THE Spanish Airports Authority, AENA, has awarded 13 companies a total of 21 commercial units for new shops and eating areas at Palma's Son Sant Joan airport. Covering an area of more than 2'000 square metres, the developments will be located in Modules A, C, and D, behind the police checkpoints and close to aircraft boarding gates. In April this year, the Airports Authority put out to tender contracts for 22 units, (15 for retail trade and seven for restaurants). The bidding period closed on 24 May. A key player amongst those organisations which were awarded franchise, was Aldeasa which has secured five commercial units in module D and one in module A. This means the company will be able to use 370 square metres of new space at Son Sant Joan. Amongst other winners, McDonald's fast food has been granted 50 square metres in Module C. Most of the new businesses are contentrated in Module D's commercial centre and in the walk-through boulevard of Module A (see graphic). Module C meanwhile will host a hamburger eating house and a pizzeria. The entrance area which came into use at Son Sant Joan's new terminal building in 1997 triggered the redesign of all services operating at the airport, including the commercial area located in the departure zone, in front of the security checkpoints. Tenants of the retail trading outlets here have repeatedly said that the development was a negative one so far as they are concerned. In spite of complaints from the traders who have slammed the Spanish Airports Authority for increasing taxes imposed on them, there has been a slow growth in commercial activity to the point where AENA has opted to diversify trading and spread it throughout the airport.
ON THE “AIR” SIDE
It's worth remembering that the large commercial zone which has been in operation up until now, where Aldeasa and the rest of the shops, bars and restaurants are located, is in front of the security controls on the “land” side. For this reason, and furthered by intentions to boost profit margins, AENA decided to focus on a campaign for winning further business.
It is hoped the venture will help set-off slow trade and falling demand at already-existing outlets.
Once the new development is up and running past the current security checkpoints, passengers will be free to shop extensively near the aircraft boarding gates. This arrangement in itself, is aimed at easing congestion on the present security arrangements as travellers will be able to go through the controls without having had to do any shopping beforehand. They will also be free to eat before boarding the planes. Such a system is already in place at Prat airport in Barcelona and Barajas airport in Madrid.
AENA had been guided in their decision by an independent consultant study which investigated the type of travellers which predominate at Palma airport and what facilities they are looking for. It seemed clear that the opportunity to shop for clothes and luxury goods, or to eat at leisure once past the security checkpoints were much in evidence.

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