Mar 20, 2007
Airport boss wants more retail sales in terminal; Smith says vendor monopoly stifles purchases by fliersBy Michael O'

People at Cleveland’s airport spend a lot less on food, drink and gifts than people at the nation’s other airports, and airport Director Ricky Smith blames contracts that give one company a monopoly.

Smith said Monday he plans to generate more retail sales – and airport revenue – through new vendor contracts when they expire this year and in 2009.

Out of the largest 50 airports across the nation, he said, Cleveland Hopkins International Airport ranks 45th in the amount of retail dollars passengers spend in terminals while waiting for flights.

At Hopkins, which is strapped with $1 billion in debt, a passenger spends an average of $5.50, he said.

“Every passenger should be spending about $11,” he told a meeting of reporters and editors at The Plain Dealer Monday. The airport receives a percentage of sales once the concessions meet minimum thresholds.

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