Retail giant Westfield has its sights set on turning many of the world’s airports into upscale shopping environments as the company seeks to build on its success story at Los Angeles' Tom Bradley International Terminal.
Countless Australian travellers will have passed through TBIT at LAX – the terminal used by Qantas and Virgin Australia, among others – which underwent a facelift in conjunction with Westfield in 2013 and now feels like more of a classy brand mall than a concrete-clad airport terminal.
But this doesn't mean turning every terminal into the same template-driven identikit mall.
"The last thing (travellers) leave with is not a ubiquitous mall" explains Westfield Executive Vice President Dominic Lowe. "Not an airport that looks like every other airport – they leave with the taste of the city they are in."
That's certainly the case with TBIT, where massive video screens and other installation art inside the terminal nods to the early days of Hollywood.
The company's Westfield Airports division also wants to encourage more focus on the entire passenger experience from check-in through to take-off.
Travellers “want a seamless journey, one that's connected physically and digitally, (and) one that's personalised to reduce the uncertainty, stress and tension today's air travellers face," Lowe continues.
With that in mind, the experience after clearing security and while travellers await their flight needs to look beyond simply overloading the terminal with shops, and rather take heed of the local city and environment to bring about a unique mix and a memorable journey.
Beyond TBIT, Westfield is now working on upgrades for Los Angeles' Terminals 1, 2 and 6 with new amenities, retail and dining options, and is active at the airports of other major cities including New York, Chicago and Texas.
Westfield’s Terminal 2 design includes "a meandering retail and duty-free hub that connects to a dining terrace" and an open, flowing dining and shopping district dubbed The Strand.
At Terminal 6 it's all about LA's Sunset Boulevard, with the aim of "replicating the experience of traveling along Sunset Blvd. from downtown Los Angeles to the Pacific Coast Highway."
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