Airport outlet offers a solution for shoppers

PUBLISHED : Monday, 21 August, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 21 August, 2006, 12:00am

Retailers at Chek Lap Kok hit by the ban on taking liquids on aircraft bound for Britain and the United States have found a solution - a new counter selling high-end perfumes and cosmetics where travellers can buy them before they check in their baggage.

But the new outlet has not found complete favour with all customers, with some saying the prices are too high.

Since the alleged terror plot to blow up airlines with the use of everyday liquids, passengers travelling to Britain and the US are no longer allowed to carry liquids such as water, alcohol and perfume in their hand luggage.

However, the new counter cannot sell alcohol or tobacco, which are taxed in Hong Kong, while perfume is not. An Airport Authority spokesman said the arrangements for the sale of such taxed products would take longer.

The authority said this ban had had little impact on sales at the airside outlets as flights to Asian destinations comprised the majority of departures. A spokesman said that daily departing flights to the US and Britain formed less than 5 per cent of the total. Asians accounted for approximately 70 per cent of the outbound traffic, he said.

The authority said that due to the security alert in the US, major American airlines such as Northwest had banned sales of duty free products in liquid form.

Lorna Frattini, who stopped over in Hong Kong for two days on her way from London to Sydney, said she had to discard her cosmetics in London and wanted to buy some more.

But she walked out of the store after trying out a few perfumes.

'It would be a great convenience if the [products] were reasonably priced,' said the 38-year-old, who thought HK$850 for a large bottle of Chanel No 5 was too high.

Lee Ong-ling, a 24-year-old fashion design student from Malaysia, also said that the new counter was convenient but cosmetics sold at stores in the city centre such as Sasa and Bonjour were a lot cheaper.