Inside Sydney Airports, Massive McDonalds Makeover | Video

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Not a fries or a Big Mac in sight, this McDonald’s has had a pretty dark 18 months. But in the next few days, everything will change.

Not a fries or a Big Mac in sight, this McDonald’s is a far cry from the McHappy restaurant it is meant to be.

Typically serving tens of thousands of customers about to board a plane bound for their European adventures or on business in Singapore, the restaurant at Sydney International Airport – along with neighboring retailers and cafes – has been forced to go out of business for the majority of the past two years.

With the end of overseas travel throughout the pandemic, in recent months only 1% of pre-pandemic foot traffic has passed through the airport.

But with international travel restarting on November 1 for vaccinated Australian residents, the burners are back and the golden arches will be lit again as the international terminal welcomes passengers again.

Despite the closure of businesses within the international terminal, this means that the focus has been on the much-needed facelift at the airport.

More than $ 8 million has been spent on upgrading passenger toilets alone – about 300,000 square meters of the terminal have also had a lick of paint.

The baggage system has also been refined to help the terminal handle up to 40,000 outbound bags and 40,000 inbound bags per day as passenger numbers again approach pre-pandemic levels.

Outside, the terminal will also receive an exterior makeover – with the forecourt to feel like the city and have instant connection to get to Sydney.

“It won’t look like an airport,” Sydney Airport CEO Geoff Culbert told news.com.au.

“We tear off a whole bunch of things that clutter up the space …” They [passengers] will go through these arrival gates and everything, wow, my vacation has started. You start to breathe as soon as you arrive.

Mr Culbert said the decision to really accelerate domestic changes was implemented in 2020 when it became clear that the pandemic – and the international travel ban restrictions that followed – were going nowhere.

“We have more than 30 km of conveyor belts below the surface of the airport,” he explained.

“We overhauled this system, which we couldn’t normally do when we’re busy and we can never take this system offline.”

Mr Culbert said that alongside logistics updates around the airport, major changes to the retail space will be in line with new passenger demands in a post-pandemic world.

“I think in a post-Covid world there will be different expectations when it comes to health and cleanliness, and we want to make sure the airport feels like a really safe and clean place to go.”

The overall feel of the terminal has a more upscale feel, with the pandemic leading to more work to create a “luxury shopping center” of 12 high-end brands across the airport – which now has a 10-meter ceiling. high.

Some of the retailers opening in 2022 include Louis Vuitton, Saint Laurent, Dior, Moncler, Loewe, Celine, Bottega Veneta, Prada, Balenciaga, Gentle Monster and two more to be announced.

Mr Culbert said the “anchor” of the terminal’s shopping experience will be the Louis Vuitton store, which will be the brand’s first travel retail store in the southern hemisphere and the largest luxury store autonomous from the airport.

“This is the part of the enhanced travel experience that passengers will want,” Culbert explained, noting that some stores will be open from November 1 while others will gradually reopen as foot traffic increases. .

“Retailers are starting to make their adjustments, and while the reopening is gradual, by the middle of next year everything should be done.

“We now have all the big luxury brands. “

The excitement is certainly back in the air, but reaching the kind of passenger numbers seen in 2019 won’t happen overnight.

“What we are seeing with the front seat capacity in Sydney, we believe we will be over 60% recovered by the end of the year,” Culbert predicted.

“The international will be a little slower. We’ll be back to about 20 or 30 percent by the end of the year, and we’ll grow from there until the new year. “

The airport boss said there were still apprehensions about international flights, as airlines and passengers are still accepting the new parameters for overseas travel.

“They want clarification on the testing patterns and the restrictions that might apply,” Culbert said.

“A huge ability to travel within and outside Australia has been the removal of quarantine [in NSW]. Any form of quarantine is a demand killer, and that is for the Australians who come and go and for the people who come here in general. We’re going to see a significant number of people wanting to enter and leave Australia.

“I think it’s going to be difficult for the jurisdictions that are more stringent, because people are going to exercise the choice on how easy it is to travel. It’s not just here, it’s on a global scale. We are going to be in a global competition for customers.

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