Tourvest In-flight Retail Services (TIRS), part of integrated tourism group Tourvest’s Travel Retail division, announced today it has successfully retained the contract to manage the in-flight duty free sales for Kenya Airways.

TIRS CEO Clive Jones said the company retained the contract against stiff competition in a very thorough tender process which included document submissions, presentations and financial negotiations. The tender was contested by TIRS, DFASS – a NAS Servair / Inflight Sales Group (ISG) partnership – and Flemingo.

He believed TIRS was re-awarded the contract thanks to the strength of its ecommerce solution and innovative approach towards taking the in-flight duty free business model forward.

“Client retention forms a critical part of our stated objective of becoming the dominant player in the global retail in-flight sector and we saw the renewal of the Kenya Airways contract as the first real test for our recently strengthened executive,” he said. “It is a great accolade for our Kenyan-based team and a testament to the positive effect the implementation of a series of strategic initiatives has had on the company, which also included entrenching our corporate values and culture within our people.”

“We have enjoyed a long-standing relationship with Kenya’s flagship carrier which, in some ways, made our bid all the more difficult even though we had an in-depth understanding of Kenya Airway’s business. Given the comprehensive process that Kenya Airways led, our retention of the contract is the clearest indication yet that our overall value proposition has been tested and seen to be the best on offer.”

“We are very proud of our association with Kenya Airways and it has been an absolute pleasure dealing with such a professional airline, seeking a partnership based on the equal balance of the basic business fundamentals of service, innovation, trust and mutually beneficial commercial terms.”

Kenya Airways CEO Mbuvi Ngunze added that his airline needed to ensure that it was aligned to global best practice with regards to its in-flight retail offering, which is why it had tested the market through a tender process inviting all the leading global duty-free businesses to participate.

“We were very thorough and TIRS’s overall proposition proved to be the most innovative and forward-thinking of all the bidders,” Ngunze said. “I believe we have partnered with an in-flight retail concessionaire that will help us further differentiate our airline and which is aligned with our corporate culture and our vision for Kenya Airways.”

TIRS, which has received more than 16 international awards, is rated among the top three in-flight duty free sales providers in the world. It packs, loads and tracks over 31 million products every year for eight airlines, operating close to 750 flights a day from six airports across the world. It processes over 1.7 million sales transactions every year. It also holds the concessions for British Airways, South African Airways, SA Express, TAAG, Arik, Interair and Precision.

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