Beginning this week, international passengers flying out of IGI airport’s terminal 3 (T3) will be able to get a little high free of cost on ground itself by tasting whisky and other spirits from the duty free shop. The first of its kind move at an Indian airport to let passengers try and choose what they should buy will begin with Scottish single malt Talisker (12 year) that will be filled in a barrel specially flown in from the highlands.
The Delhi Duty Free Service Pvt Ltd (DDFS), a joint venture (JV) of Delhi airport and Aer Rianta International which started the world’s first duty free shop at Shannon airport way back in 1947, is banking heavily on T3’s global appeal to reverse the age-old practice of international flyers buying liquor and other stuff from airports abroad before flying back to India. Since it knows that nothing has caught the Indian traveller’s fancy like good old liquor, that’s the segment being targeted first. The JV could well have tweaked Dubai’s famous `fly, buy Dubai’ tagline to `try, buy and fly’!
Bacardi also wants to offer samples of its whacky cocktails to fliers and has set up a desk right at the entrance of the duty free area. The free tasting may begin by this week itself once customs give their nod on the condition that empty bottles are shown to them after filling the barrel (to meet legal requirements) and the brands being offered would keep getting changed depending on the season. So Christmas may see Irish cream Baileys being sipped freely.
DDFS CEO Nicholas Goddard-Palmer says that the first 26 days of T3’s operation has seen arriving passengers account for 60% of entire duty free sales. Of this, a big 70% sale is of liquor. “Our prices are regularly benchmarked with Dubai and Singapore. We keep an eye on duty free prices at London Heathrow also. Overall liquor accounts for 54% of entire duty free business at T3,” he said. The fliers’ choice is very clear with $34 apiece Johnnie Walker Black Label flying most off the shelf, followed by similarly priced Chivas Regal (12 year) and then the $19 apiece JW Red Label.