While two new duty-free shop operators for Incheon International Airport have been selected, the selection process is causing a controversy.
On May 31, the Incheon Internation Airport Corporation (IIAC) has selected Hotel Shilla and Shinsegae DF as the finalists for the new duty-free shops in the DF1 and DF5 zones in the first passenger terminal.
The two shop operators were selected out of four competing bidders. Besides the two finalists, Lotte Duty-Free and Doosan submitted propositional bids for the selection. However, while IIAC has made their decision, many are surprised at Lotte’s failure to be a finalist. Given that the company offered the highest bid among the four contenders.
Lotte offered 280.5 billion won for DF1 zone and 68.8 billion for DF5. On the other hand, finalist Shinsegae DF submitted a 276.2 billion and 60.8 billion won proposals for the same areas, respectively. Likewise, Shilla also had lower offers. For DF1 they bid 222.2 billion and 49.6 billion for DF5. In contrast, Lotte put in a bit that was 60 billion won more than Shilla for the DF1 zone.
Industry sources estimate that the IIAC gave Lotte a perfect score in terms of bidding amount. However, the problem probably came down to business proposals. Nonetheless, Lotte has been the industry leader for a long time. With its elimination, some are suspicious of foul-play and a preference for Shinsegae DF who withdrew from Gimpo Airport in 2016.
In response to the decision, Lotte has requested that IIAC disclose the scores of the detailed evaluations. In reply, the IIAC said that their external evaluation committee is proceeding with the examination. So far, the committee hasn’t discovered a problem. Moreover, they have refused to reveal criteria and scores.
Translated by O.C
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