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Finavia to improve passenger services – World Duty Free Group starts at Helsinki Airport next year

Finavia Corporation, the Finnish airport operator, is continuing to develop air passenger services. The World Duty Free Group (WDFG) will start shop operations at Helsinki Airport in March 2014. The first newly renovated shops will open in 2015. From then on, Finavia will no longer have shop operations of its own at Helsinki Airport.

As part of the development of Helsinki Airport, Finavia's objective is to continuously improve passenger services and the customer experience. Finavia thinks it is important that airport passenger services develop to international standards. Through passenger services, Finavia can continue to maintain a competitive price level at Helsinki Airport and other Finavia airports for airlines.

“Air passengers expect experiences and good shopping opportunities. With the external partner, the goal is to seek better service, new brands and an appealing product range. We will also introduce other special shops in cooperation with the new operator", says Anne Gullstén, Director at Finavia.

As part of the cooperation, WDFG is committed to making substantial investments at the airport in shops it operates, and in their development.

“The introduction of a leading international operator at Helsinki Airport indicates Finland's strong position as a hub for international air traffic. The planned shop investments with international capital and business development will create new jobs, and a major operator will also provide the staff with new international opportunities”, says Gullstén. WDFG is the leading operator in its sector in Europe
WDFG has a solid international reputation and experience. The company operates at more than one hundred airports in 20 countries, and the Group's parent company is listed on the Milan stock exchange. For example, WDFG operates at Heathrow Airport in London, which has won the “Best airport for shopping” category from Skytrax. In 2013, WDFG was also granted the “Airport Retailer of the Year” award at the Frontier Awards in Cannes. The company will establish a Finnish subsidiary.

“During the next 20 years, half of the growth of the world air traffic will come from to or from the Asia Pacific region. We are delighted to have won this opportunity to operate at Helsinki Airport. It´s unique geographical location – the shortest route between Europe and Asia – makes Helsinki Airport the main European gateway to Asia with over 1.8 million of passenger on Asian flights in 2012. We know we can create a first world-class airport shopping environment here and we look forward to working closely with our partners at Finavia to take travel retail to the next level for its passengers”, says José María Palencia Saucedo, CEO of World Duty Free Group.

The first World Duty Free shops will be introduced in spring 2014
The first WDFG shops at Helsinki Airport will be opened in the spring. About 50 Finavia employees will transfer as existing employees to the Finnish subsidiary of WDFG.

Helsinki Airport's development programme 2020
Finavia, the operator of Finnish airports, will launch an extensive development programme at Helsinki Airport with the goal of retaining good flight connections in Finland and to improve Helsinki Airport's position as a leading transit airport in the tightening international competition. The programme mainly concerns increasing check-in and transit travel capacity as well as improving traffic arrangements.

Helsinki Airport is getting prepared to serve 20 million passengers in the early 2020s. Developing the commercial selection is closely interlinked with the development programme of entire Helsinki Airport and the goal throughout the airport network is to keep our customer promise, ”For smooth travelling”.

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