: The under-constrcution Terminal 3 at the Indira Gandhi International Airport, New Delhi. Ramesh Pathania/Mint
DIAL, which runs Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGIA), has forged four retail joint ventures, including one with Dublin-based duty-free operator Aer Rianta International.
Branded Explore, the retail space at T3 will stock some 20,000 kinds of products and nearly 1,000 brands. It will have stores by fashion and jewellery companies such as Versace Group, Marks and Spencer Group Plc, WH Smith Plc and Swarovski Group.
DIAL also hopes to create an Explore India theme park on the lines of Butterflies Garden at Singapore’s Changi International Airport and Rijksmuseum at Amsterdam’s Schipol Airport.
The airport operator expects sales at T3 to be around Rs1,000 crore in the first year of operations, and to treble over the next three years.
Like DIAL, the Bangalore and Hyderabad airports that opened in 2008, too, were pinning hopes on retail but sales haven’t been good, experts said.
Airport retail consultant Rakesh Chopra said most of the flights at these two airports are from or headed to West Asia, which means many of the travellers are Indians working in those countries and would not be inclined to shop at the terminals.
On the other hand, the profile of passengers travelling to and out of New Delhi, he said, is “upmarket”.
DIAL’s Autar said the airport will be pitching its advertisements for the T3 retail space primarily to European, Australian, Chinese and West Asian passengers.
New Delhi accounts for a quarter of the international travellers visiting India. “Delhi’s experience should be different (from the Bangalore and Hyderabad airports) as Delhi gets the international travellers who have the genuine spending capabilities,” said Chopra.
A passenger currently spends less than $3 (Rs138) on average while shopping at Indian airports, according to retail industry estimates. The global average is $15.
Although Indians are compulsive duty-free shoppers outside, they are shy of buying at terminals in India. “The idea is to make consumers spend more at T3,” said Autar.
IGIA is being developed by a consortium led by GMR Infrastructure Ltd on a 30-year contract, with a deal to share 46% of the revenue with Airports Authority of India, the country’s airports regulator.