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The Metropolitan Nashville Airport Authority (MNAA) Board of Commissioners has awarded a 10-year concessions contract to Fraport USA.

The goal, according to the authority, is to “dramatically improve the concessions experience” through a new business model that allows Nashville restaurateurs and retailers to independently operate and fully control their restaurants and shops at Nashville International Airport (BNA). The new program approach will require street pricing and will focus on local restaurants and retail shops.

“From listening to our passengers and the community at large, it became clear that the time had come to reimagine BNA’s concessions program,” says A. Dexter Samuels, chair of the authority’s Board of Commissioners. “After a careful and comprehensive planning, research and competitive bid process, Fraport was awarded the concessions contract and will implement a program that brings local restaurant owners and retailers to the airport that will truly transform our passengers’ experience. BNA will soon be home to some of the well-known names that put Nashville’s culinary scene on the map, as well as smaller, more diverse restaurants and shops that make Nashville distinctive.”

The airport authority notes that the previous concessions model “generally did not allow for” independent, local ownership of the concessions and retail shops at BNA.

The concession contract includes the design, construction, lease and management of approximately 69,000 square feet of concessions space throughout BNA. Fraport will lease space to local business owners who will independently manage their restaurants and shops.

“We want BNA to reflect our great city in every way possible, and we’re proud to say that this new concessions agreement will serve to create a more authentic Nashville experience at the airport,” says Doug Kreulen, MNAA president and CEO. “The moment you arrive at BNA, we want it clear that this is Music City, with the sights, sounds and tastes the Nashville brand implies. This new model will amplify the experience for travelers, while also providing new opportunities for chefs, restaurateurs and entrepreneurs of all kinds.”

The new program is also designed to increase opportunities for disadvantaged businesses. The airport authority has set a goal for 22.6 percent involvement of Airport Concessions Disadvantaged Business Enterprises, but the new concessions agreement will ultimately produce ACDBE participation of 40 percent over the life of the contract.

“We’re excited to begin working with the airport authority and look forward to creating a breakthrough program that elevates the customer experience at Nashville International Airport,” said Ben Zandi, Fraport president and CEO. “This is Music City, and we have set our sights high in terms of bringing that star quality to the travel experience. We aim to set a new standard for passenger satisfaction at BNA.”

Leasing and construction will begin Feb. 1, 2019, with an anticipation of new restaurants and retail shops opening later the same year.