Alpha Airports Group will complete the first phase of its £2.5 million investment into Birmingham International Airport today following its successful regain of the tax and duty-free concession contract last year.

The investment sees the tax and duty-free provision in Terminal One double in size - up from 6,000 sq ft to 12,000 sq ft - and is part of an ongoing major investment by Birmingham International Airport into improved passenger facilities in both terminal buildings.

All 100 Alpha staff have been transferred from the former units, with an additional 17 perfume consultants recruited.

Work on Terminal Two is under way - Alpha aims to open its new store in spring 2006.

David King, group retail director of Alpha Airports Group, said: "We have worked with Birmingham International Airport for over 30 years now, so to regain our contract was fantastic news.

"Birmingham is a core business for us - especially as the airport has such terrific growth potential."

Under Alpha's current investment programme for Terminal One, the duty-free, perfume and accessories offerings have all been moved into one store.

A Eurocave has been installed to allow the new range of fine wines to be stored at the correct temperature and a tasting bar has been introduced to allow sampling of key products prior to purchase.

A white sprits wall has also been installed at the rear of the store and the cigar range has been significantly increased.

Guess, Firetrap and Levi are among the new clothing brands joining names such as Lulu Guinness, Prada, Versace and Pilgrim in the expanded specialities area.

Mr King said: "The improvements into Terminal One will make a huge difference to the passenger experience. Thanks to the increased space our product offering is significantly better and the atmosphere more conducive to shopping.

"Our store was designed to reflect the look and feel of the country's top department stores - people will definitely notice a marked difference."

Richard Heard, Birmingham International Airport's managing director, said: "The new Alpha tax and duty-free offering in T1 is the flagship of our current development programme to improve passenger facilities.

"The stylish and innovative design of the new outlet, together with extensive mix of merchandise, will provide a more enjoyable shopping experience for our customers and is certain to offer something for every taste.

"The airport has built a strong partnership with Alpha over the last 20 years of successful projects at Birmingham International Airport.

"This new concession marks a major step forward in the facilities at the airport and we look forward to continuing to develop our partnership with Alpha."