AUSTRIA. Vienna Airport restarted operations at the remodelled Terminal 2 on 29 March, with Sense of Place central to the facility’s bright new look and updated commercial offer. The investment in modernising the terminal came to around €62 million.

In this interview, Senior Vice President Center Management Philipp Ahrens talks about the localised approach to the commercial look and assortment across retail and dining.

The main Heinemann store in T2 has been modernised and expanded, with an enhanced range of Austrian goods

The Moodie Davitt Report: Tell us more please about the new consumer offer at Terminal 2; what are the principles behind the commercial design and offer?

Philipp Ahrens: In spite of the crisis, Vienna Airport continued modernisation work on the first and thus the oldest departure building. Terminal 2 now offers a new central security checkpoint in an exclusive atmosphere to enable more relaxed departures, a high-quality and spacious lounge in 2,400sq m, additional baggage check-in conveyor belts along with new shops and restaurants.

We are focusing more on providing a local ‘Sense of Place’ both in terms of the design as well as the cuisine and shopping facilities and offer travellers a Vienna experience in Terminal 2. Revitalisation work was completed despite all the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, also as a means of ensuring our competitiveness in the sector.

How much overall space has been added, and how much is allocated to retail, dining and services?

On balance, about 20,000sq m of space in Terminal 2 was redesigned, part of which is dedicated to retail and dining. For example, the Heinemann Duty Free Shop was enlarged and visually upgraded.

Located directly behind the security checkpoint, it is the first entry point for all passengers. In this case Viennese design is also in the limelight. The ceiling construction of the shop evokes the roof of St. Stephen’s Cathedral and passengers will find more local products on the shelves. Further shop openings of local brands will take place in the near future.

Local flavour: Celebrating the return of Viennese café brand Trzesniewski on 29 March were, left to right, Philipp Ahrens (Vienna Airport Senior Vice President Center Management); Julian Jäger (Vienna Airport Joint CEO and COO), Manfred Österreicher (Trzesniewski Managing Director) and Achim Kretzschmar (SSP Austria Managing Director)

How will this new environment upgrade the experience and help Vienna Airport boost sales?

Vienna Airport is placing a strong focus on regionality and a high-quality atmosphere. The environment in Terminal 2 offers a visual and culinary journey through Vienna and Austria. For example, the departure hall in Terminal 2 is furnished with crystal chandeliers made by the traditional Viennese brand Lobmeyr.

The high-quality Vienna Lounge spanning 2,400sq m displays art prints of well-known Austrian painters such as Klimt and Schiele. The food & beverage as well as shopping facilities in Terminal 2 also provide top-notch local cuisine. In this way passengers experience an enhanced quality of their stay and can take a bit of Vienna with them on their journey.

Airport management hails the 2,400sq m airport lounge as a signature feature of the updated terminal

Can you advise us of some other key highlights – new brands and concepts – presented by your main partners?

It was particularly important for us to focus upon the destination with respect to the design and offering. In cooperation with our biggest catering partner SSP, we opened an outlet of the traditional Viennese brand Trzesniewski in the T2 public area (pre-security). The outlet optically evokes the typical flair and character of the main stores in Vienna’s Inner City.

Together with Heinemann Duty Free, the design and offering of the main duty free store in Terminal 2 was adapted to the Sense of Place. Furthermore, the first joint Veganista/The LaLa Concept Store in Austria featuring domestic vegan gourmet cuisine will open soon in Terminal 2.

In the near future, Do & Co will open its popular Vienna inner-city Onyx Bar concept featuring fresh sushi in the area of the airport’s C gates.

Swarovski, the Zugvogel panorama restaurant, electronics shop Capi, writing utensils producer Lamy, the Convenience Shop and Viennese brand Juice Factory all reopened in Terminal 2. In recent years Vienna Airport has attached great importance to local brands in its retail and dining offering: International celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck just opened his first Austrian restaurant in the Terminal 3 arrivals hall.

Building on the T2 offer, the first restaurant from celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck in his homeland of Austria opened in April at Vienna Airport, in partnership with travel dining specialist SSP

Where do you see commercial growth coming from with T2 open? And what are your expectations for commercial sales and spend for 2022?

We anticipate a significant increase in the number of travellers in the Summer months, even if the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic are still being felt at Vienna Airport – up to 80% of the passenger volume registered in 2019 is expected at the airport during the Summer season.

Rising passenger numbers also increase retail and shopping sales, and we are extremely pleased to be able to offer all passengers an even more pleasant experience during their stay at the airport, and even more dining and shopping facilities. We have already seen growth since Terminal 2 was put into operation at the end of March and the offering has been well received.

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