Duty Free Delights Still Far away, Mumbaikars

Aditya Anand / Mid-day

  • Launch of duty free outlets at city airport delayed, as contractors are unhappy with the infrastructure

Mumbai, Nov 12: Passengers looking forward to a great shopping experience at the city airport’s duty free outlets, don’t hold your breath. Contractors India Tourism Development Corporation (ITDC) and Spain-based developers Aldeasa have expressed their inability to launch stores with the existing infrastructure at the city airport.

ITDC and Aldeasa, who bagged the three-year contract at Rs 570 crore were to open a 24,540 sq ft duty free shopping area for international passengers in June. However, the available infrastructure at Sahar has convinced them that the project is not viable.

Will we ever match this?

Sprawled over 5,400 square metres, the duty free shopping area at Dubai airport is recognised
as being one of the best in the world

“There are issues that need to be settled. We are meeting sometime next week,” an official of Aldeasa said. The official added that efforts were on to ensure that the services are started soon.

A Mumbai International airport official echoed this claim and said, “Things will be clear in a week.” The duty free shopping area was to give passengers access to leading international brands of liquor, tobacco, cosmetics, perfumes, clothing, hi-tech electronics, boutiques and accessories.

City resident Radhika Menon, a frequent flyer, said, “I look forward to duty free shopping whenever I am at Heathrow or Dubai airports. We should have a similar experience in Mumbai too.”

Very popular

The popularity of duty free shopping is attested by the Duty Free World Council — the agency that keeps track of airport duty free shops. The council claims every second Indian, and every third passenger, visits duty free airport zones during a flight.

The plan: An illustration of the proposed duty free shopping area at Sahar airport

  • The duty-free shopping area at Mumbai airport is located in the international terminal 2C.
  • It is spread across a 24,540 sq ft area, of which 14,585 sq ft will be at the departure level, 8,395 sq ft at the arrival level and 1,560 sq ft will be for storage. 

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