DESIGN SPECIAL – AIR
AIR – The Airport View
With more than 500 seats inside and 380 on an outdoor terrace, AIR is the largest restaurant at Zürich Airport. The premises of the former restaurant has been completely redesigned to now boast an interior that is reminiscent of the golden age of air travel, and specifically the iconic design of the Lockheed Super Constellation airliner.
“The restaurant AIR is our first themed restaurant,” says Zürich Airport Head of Retail Heidi Köpple. “On the terrace and all along the panoramic façade, visitors, passengers, and staff can observe the airport hustle and bustle on the apron.”
Zürich Airport wanted a themed restaurant that emphasised people’s fascination with aviation. It worked with Autogrill, Detail Design and other partners to create a special concept that is also an experience – with open-show kitchens.
They also wanted the restaurant to double-up as a replacement for the staff catering units.
“In our opinion, we have definitely achieved this goal – the restaurant AIR is very popular with employees, passengers and visitors,” Köpple says.
Zurich Airport Head of Retail Heidi Köpple
Multifunctional solution: The restaurant works on many levels, providing dining options for travellers and airport employees, individuals and groups
“Guests appreciate the varied dishes – there is something for every taste: changing daily dishes, pizza, burrito, Asian wok, salads, various grilled and veggie buffets and always new dishes at the pop-up counter. The gastronomic newcomer Holy Cow! rounds off the range with Swiss burgers; and baked goods of all kinds are freshly prepared daily at AIR Bakery.”
AIR was planned and delivered rapidly. The concept development and the construction was completed in less than six months.
One of the biggest challenges was creating a restaurant that worked for airport employees and passengers, but that was easy to navigate.
The original target was to have a 50/50 guest mix (today, 48% of customers are employees).
The restaurant was also an opportunity for the airport to introduce digitalisation into dining – in the form of digital menu boards, self-checkout tills, order kiosks and a digital app platform for employees to receive a daily meal deal.
“We attach great importance to the gastronomic offer, a good mix of different offers, and also to the appearance of the restaurants and cafes”
Köpple adds that airports such as Zürich are increasingly becoming “places to linger”, with half of their daily visitors being not only passengers and employees, but commuters and visitors, too.
“It's important to differentiate between what's on offer in the public area and what's on offer in the passenger area, and to be able to present guests with the desired offer at the right time and place,” she says.
“To this end, we are constantly working with suitable local and international partners to maintain the mix of offers at a high level of quality.”
“As a quality airport in Europe, we attach great importance to the gastronomic offer, a good mix of different offers, and also to the appearance of the restaurants and cafes.”
The popular buffet bar continues the retro aesthetic and aviation signatures, like these taxiway lines that also provide innovative signage
“The FAB Award is the most important and respected Award of the F&B industry and it’s our daily target to compete with the best”