Aer Rianta International-Middle East puts staff safety first

BAHRAIN. The outbreak of war in Iraq is very close to home on every level for Middle Eastern duty free retailers. Speaking this morning to The Moodie Report, Aer Rianta International-Middle East managing director John Sutcliffe spoke poignantly of the effect on business and on staff.

“As I write, the war has just begun,” he said. “Obviously, everyone is very concerned and we are hoping that we will see a short conflict, with little or no blood shed.”

But with traffic levels falling quickly (see The Iraq Crisis – Global Travel Retail Update for all the latest flight information), retailers are seeing a seriously negative effect on spending, Sutclifffe added.

“There is a major downturn in our business, varying from location to location,” he commented. “Safety of my team is my number one concern, but so far there has been no reason to withdraw my staff, with the exception of Kuwait. We shall just have to wait and see, and hope that the situation becomes clear as quickly as possible.”

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