Jersey Lounge Officially Opened

Jersey Airport’s new airside departures lounge was unveiled on Friday September 11, 2009, at a ceremony attended by the island’s Chief Minister, Senator Terry Le Sueur.  Accompanied by the Minister for Economic Development, Senator Alan Maclean and Assistant Minister, Senator Paul Routier, the Chief Minister was taken on a tour around the facilities by the Airport Director, Julian Green, before being invited to officially open the new venture.
The six-month redevelopment project has involved an overall transformation of the airside departures lounge, demonstrating a commitment by Jersey Airport to deliver a quality product to departing passengers.  The transformation of the lounge has included the introduction of a new and enlarged Duty Free area, as well as the creation of a contemporary new bar and catering outlet, specialising in fresh Jersey produce.  Alongside existing concessionaire WH Smith, the new departures lounge has also had the addition of three new retail outlets.  One of the new shops will be jointly occupied by Jersey Pottery and La Mare Wine Estate.  Another will be taken by existing airport concessionaire Jersey Pearl and negotiations continue with a third retailer, the name of which will be announced when the contract has been finalised.
The £4m (US$4.6m) redevelopment project comes as a result of a ‘one-off’ offer of private investment to improve passenger facilities, following recent changes in ownership by the companies such as World Duty Free (WDF) and Auto Grill Catering UK, who have the franchise for the food and beverage areas.
The investment has been welcomed by Senator Routier, who said on behalf of Jersey Airport: “The overall investment by all the parties involved represents great confidence in Jersey and Jersey Airport, and is a testament to the strength of the business partnership that now exists between us and our retail and catering operators.”
His sentiments were echoed by Director of Retail Operations at World Duty Free, Fred Creighton, who said: “We were delighted to have this opportunity to work in close partnership with Jersey Airport, to help them achieve their vision of improving the customer experience they deliver.  This was our chance to bring the recognised World Duty Free brand to Jersey and give customers a first class shopping experience.”
The Managing Director of Autogrill Catering UK, Andrew Guy, was equally enthusiastic and paid tribute to the many local suppliers his company is working with.  “Our food development team have worked hard to source as many local products as possible and we are proud to be associated with suppliers so passionate about their products.”
During the launch, which was also attended by guests from the business community and hospitality industry, Senator Le Sueur said: “As the Treasury Minister then, I was first approached towards late 2008 by the airport authorities to approve funding for this ambitious redevelopment programme.  At a time of economic uncertainty it may have seemed somewhat strange for any of us to make such an investment in the difficult times the world is currently facing.  However, the foresight and ambition shown by our business partners to make this investment was something we willingly supported.  Each of them has committed significant funds of their own to make these new facilities possible, culminating in an ambitious project that was delivered on time and within budget.”
As the Chief Minister wished airport business partners every future success, he invited them to join him in cutting the ribbon before a champagne toast was raised.
During the morning, both the guests and departing passengers were able to sample a number of products available through World Duty Free. These included fragrances, wines, champagnes and liqueurs. Musical entertainment was provided by popular UK singer Ben Montague who performed a number of times throughout the morning.
Alongside the new retail and catering facilities, the airside departures lounge also boasts a central seating area, which has the added benefit of a small stage, allowing more entertainment to be staged in the future.