The American cable news channel CNN is looking to connect with business travellers as it launched yesterday the world's first CNN Traveller cafe in Abu Dhabi International Airport.
CNN Traveller hopes to keep flyers busy with a news ticker displaying the latest headlines above the counter and a series of television sets.
"This is the first CNN Traveller cafe worldwide,” said Rani Raad, the chief commercial officer at CNN International. "Engaging with business travellers was a natural fit for us, as a channel that talks for consumers on the go effectively.”
The news channel said it planned to open its second branch at Dubai International Airport next spring.
For CNN, the cafe offers an opportunity to diversify its target audience by tapping into wider demographics.
"Many of the leading news channels in the US are walking away from the older demographic, because it is becoming harder to grow this audience,” said Mr Raad, adding that the choice of an airport as a location was a good fit for the company.
Abu Dhabi and Dubai airports are evolving into global hubs, serving as connecting points.
In the first 10 months of this year, travellers passing through Abu Dhabi reached 16.5 million, up 20.5 per cent compared to the same period in 2013. The airport is anticipating 25 million passengers in 2015.
Meanwhile, Dubai airport is expected to clock up 71 million passengers by the end of the year, putting it on track to surpass London Heathrow as the world's busiest airport for international passengers.
In terms of growth plans for the cafe brand, CNN could potentially open a branch in Abu Dhabi's new Midfield Terminal Building due to open in 2017. However, no decision has yet been made.
CNN operates cafes in Japan and Korea, but without the "traveller” brand. CNN Cafes in the Far East offer educational facilities such as English-language courses.
The cable news channel opened its Middle East office in Abu Dhabi in 2009.
Source: The National