French Connect 2009: 'Single bag rule' causes concern for airports
'Uncertainty' over the rules for hand baggage on low-fare airlines is leading to lower revenues from airport shopping, according to airport bosses.
At a time when airside spending is reduced because lower traffic levels generally, they say that a lack of clarity means that passengers looking to purchase goods such as liquors, often end up putting the items back on the shelf because it not clear how strictly airlines will enforce the rule at different airports.
Previously airlines were relaxed about passengers carrying hand luggage and their purchases separately, but now some carriers are demanding that passengers only have one item of hand luggage, and that any purchases from airside shops must also fit into the hand luggage.
Speaking at the French Connect 2009 Aviation Forum in Shannon this week, Frank O'Connell, president of the European Travel Retail Council said that problem was causing real concern for airports that rely on the income from their airside shops.
"If there is any uncertainty they don't shop," said O'Connell.
Airside retailing had suffered since the advent of charges for check-in which forced people to make greater use of online check-in.
"This was always going to happen when the airlines realised they could make more money by charging people for check-in, but it's now becoming a revenue issue. We have to address the baggage issue and protect the revenue of airside retail," added O'Connell.
Neil Pakey, Deputy CEO of Peel Airports said the company had expressed its concern to the airlines involved, but also consulting Department for Transport airport bylaws over whether the airline rules were interfering with the sale of goods.
He said: "We are monitoring the situation at our airports recording the value of goods put back on the shelf and that is running into hundreds of pounds a week at the moment."
It's not clear whether the rules have helped increase the sales of such goods being sold on flights.
By Tony Osborne - LARAnews.net Editorial Team