Check this out from our friends in the UK! at www.dutyfreeonarrival.com 18/5/12
Media/Blog release: Airport Shopping.
Have EU Airports finally opened their retail Pandora’s Box?
When did you last go shopping and see a marketing campaign by the mall telling you that “you
are allowed to carry your shopping home with you”? That’s exactly what Spain’s airport monopoly
company AENA did last week, with a widespread poster and PR campaign directed at airline carry-
on baggage rules, allegedly imposed by some of Europe’s budget airlines like the much maligned
A feud between low-cost carriers and some European airports has been festering for some time and
now the EU, in the name of UK Midlands Conservative MEP Philip Bradbourn, has stepped in to “help
the consumer with their airport shopping”. In tangent with the Spanish Airport campaign, Britain’s
European Tory MEP’s issued an official statement as to their intent to rescue the revenues being lost
by Regional Airports, with a motion designed to protect both the airport and consumer. In particular,
the motion sponsored by MEP Bradbourn, names the airline carry-on baggage restrictions as the
single most important threat to airport profits.
Meanwhile, it seems to have escaped both the Tory and Spanish airport media machine that yet
another low-cost airline, Britain’s “BMI Baby” is shortly to close due to an unsustainable financial
model and that the loss of passengers, rather than loss of shopping bags, may be a greater threat to
regional airport revenues.
Ironically, IAG (International Airlines Group), who now own British Airways and Iberia, the very
airlines who dominate British and Spanish airports, decided to close their recently acquired low-cost
airline, purchased through the takeover of BMI (British Midland) from Lufthansa.
And, where did BMI Baby have much of their traffic?
Through the very regional airports that MEP Bradbourn is seeking to protect, Britain’s Birmingham
and East Midlands airports. The greater irony is that whilst these local authority run airports
dashed to replace their suddenly lost revenues, (some of which goes within 4 weeks of the closure
announcement), the only solvent airlines appearing to step in to the breach were Ryanair and
Monarch Airlines, both of whom appear to restrict on board carry-on luggage and are the very target
of MEP Bradbourn’s motion.
Meanwhile, the coordinated PR campaign by the Tories and Spanish Airports, structured in a fashion
to be consumer friendly, seems to have misfired if you take a straw poll of online forum comments.
Posters responding to the EU baggage statement, reported by the authoritative website The
European Voice, showed their disdain for MEP Bradbourn’s initiative. One poster showed his fury at
the ludicrous EU idea to weigh baggage on arrival rather than on departure, stating “my objective is
get home quickly, not to wait in line in the baggage hall. These EU politicians should lobby for a pay
Another, stated dismay at the EU Politicians desire to destroy the low-cost airline model which has
reduced prices and increased competition in the travel market.
Ivor Smith, Founder of the website dutyfreeonarrival.com who met MEP Bradbourn at his Strasbourg
seat said, “MEP Bradbourn, who told me of his disdain for airlines who deliberately impose baggage
rules to increase their on-board sales, whilst inhibiting those at airports, didn’t seem to know that
alcohol and tobacco was not sold on any intra-EU flight. He also appeared not to understand that
all sales within the EU are not duty free or tax-free at all and that airports already had a 60%
share of the market versus 7% share by airlines. Bradbourn is my local Constituent MEP, yet for 6
weeks he avoided me. I had to find my way to Strasbourg to meet him and discover that he had
no proper understanding, nor apparent interest in the actual market scenario. It was clear to me
that he thought he had struck on a vote-winner, but he hadn’t properly understood how the market
It would seem that Messrs Bradbourn, UK Tory MEP’s, AENA or the Regional Airports have yet to
grasp the huge growth and consumer demand for online retail and how modern technology and
smartphone usage can facilitate a solution to this impasse, without the need for legislation and
without the need to carry anything on board aircraft as all these goods can now be ordered online
and delivered on arrival, or to the travellers home.
Perhaps now the Regulators and Monopolies have opened their retail Pandora’s Box, by admitting
that they are more interested in airport shopping than smooth passenger transit, consumer opinion
will order online and vote with their fingers and thumbs on their keyboards, rather than with their
airport shopping bags.
Check here to find where you can order, buy and receive delivery of your duty free shopping on
Arrivals Duty Free Limited, PO Box 10965, Solihull, B91 3WN.
Tel: 0121 314 2003 email: firstname.lastname@example.org