UK Government to end tax-free airport sales in January

By Airports, FeaturedNo Comments

In what has been described as a “hammer blow’ to the UK’s ailing aviation industry, the UK Government is set to end tax-free sales at airports, as well as sea ports and Eurostar stations from 1 January 2021.

With the Brexit transition period coming to an end this year, the government has justified its decision by citing concerns over how the benefit is passed on to passengers and in some instances, the relief is not consistent with international tax principles.

In addition, the VAT retail export scheme, which enables EU visitors to claim refunds on goods purchased in the UK will also be withdrawn from the beginning of 2021.

The Airport Operators Association (AOA) has criticised the move as “needlessly harming an industry in peril.”

Karen Dee, AOA’s CEO commented that, “The Government have once again shown a complete lack of awareness for the jobs and businesses on the line in the aviation sector Our industry is weathering the worst crisis in the history of civil aviation, it can scarcely afford another hammer blow like this.”

She added that by removing the airside statutory concession, the government is harming the revenue of retailers and ultimately airports. “Passengers will be disincentivised from making purchases as they travel through the UK.

“Many foreign visitors will now choose to go elsewhere, attracted by the beneficial tax and excise regimes of our European competitors. This will harm not only UK airports, but the high street stores that hugely benefit from tourists.”

The AOA is urging the government to reconsider its proposal and “act in partnership with its once world-beating aviation industry to secure jobs, businesses and livelihoods across the country.”

Dallas Fort Worth enhances in-airport dining experience

By Airports, FeaturedNo Comments

Airport e-commerce platform, Grab, has launched its ‘bring your own device’ Order at Table (OAT) technology at Dallas Fort Worth International Airport.

OAT technology allows passengers travelling through the airport the convenience and control of ordering and paying for food from their own devices without the need to download an app. Customers  can order and pay digitally, or solely use contactless payment to pay their bill by scanning a unique QR code or tapping an NFC tag on their seat. They can browse menus, place food orders and pay their bill all from their own device, therefore removing the typically high-touch aspects of the sit-down dining experience.

“In this new normal, the importance of contactless technology and the ability to digitally order at any location is no longer a luxury, but a necessity,” said Jeff Livney, CEO at Grab. “As US airports see enplanements come back, we hope our platform will help to ease the stress of travelling while health and safety concerns are at the front of mind for travellers.”

Meanwhile, Pat Banducci, CCO at SSP America, added: “Technology will play a key role in the recovery of the travel experience. Through our partnership with Grab, we look to continue to help facilitate that recovery by implementing self-order and pay solutions to drive the business forward.”

The launch of Grab at Dallas Fort worth follows the announcement at the end of June that Grab had partnered with in-airport food and retail delivery leader AtYourGate to provide a range of services to help the aviation industry and passengers as airports around the world reopen to commercial passengers. The strategic partnership will allow airports to provide both pick-up and delivery at participating food and beverage as well as retail concessions.

Speaking in June, Livney emphasised that the partnership is “designed to support the industry as we face some of the toughest challenges we’ve ever seen. Having contactless ordering options during this health crisis is no longer just a ‘nice to have’ and they are going to be fundamental to the way we all do business going forward. We’re confident the combination of the Grab platform technology and integration with AtYourGate’s delivery capabilities will enhance the passenger journey while making operations smoother, scalable and more efficient and therefore more commercially viable for airport concessionaires.”