In the spotlight: Ivy Wong

Ivy Wong, Senior Vice President, Airside Concessions, Changi Airport

Meet Ivy


As the Senior Vice President, Airside Concessions Division of Changi Airport Group (CAG) in Singapore, Ivy has the satisfaction of being involved in one of the most successful travel retail operations in Asia. With a remit that includes strategic planning, space development, leasing, operations and promotions for all retail, food & beverage and services on the airport’s airside, how does she find time for any leisure pursuits? Here she provides some insight to her world.

Strategic planning is one of your strengths but has your own education and career to date followed a pre-determined path?

A career in aviation and travel retail was actually an unexpected path. My educational background has been in logistics and operations, and in fact, that was how my stint in aviation got kick-started. The subsequent move into the commercial aspect of the airport business was an outcome of interest and opportunity granted.

Which aspect of your job do you enjoy most?

Developing the business and my team, as well as building relationships with all our partners.

Of which career achievements are you most proud?

Well, aside from double-digit growth in our business over the past few years, it would have to be the building up and evolution of my team, as we journeyed from operating as a government statutory board to a commercial entity due to the corporatisation of Changi Airport in 2009.

In what way do you believe that APTRA can make a difference in the duty free & travel retail industry in Asia and what your priorities for the Association – and retailers within it – in the future?

I think APTRA can bring together the different stakeholders in the industry and represent a stronger voice on issues affecting this industry. Without a representative body, efforts by individual parties to tackle common issues and development in the industry can often be uncoordinated and disjointed, and its effect unfortunately gets dissipated as a result. APTRA has an important role in bridging this gap.

Asia is a fast growing region with many emerging countries and consumer segments. APTRA can play an active role in market research to help share and cascade knowledge across the industry so that the travel retail industry can learn how to serve these new customers better.

Air transport infrastructure in Asia is being developed at a rapid pace in anticipation of continuing growth in passenger numbers. Do you see any clouds on this rosy horizon?

I believe in the long-term fundamentals of this industry, especially in Asia, with the boom of the middle class consumer segment. However, along that journey, the industry is likely to continue to be susceptible to macro-economic factors given the higher volatility and shorter economic cycles experienced nowadays. As such, being well prepared for business contingency and continuity is key to long term success.

With such a busy professional life, how do you spend your leisure time?

My leisure time is mostly dedicated to my family. As a family, we catch up on quality bonding time over daily meals and weekend outings. In between, I try to slot in some ‘me’ or ‘us’ time for myself and with my husband.

Welcome to Butlers Chocolates

Welcome to Butlers Chocolates


Irish confectionery supplier is the first new member to join the association’s ranks this year. The brand, which is present in more than 50 airports worldwide, was founded by an Irish lady who was born in India, Marion Butler, in Dublin in 1932. Bought by Seamus Sorensen in 1959, the company is still a family owned and run business.

The original confectionery line, “Chez nous” was rebranded “Butlers” in 1984 in memory of the company founder.
The company contact for APTRA is Karl Marnane, based in Dubai. His contact details can be found in the members’ only section of the APTRA website.

For more information on Butlers, click here. (

Membership renewal

Membership renewal


APTRA’s Administrative Officer Jazlyn Koh is currently processing the membership renewal payments that are coming in. If you haven’t yet sent your company’s membership renewal payment, we would be grateful if you could process this as early as possible. As you will have read, members are invited to contribute a higher fee (USD 2000 or 3000) if they wish to help provide further support to the association in its advocacy missions and other work.
IMPORTANT: We would ask you, when making the payment, to kindly accept to pay the bank charges. APTRA has in the past lost a significant amount of money from the accumulated charges on bank transfers. While these are not very high (they vary from 20 to 65 USD) when multiplied by a large number of transfers, it amounts to a considerable loss for APTRA.Thank you for your understanding.

Consumer research 2014

Consumer research 2014

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Following the survey conducted among members late last year, for which APTRA would like to thank all those who responded, work is currently in progress to draw up the research strategy for 2014. APTRA is in the process studying the proposals received, which are based on the members’ feedback and take into account the areas already covered in the research in recent years.
More details will be announced in the near future.
Members can access the existing reports on the APTRA website with their personal login and password.

Asia Pacific consumer insights report: Social media usage by airport shoppers

Asia Pacific consumer insights report: Social media usage by airport shoppers


Social media usage by airport shoppers is the theme of this month’s Asia Pacific Consumer Insights update from m1nd-set. Across the sample of 2300 travellers from Asia, unsurprisingly, the majority of travellers have either a Facebook, Twitter or other social media account and they are admittedly regular users, with 72% claiming to be on social media every day. The results of the survey show that there are mixed feelings with regards to an online duty free shopping service or even accessing a duty free retailer’s online shop were it to be available online. Detailed charts illustrating these findings can be found in the members’ only section of the APTRA website.

Indian food and drink labelling

Indian food and drink labelling


APTRA recently took part in a meeting with the FSSAI, India’s Food Safety & Standards Authority, to seek clarification on the labelling and testing rules being applied to duty free consumable goods. The meeting, which was coordinated with the help of the International Spirits & Wine Association of India (ISWAI), was attended by the major retailers and Airport authorities across the country, all of which are being affected by the rules.
Some retailers are facing out of stock issues as consignments are being held up by customs authorities who claim that the goods do not comply to the 2011 labelling and packaging regulations.The industry, represented by APTRA at the meeting, made a submission to the FSSAI appealing the application of the rules to duty free goods based both on a foreign trade act which exempts duty free from such domestic market rules and on previous High Court and Supreme Court rulings acknowledging the special status of the duty free channel.Talks are to continue with the FSSAI in the coming weeks.

Countdown to aviation security rules changes

Countdown to aviation security rules changes


It is only a matter of days before the change in aviation security rules in Europe (the EU + Switzerland, Norway and Iceland), the US, Australia and Canada will take effect. The European Travel Retail Confederation (ETRC), which has been working closely with EU legislators and industry stakeholders on aviation security for several years, issued a set of guidelines late last year advising retailers and suppliers of the implications the change in law will have on the screening of liquids, aerosols and gels (LAGs) and sale of such products in duty free shops to travelers who were previously not able to carry certain duty free goods when transiting through airports in the aforementioned countries. The guidelines have been sent to all concerned APTRA members and are available upon request. ETRC has just released an updated set of guidelines with a set of Q&A for staff to use when required. Please write to [email protected] if you have not yet received these updated guidelines.

As ETRC reports on its website ( the situation post 31 January will be different from market to market with varying restrictions depending on where the traveller is coming from. Any further modifications to the rules will be communicated by ETRC as and when they emerge.