The International Association of Airport Duty Free Stores (IAADFS) co-authored a letter to the U.S. Congress with the Airport Restaurant and Retail Association (ARRA), the Airport Minority Advisory Council (AMAC), the National Parking Association (NPA), and the American Car Rental Association (ACRA), asking the U.S. Congress to provide financial relief for duty free, travel retail, and other concessionaires active in the U.S. airport ecosystem that have been negatively impacted by the COVID-19 crisis.
The letter addresses Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and, on behalf of the associations members, calls for targeted funding for these concessionaire organizations to help weather the current crisis, similar to the funding requests that have been submitted by other industry associations.
These airport concessions have been particularly hard hit by the shut down in flight activities from the coronavirus pandemic. The letter underscores that airport concessionaires are the only partner in the airport/aviation ecosystem that did not receive targeted assistance through the CARES Act, even though U.S. airports received some $10 billion in relief funds.
“All indicators point to a particularly long and slow recovery for our sector,” says Michael Payne, President and CEO of the IAADFS.
“Our hope is that securing dedicated funding will help protect our operator members so that as the crisis eases and travel begins to come back, those concessionaires are better prepared to resume operations. This will benefit not only the operator members but also the key suppliers of products sold in those stores and service providers that support the duty free and travel retail marketplace.
“This campaign also provides us with the opportunity to underscore the significant financial contribution that airport concessionaires make to the airport ecosystem – an estimated $8 billion annually, or approximately 40 percent of total airport revenues – that support airport operations, maintenance, and safety and security programs, as well as fueling development and growth of the airports,” he explains.
Payne notes that while the letter is directed at a U.S. legislative action, the groups hope that this information in the open letter about the importance of the industry and synergy with others impacted by the crisis will resonate throughout the Americas and beyond and will help foster a new way of holistically thinking about the airport ecosystem we all depend on.
Please click here to view the industry’s open letter to Congress.