When is an Airport not an Airport?

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Munich Airport: Shopping Area

Munich Airport: Shopping Area

The answer is when it is a major host of events or a shopping mall or even a restaurant complex. And which airport am I talking of? Munich Airport in southern Germany which has decided that it needs to be more than an airport in order to add to what marketing people love to call, “the customer experience.”

When you think of southern Germany and Bavaria, even Munich, one thing that comes to everybody’s mind is the Oktoberfest, that beer drinking festival so beloved of students and real ale followers. Well Munich Airport has its own microbrewery within the airport complex – Airbrau. But to follow that Bavarian tradition it has its own beer garden as well. Except that theirs is a roof garden utilising the largest roof area in the airport.

But it is a large provider of events which would rival our NEC. 800 tons of sand was brought in to provide the surface for a polo match. Each Christmas they hold a traditional Christmas market there complete with an ice skating rink.

And as for shopping… there are 46 restaurants in the airport complex plus hundreds of shops. There are the upmarket designer shops that all airports wherever they are in the world seem to enjoy as well as more traditional Bavarian outlets. To encourage shoppers to visit, the airport offers 5 hours free parking time. And if you drive there in a Porsche and fly out they provide free parking which, I suppose, is a part promotion for Porsche. But the other car makers aren’t left out. BMW has a repair centre and a safety training centre there and Audi have used for promotions for the A6 model.

Rainer Beeck of the airport outlined these different functions of his airport at the Passenger Terminal Expo this morning. Could the addition of all these services explain why Munich is the fastest growing airport in Germany?

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