AUSTRALIA. Melbourne Airport today revealed its elegant and ambitious luxury precinct, alongside an upgraded dining offer, at the International Terminal (T2).

The T2 transformation aims to offer retail and F&B experiences to rival those at any airport in the world, according to Melbourne Airport. Today marks the culmination of a A$50 million investment which features a new Dufry duty free store, dining and luxury and speciality retail zones.

The luxury precinct features 11 stores, including Burberry, Tiffany & Co., Salvatore Ferragamo, Max Mara, Bally, Emporio Armani, Michael Kors, Hugo Boss and Furla, along with luxury luggage retailer Tumi and speciality watch store Watches of Switzerland.

 

Red letter day: Marking the official opening of the luxury precinct today were (centre) Australia Pacific Airports Corporation Chairman David Crawford, Melbourne Airport Chief of Retail Andrew Gardiner (right) and Bar Pulpo by Movida Executive Chef Frank Camorra

In dining, the airport has delivered on a pledge to bring “the best of the city to the airport”. Among six new hospitality venues are a revamped Café Vue by Shannon Bennett, Bar Pulpo by Movida by Frank Camorra and well-known restaurant Two Johns. Urban Provodore and Brunetti from the Angele Brothers will be joined later this month by Melbournian-Vietnamese noodle bar BaXa.

Burberry and Tiffany: Cornerstone brands within the luxury precinct

Melbourne Airport Chief of Retail Andrew Gardiner said: “The vibrant redevelopment has been designed with the modern traveller in mind. 
It captures the essence of Melbourne, from sipping on a cup of locally brewed coffee to indulging in the latest designs from international luxury fashion & accessories brands.”

Melbourne Airport Chief Executive Officer Lyell Strambi said: “We’re really proud of what Andrew and his team have achieved in T2. Airports are either the first or last touch point of a traveller’s journey through our great city, and the refurbished retail and dining precinct delivers an experience that strengthens our customers’ connection to Melbourne, leaving them with a positive and lasting impression of a city they’ll want to return to.”

The luxury houses (seven are managed by the brands themselves, with two each run by Dufry and Valiram) have brought their A-games to the new zone

Strambi later told The Moodie Davitt Report: “It’s a big move forward. We focus heavily on capacity of course but today is about the experience, entertainment and enjoyment at the airport. One of our big aspirations is to reflect this great city. This precinct brings some of Melbourne’s great attributes to life, from shopping to food & beverage.

“Melbourne is a popular destination, but you have to have the right customer base to attract the big brands. What we are trying to do is bring not only local and Australian flavour but also the best of the world’s brands.

“We are going through a huge renovation and renewal but retail is a clear focus. What we want to do is entertain and allow passenger to enjoy it and see the best of what Melbourne has to offer.”

David Crawford: “Bringing Melbourne to life at the airport”

Melbourne Airport has seen international passenger numbers grow by +46% over the past five years – and is expected to welcome more than 60 million visitors annually by 2033. 
The new retail and dining precinct in T2 is part of the airport’s commitment to bring the city’s renowned shopping, food and beverage experiences to life at the airport, noted the company.

Andrew Gardiner: The renovation of T2 is the second phase of a multi-phase upgrade of retail that will run well into the next decade

Australia Pacific Airports Corporation Chairman David Crawford told guests: “More than ten million travellers will pass through Melbourne’s International Terminal this year. For that reason you’ll hear a lot from us about planning for growth. But today is all about the travel experience. Two months ago at our annual stakeholder event we spoke about bringing Melbourne to life at the airport. At the time we announced a strategic partnership with Melbourne Symphony Orchestra. The MSO is the first artist in residence for the airport, and we are fortunate to have a small ensemble representing them today.

“The sense of ownership and pride in the city is something Melbourne Airport’s leadership has been trying hard to bring to offer. Just as Melbourne is a destination for visitors, this precinct is a destination for travellers looking for that one special thing to take home. Importantly this precinct also adds value to our airline customers by enhancing the experience of travelling through Melbourne Airport.

“The investment by our restaurant and dining partners is a wonderful reflection of Melbourne as a global destination for food, with names like Brunetti, Movida and Café Vue and we’ve brought those giants of Melbourne city to the airport. The leadership of Melbourne Airport has a vision: to make this an airport that Melbourne can be proud of. We are proud of what this project contributes to that vision.”

The striking vaulted ceiling is a design highlight of the new retail arena, one that took inspiration from some of Melbourne’s traditional buildings

Burberry General Manager Australia John Mutton said: “Melbourne is synonymous with fashion and we’re thrilled to be bringing Burberry’s high quality, luxury fashion right to the airport. Our new store will be home to the latest Burberry apparel, leather goods and accessories, providing local and international travellers with the opportunity to purchase something special as they arrive or depart.”

Yuri Angele, Co-Owner of Brunetti, said: “At Brunetti we share Melburnians’ love of irresistible, high-quality coffee and we’re excited to continue bringing this quintessential flavour of Melbourne to the airport, now in T2. With millions of international guests passing through the airport each year, we can’t wait to share our coffee with the world.”

Movida Owner and Chef Frank Camorra told us: “We run a Spanish restaurant and are in Melbourne for close to 20 years. It’s a modern Melbourne interpretation of tapas and here we are trying to create something accessible and quick, making the last impression of Melbourne one that matches the reputation of the city very well.”

A toast to new beginnings: Victoria State Minister of Tourism John Eren (left) with airport CEO Lyell Strambi

On the design of the new luxury zone, Gardiner added: “This area features stunning vaulted ceilings that help create a Sense of Place. It’s very Melbourne. Some of the older shopping areas in the city and their architecture, from Federation Square to the Convention Centre, are reflected in this vaulted ceiling, which has been beautifully developed by NH Architects.”

Some storied names from Melbourne’s dining scene reveal their latest concepts in the new-look T2, among them Bar Pulpo by Movida, Brunetti and Cafe Vue

He noted that the mix is a response to consumer demand from home and overseas. “We started our research around two and a half years ago. Based on the feedback from customers, we built this offer. We spoke to local customers, and also to our growing traveller base from China. The brands we have are those that our customers say they want – authentic luxury goods with strong brand recognition.”

Planning the future: The excellent retail team behind the project includes (from left) Chief of Retail and Launceston Airport Andrew Gardiner; Head of Retail Aaron Gupta; Manager Marketing and Digital Bianca Berry; Head of Leasing and Commercial Rosemary Earner and Project Manager Toby Bennie, joined by The Moodie Davitt Report President Dermot Davitt

A view of Dufry’s New Generation Store from the luxury precinct amid today’s unveiling

Other new T2 retail additions include The Melbourne Store, managed by Lagardère Travel Retail; below, Andrew Gardiner with Lagardère Travel Retail CEO Pacific Matthieu Mercier in an old Melbourne tram, situated inside The Melbourne Store and the focus of much interest from passing travellers

The recent projects in T2 have added around 2,200sq m of new retail space airside; the airport company said it is targeting double-digit growth in sales and spend from the new areas.

Gardiner noted: “What is significant is that we completed this project on time and on budget. Now we move to the next phase, with T2 landside to be our focus for the next 18 months. We will go to the market next February with a plan to rework that space, covering 18 units in total, alongside a total refresh of that part of the terminal.”

*More details to follow, plus watch out for a special report on the transformation of T2 – from duty free to luxury and dining, featuring interviews with the Melbourne Airport retail team – coming soon.

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