2018. Last year was very successful for airport partners providing retail and catering services. Shops and cafés in all three Lithuanian Airports branches contributed to success by growing their sales numbers.
Last year, non-aviation revenue of Lithuanian Airports reached 14.5 million EUR, which is 30 percent higher than in 2017. Turnover of cafés and restaurants operating in Lithuanian airports increased by 50 percent compared to 2017, while sales per customer went up by 26 percent. Growth rates exceeded even the increase in the number of passengers. Last year, 6.3 million passengers were serviced at Vilnius, Kaunas and Palanga airports, which is by 19 percent more than a year before.
According to Justinas Stepšys, Commercial Director of Lithuanian Airports, a positive change was determined by the growing number of passengers, effective partner activities, and successful completion of commercial service development projects. The fact that more catering establishments opened this year and offered a wider range of services to passengers has been identified as one of the main reasons for revenue growth.
“Claims that people do not buy at airports are a myth. Growing partner sales are a strong indicator that the value offered corresponds to the price that passengers are willing to pay. After all, the way buyers express their opinion regarding the prices of goods and services is simply by deciding whether to pay for them or not. Passengers are increasingly using catering services at airports rather than purchasing food and drinks during the flight, where similar items would be more expensive, states Justinas Stepšys.
Efficient organisation of café and restaurant operations where the number of employees is adjusted to peak hours allows us to serve large flows of passengers every year. The majority of cafés and restaurants are located next to departure gates, making it easy for passengers to stop by.”
Justinas Stepšys, Commercial Director of Lithuanian Airports, also notes that last year a number of catering establishments also increased. For example, Crustum café-bakery opened its doors at the Arrivals Terminal of Vilnius Airport and has been very successful ever since. For the convenience of Vilnius Airport’s passengers, PANK’olis restaurant, which is located at the Departures Terminal, was expanded and now offers a Beer Gate zone for beer lovers. As soon as this February, two new Charlie Pizza restaurants will open their doors to Vilnius Airport’s guests.
Slightly slower sales growth rates were recorded at Kaunas and Palanga Airports. At Kaunas Airport, shops and restaurants opened in 2017 are still growing to meet their full potential, while Palanga Airport has made plans to offer customers new goods and services in 2019.
Justinas Stepšys also noted a growing tendency that an increasing number of passengers tend to spend more time and money visiting airport cafés rather than shops. Customer behaviour analysis shows that it is becomes increasingly important for consumers to experience something more pleasant than just buying. Cafés and restaurants providing a pleasant atmosphere and positive emotions are places where passengers come more and more often to spend the remainder of their time before the flight. Therefore, major financial and all-around efforts are invested to create attractive catering areas at the airports.
“Our stores receive equal attention as we constantly develop them offering customers an attractive and unique shopping experience with an ever-growing range of products. In autumn, a new concept based Heinemann Duty Free | Travel Value store was opened at Vilnius Airport. We are delighted that despite major reconstruction works that affected a large number of passengers, the overall sales performance has continued to grow,” states Justinas Stepšys.
Every year Lithuanian Airports record growing numbers in non-aviation revenues which increased by 13 percent in 2016 and 8 percent in 2017.
About Lithuanian Airports
The Lithuanian airport network includes three airports in Vilnius, Kaunas, and Palanga. During 2018, they serviced 6.3 million passengers and 61 thousand flights. During the winter season, 15 airlines organize direct flights in 66 regular directions to 57 cities in 27 countries. Based on data of the Airports Council International (ACI Europe), Lithuanian Airports contribute to the Lithuania’s GDP by 2.5 percent.