Seeking new & innovative dining experiences: Cairns Airport to issue T2 F&B tenders

AUSTRALIA. Cairns Airport is preparing to invite local and international F&B operators to tender for 11 food & beverage outlets at Terminal 2.

The chosen line-up will encompass some 1,500sq m of floor space, which will be phased in during 2019.

T2 is one of Australia’s best commercially performing domestic terminals, the airport company said. This is driven by a unique passenger mix, with 37% of passengers being international visitors (who have entered Australia via other ports such as Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane).

Some 10% of the total domestic traffic in T2 is from China, currently growing at +26% annually. “Cairns T2 has more Chinese passengers (albeit travelling as domestic passengers) than some other airports in Australia have in their international terminal,” the company said.

Cairns Airport’s overall domestic passenger numbers are also rising strongly. The compound annual growth rate over the past five years of around +4% is over three times the national average.

“We have scoured the region to find the best produce suppliers and we will be providing a database of local produce suppliers to all tenderers” – Cairns Airport Chief Commercial Officer Tracey Groves

This momentum underlines the enduring strength of tourism to Cairns and the Tropical North Queensland region. The area boasts two UNESCO world heritage locations – the Great Barrier Reef and the 180 million year-old Daintree rainforest, the world’s oldest rainforest.

Two airlines from China (China Southern and Hainan Airlines) have recently launched scheduled services to Cairns. And a series of big hotel developments will see the addition of over 1,000 new hotel rooms.

The T2 commercial opportunity at Cairns T2 is further highlighted by almost 80% of traffic being leisure-focused (holidays or visiting friends and relatives). This mix drives “outstanding” dwell time within the terminal (almost two hours on average) and low airline lounge usage, Cairns Airport noted.

“This means T2 passengers have plenty of time to spend in the retail programme and within the F&B outlets,” it commented.

Listening to the consumer voice

Cairns Airport said that it has devised its tender strategy around passenger feedback seeking new and innovative dining experiences.

Cairns Airport Chief Commercial Officer Tracey Groves said: “We have structured the F&B opportunity as two packages of five outlets each. Each package will include a QSR [quick service restaurant], two food court outlets, a kiosk and either a bar or a casual dining outlet.

“These packages have been structured to provide each of two operators with a substantial business at Cairns Airport so that they can invest to deliver on the passengers’ expectations. We are inviting both existing and new operators to put forward their best proposals.

“We would also like to showcase the wonderful local produce from the region in our F&B menus. To this end, we have scoured the region to find the best produce suppliers and we will be providing a database of local produce suppliers to all tenderers,” Groves said.

“We have also reserved one substantial location in the terminal for an iconic local offering. Our objective is to give departing passengers one last chance to experience the best of the diverse and exciting Cairns and Tropical North Queensland foodie scene,” Groves added.

Request for Proposal information will be issued in the coming weeks. For more information on upcoming F&B opportunities, please contact Fraser Reynolds from The Mercurius Group, which is managing the tender on behalf of Cairns Airport.


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