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New Details

Dubai Duty Free Chief Expects New Airport Terminal To Double Retail Space And Employee Count

Published on : 20-05-2024

Dubai Duty Free- Double Retail Space And Employee Count

Colm McLoughlin, the outgoing chief of Dubai Duty-Free, anticipates that the new airport terminal will offer more than twice the current retail space. He also predicts that the number of employees in the new duty-free area will likely double to nearly 10,000.

Dubai's new airport terminal at Al Maktoum International Airport is set to have over double the current retail space, with at least 100,000 square meters planned. This expansion will include a workforce of around 10,000 employees, up from the current 5,700.

The outgoing Dubai Duty Free chief, Colm McLoughlin, expects the new terminal to generate $3 billion in annual sales within a decade. 

The terminal, part of a $35 billion project, is aligned with Dubai's vision for Al Maktoum International Airport (DWC) to become the world's largest airport, capable of handling up to 260 million passengers. In its initial phase, the airport will spread across 70 square kilometres, including 400 aircraft gates, five parallel runways, and the capacity to handle 150 million passengers annually.

McLoughlin, who has been with Dubai Duty Free for 41 years, will retire soon but plans to stay on as an advisor. He played a significant role in Dubai Duty-Free's success and has witnessed Dubai's aviation transformation, from the early days of Emirates Airline to its current status as a global aviation hub.

Ramesh Ciadambi, the chief operating officer, will become the managing director on June 1st.

Dubai Duty-Free's subsidiary businesses include The Irish Village restaurants, The Century Village, the Dubai Duty-Free Tennis Stadium, and the Jumeirah Creekside Hotel.

Mr McLoughlin mentioned that The Irish Village establishments could expand to four in the next decade, and there is room for the tennis tournament to reach a "higher standard."

"I'm always willing to give my opinion or help when needed," he stated.

After stepping down as Dubai Duty Free chief executive, Colm McLoughlin plans to remain in Dubai.

"I have my own residence in Dubai and will continue to spend time there," he said.

Although he is "Irish through and through," Mr. McLoughlin expressed his contentment with living in Dubai, where he has found comfort and happiness.

Remembering his early days

Mr McLoughlin's early memories of Dubai offer a fascinating look into the emirate's burgeoning civil aviation industry during the early 1980s.

As one of the ten members of the original consultancy team from Aer Rianta, the Irish Airport Authority, Mr. McLoughlin played a pivotal role in launching the duty-free operation in 1983, under contract by the Dubai government. This was a significant moment, considering Shannon Duty Free, where Mr McLoughlin began his career in travel retail, was the world's first duty-free and started operations in 1947.

Recalling his arrival in Dubai, Mr. McLoughlin mentioned, "I came to Dubai in 1983 for six months, and those six months have not finished yet." He reminisced about starting Dubai Duty Free operations in December 1983 with a team of 120 people, achieving Dh72 million in sales within the first 12 months of entire operations in 1984.

Since then, Dubai Duty Free has experienced exponential growth, reaching Dh7.8 billion in annual sales and 21.5 million transactions in 2023, its highest sales on record. Mr McLoughlin attributed this success to the fantastic team of people and a system of internal promotions that has fostered staff loyalty over the years.

Reflecting on the early days of Emirates Airline, founded in 1985, Mr McLoughlin recalled being among its first passengers. "I remember clearly when Emirates was founded in 1985, and I went on one of the inaugural flights from Dubai to Sharjah and back. I remember being on that flight and thinking it was a great experience," he said.

Mr. McLoughlin also noted the dramatic growth of Dubai International Airport, from about four million passengers at the time of Emirates' founding to 89 million in 2023.

Commenting on Mr McLoughlin's contributions, Paul Griffiths, chief executive of Dubai Airports, described his 55 years in the industry as an "extraordinary achievement that has shaped travel retail in Dubai and the wider region."

Mr McLoughlin also mentioned witnessing the changing coastline of Dubai, recalling the demolition of Chicago Beach, which the iconic Burj Al Arab hotel later replaced.

Although he currently has no plans to write a book about his experiences, Mr McLoughlin expressed contentment with his 40 years at Dubai Duty-Free and his continued residency in Dubai. He believes that Dubai Duty-Free will continue to thrive in the future.

Dubai Duty-Free's expansion reflects Dubai's commitment to enhancing the passenger experience and its position as a leading destination for travellers. McLoughlin's legacy will continue to shape Dubai's aviation industry for years.

#dubai #dubaiairport #uaeflights #aviation #dubaidutyfree

News Source : The National News

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