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Wuhan Tianhe International Airport re-opens for business

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Wuhan Tianhe International Airport in China has begun handling commercial flights again and Lagardère Travel Retail has responded by re-opening its stores at the gateway, ending a 76-day lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The travel retailer notes that “stringent hygiene and security measures remain in place to protect staff and travellers”.

For the first time in over two months, Lagardère Travel Retail’s 88 retail and food & beverage outlets at Wuhan Tianhe International airport opened for business on April 8.

This re-opening followed the decision by the Chinese authorities to lift the lockdown on the city of Wuhan, subsequently to a dramatic fall in new reported cases of COVID-19 across the country.

With the airport having reopened to domestic flights for now, Lagardère Travel Retail expects its sales at Wuhan airport to gradually pick up in line with the increasing numbers of inbound and outbound passengers.

To ensure the safety of all customers and staff, Lagardère Travel Retail has put in place strict hygiene and safety measures which include the use of protective equipment, personal hygiene protocols, temperature screening, the thorough and regular disinfection of all facilities, and social-distancing measures.

In recognition of their outstanding work and self-sacrifice under unprecedented circumstances, all medical workers flying out of Wuhan will enjoy free meals at 16 restaurants and cafés in the terminal as well as other shopping privileges for the entire month of April.

Commenting on the announcement, Eudes Fabre, CEO of Lagardère Travel Retail China, said: “Our ability to restart operations at Wuhan airport is testament to the dramatic improvement in the sanitary conditions in Hubei province.

“I wish to thank our staff and business partners for their patience and stoicism throughout this crisis. This re-opening sends a strong message of hope and optimism to all in our industry who are affected by the current epidemic.

“Traffic volumes are still below what they were pre-crisis, but we’re already seeing an upward trend. After a long lockdown period, people are keen to travel again and there is pent-up consumer demand which will translate into retail sales.

“Although it will take time to return to normality, I am optimistic about the future of our business here in Wuhan and more broadly in China. I hope this good news can provide comfort and confidence to those in other countries that better days are ahead of us.”

Lagardère Travel Retail has been running airport stores in mainland China since 2007 and is the largest international travel retail operator in China.

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