200 restaurants in 10 airports. The airport
retail industry is expected to double in the
next 15 to 20 years, he says. “You’ll see a lot
of opportunity for new airports as well as
redesigning and recreating the experiences
in existing airports to connect the traveler
and provide a great experience.”
The reason for the improvement in the
quality of airport retail is twofold: the mas-
sive increase in the number of travelers and
delays resulting from airline consolida-
tions, according to Joseph Bona, president
of branded environments at New York-
based design firm CBX Retail. “Shopping
is sort of a social behavior even under nor-
mal, everyday life, so airport retail is a way
of getting people to take advantage of the
time they have waiting for delayed flights
or for families on vacation,” he says.
Tightened security requirements also
have changed travelers’ schedules and hab-
its, prolonging the amount of time they
spend in airports. “Pre-9/11, you could
probably get to the airport maybe a half
hour before, sort of run through and just
barely make it on the plane, and you’d be
OK,” Bona recalls. “Well, those days are
In their place has emerged opportunity
for airports, retailers, and airlines with a
customer base that rivals those found on
the street, Blatstein notes.
“Airports and mass transportation hubs
have finally realized that there is an opportunity to capitalize on their captive audience beyond fulfilling their convenience
needs. Thus, airports and train stations
are becoming some of the best shopping
centers anywhere,” says Nick Giammarco,
creative principal of retail strategies for stu-
dio|H2G in Birmingham, Mich.
While an increase in travelers and downtime are fueling growth, airports are doing
more than just responding to these market fluctuations, notes Jeff Henry, principal and design director for Gensler’s San
Francisco office. They’re also fundamentally changing the way they do business.
Airport security needs must be considered.
For this Mattel Experience store at LAX
(Los Angeles), fixtures were fabricated
to be modular for easier TSA inspection.