REGIONAL REPORT: PANAMA signed a joint venture with CIMEX to operate the airport’s duty free business. Orillac sees this new development as a positive challenge. “It’s a good challenge, in view of the opening between the US and Cuba,” he says. “It’s going to be an airport that will have a lot of traffic – no question about it. A lot of people will go by boat, but a lot of people will fly over. So it’s a challenge, but a good challenge to have.”
Concession renewals and winning bids
In a further development outside of Cuba, Motta Internacional has renewed its concession in Venezuela for five years. Again, Orillac is optimistic about this well-established operation. “It’s an interesting situation; we have been there for 15 years.” In addition, Orillac reported the renewal of the company’s contract in Bogotá, Colombia until 2027, where an additional A painting of (from left) Alberto Motta Cardoze and Alberto Pancho Motta Jr. hanging on the wall at Motta Internacional’s headquarters in Panama City
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618 square meters of retail has been added in the new section of the airport that will open in June or July. “We’re working on that as we speak,” he enthuses. “Our main store needed a facelift after some years and we’re also reshuffling a bit within the store. We also won a contract for 10 years in Cali, a smaller airport in Colombia. It’s a brand new terminal and we are setting up shop there.” In Trinidad and Tobago, Motta Internacional recently won a bid for the duty free business and everything is ready to go. At time of print, the firm was preparing for a soft opening in March of this year.
Increasing the average ticket per passenger
Right now, Motta Internacional is gearing up for the new opportunities at Tocumen International Airport on its home turf in Panama City. Orillac says the company
will be participating in the bidding for two clothing boutiques in the new Terminal 2, which is currently being built. In addition, it will be bidding for a consumer electronics specialty monobrand shop. Turning to duty free sales, 2016 was better than 2015 as far as sell-out was concerned – the company was up 15% overall. Orillac believes this double-digit result is due to working “very hard” on the training of its store managers and sales staff. “We’ve been able to succeed in increasing the average ticket per passenger by half a product,” he says. The penetration rate depends on the dwell time that people have in the airport, and some airports in its portfolio are better than others. Panama is not the best airport for dwell time, notes Orillac, because the main carrier is Copa Airlines and the average connecting time is 56 minutes, which offers very little time for shopping. Here,