In response to a recent UK media report that some British airport retailers are “pocketing millions of pounds in VAT discounts on duty free items without passing on the savings”, the Dublin Airport Authority has issued the following statement on airport shopping.
“Duty free shopping within the European Union ended in 1999 and last year 81% of passengers using Dublin Airport travelled to duty paid destinations. Within shops operated by daa’s ARI subsidiary, we offer a single price to all customers across many product categories, whether they are travelling to a duty paid or to a duty free destination. In this way, we pass on VAT savings for duty free passengers to all of our customers.
“We guarantee that perfumes, aftershaves and other fragrances are 20% cheaper than downtown prices and we are also 15% cheaper than downtown prices for skincare and make up products. These savings apply to all passengers, regardless of whether or not they are flying to a duty free destination.
“There are two separate prices for most of our alcohol products – the duty paid price and the duty free price, which is significantly cheaper. A one-litre bottle of Jameson whiskey for example is currently priced at €21 duty free and €42 duty paid, while a one-litre bottle of Kilbeggan whiskey is priced at €38 duty paid and €20 duty free.
“Separately, we also have a range of premium liquor brands, including Hendricks Gin, Grey Goose vodka and Coole Swan liqueur, which have a single price for all destinations, whether they are duty free or duty paid. This offers significant discounts on downtown prices to all passengers, whether or not they are travelling to a duty free destination.
“Boarding cards are scanned by ARI for a number of reasons. These include checking whether a passenger is travelling to a duty free or duty paid destination and understanding passenger spending patterns. We use this information in conjunction with other market research to improve the retail offer in our stores, and to help plan staffing levels.
“This information also allows daa to assess the commercial potential of a potential new route or service, as we may have information on historic passenger spends for the destination and/or the airline in question. The only information that is tracked is the item purchased, the airline, and the destination in question.
“daa’s income from its retail activities at Dublin Airport subsidises the airport charges at the airport.”