Sydney Airport duty free gets a traveller-friendly facelift

By David Flynn, May 10 2016
Sydney Airport duty free gets a traveller-friendly facelift

Sydney Airport duty free has become a bit more hassle-free over the past twelve months.

Gone is the bottleneck of the old SYD Duty Free store, which funnelled passengers from the security screening channels through a snaking path cluttered by shelves of cosmetics and alcohol.

In its place: more room for passengers, with better signposting to departure gates and lounges.

But here's the twist: working with global specialist Heinemann, Sydney Airport has more than doubled the size of its duty free footprint, and sales are reported to be on the up now that travellers can browse and buy in a more relaxing environment.

Heinemann's superior layout "definitely" encourages shopping says Constantin Wiesmann, Managing Director of Heinemann Australia.

"When you travel from any international airport, having space after getting through security and customs and then having a pleasant time airside is a crucial part of the journey” Wiesmann tells Australian Business Traveller.

Heinemann took over the duty free franchise at Sydney Airport's T1 international terminal in February 2015, and describes the revamped departures zone as "more of a department store or an emporium within an airport."

At more than 8,000m2 of retail real estate in the main departure zone, it's also said to be the world's largest duty free store.

"Sydney Airport also opened up some areas which were not visible to passengers before” Wiesmann says, with some of that area being used to add "integrated restaurants" plus a new Men@Work area featuring men’s grooming products, fashion and accessories.

Australian, Chinese and New Zealand travellers take the top three spots in Sydney Airport's duty free shopping stakes, Wiesmann says, and adds that Heinemann hopes to expand its Australian presence.

"I'm sure there will be other opportunities in the region, and we will decide when the time comes to look at those more closely."

Also read: Sydney Airport's handy but little-known T1 shortcut and Three great whiskies to buy duty-free

Follow Australian Business Traveller on Twitter: we're @AusBT 


David Flynn is the Editor-in-Chief of Executive Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.


03 May 2013

Total posts 670

Now Heinman PLEASE make your alcohol truly 'duty free'.

Your prices leave much to be desired even taking into account larger bottle sizes.


Emirates Airlines - Skywards

30 Nov 2015

Total posts 730

1 litre bottles should be standard size, why is it the local grog shop doesn't do the bigger size you get at Duty Free's.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

18 Feb 2015

Total posts 124

It's almost always cheaper to buy alcohol outside Australia and fly it back. 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

26 Jun 2015

Total posts 7

Let's hope there is an increased number of pay stations to deal with the ever increaing lines of shoppers especially in the mornings!

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

17 Dec 2014

Total posts 6

Can't bear that they charge 1.5% to use credit cards and $1 for sealed plastic bags to get the purchases through customs and security.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer - Chairmans Lounge

01 Sep 2011

Total posts 413

there will always be a catch, wont there :) It is pretty cheap of them.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

03 Jan 2013

Total posts 59

Mixed feelings.  It's frustrating that the limit for spirits is 2.25 litres and the product offering is generally 1 litre bottles and lots of 200ml bottles. Stocking 700ml versions would allow people to buy 3 bottles. I do recall 1125ml bottles a few years back......

Incidently, i bought 3 bottles of 700ml Bombay Saphire in Cambodia for US$10 each (and it was genuine) which put Australian duty free to shame - a twin pack of 1 litre Bombay is $AUD65 - almost double!

Their arrivals store has limited stock and is routinely out of common items.

Dan Murphy is cheaper for all wine especially champagne!

Anyone who buys chocolate there is a fool.

Clinique products are genuinely cheaper and closer to US pricing compared to the obscene retail prices we pay.

Their website is misleading and not user friendly and if you order for an on-arrival pick-up you have to order 48 hours in advance - First Duty Free allows you 24 hours.

Staff are friendly and genuinely helpful - i had an issue where I was sold a 'tester' by mistake, Heinemann staff fell over themselves to rectify the problem.

Also, IMHO it's a monopoly to grant one operator a sole concession - they should allow at least two operators so consumers have a choice.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

29 Jul 2013

Total posts 204

I can't remember the last time I actulally went for a browse, let alone a purchase, in an airport Duty Free shop! Certainly not at any Australian airport anyway! It will be good to not have to run the gauntlet at SYD to get from Immigration and Security to the lounge, these layout changes are an improvement, that's for sure.

United Airlines - Mileage Plus

17 Feb 2016

Total posts 45

Beware the display price Vs scanned price. I stopped by to grab a 'cheap' pair of Sony headphones yesterday. Then floor display stated $120 reduced to $99. I grabbed a pair and they scanned at $120. After 5 mins of 'checking' they agreed to manually enter the lower price. I suggested that they should update their system and was told that they couldn't. Im guessing that anyone else who purchased the same set potnetially paid the higher price... 

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