Passengers pampered at Emirates Lounge BIA | Daily News


Passengers pampered at Emirates Lounge BIA

More than six years after it welcomed its first passenger, the Emirates Lounge at Sri Lanka’s Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) continues to validate the airline’s mantra for First and Business Class travel: a truly premium experience even before an aircraft is boarded. Some 222,000 passengers have spent more than 333,000 hours at this plush haven of comfort and tranquillity in an otherwise bustling and at times frenetic terminal over the past six years, dining, enjoying a pre-departure drink or brew, or using the Wi-Fi to complete some work or correspondence before emplaning for outbound flights.

One of just 31 facilities of its kind when it was opened in 2012, the Emirates Lounge at the BIA is now a member of a network of 42 Emirates lounges at major airports around the world, one of the largest such networks owned by a global airline.

It was the first dedicated lounge set up by an international airline at the BIA, and entailed an investment of Rs 200 million at that time. Providing a picture-window view of an extensive section of the apron, the lounge can seat up to 118 people in comfort at any given time, and has 58 leather armchairs, a dining area for 54 people, a Business Centre with seating for six, a well-stocked self-serve bar, a TV viewing area with the choice of most of the international channels, a dedicated prayer room, shower facilities, and washrooms for males, females and accessible. It offers hot and cold buffet dining for all meals, a dessert bar and a tea and coffee bar featuring six different types of tea from Dilmah. “Sri Lankans need not look beyond their own airport for a perfect example of Emirates’ offering for premium-segment travellers,” says Chandana de Silva, the airline’s Area Manager – Sri Lanka & Maldives. “Busy airports require passengers to arrive as much as three hours ahead of their flights, and this lounge is a perfect oasis to relax in after the drive to their airport and the navigation of security, check-in and immigration. Our statistics for the past six years show that passengers spend an average of one and a half hours at the lounge before they take the short walk to the boarding gate.”

About 30 per cent of the users of the Emirates Lounge at the BIA are Sri Lankans who are travelling First or Business Class or are Platinum or Gold Members of Skywards, Emirates’ award-winning frequent flyer programme. Dining, beverages, Wi-Fi and washrooms are the most widely used facilities, and passenger feedback indicates that users appreciate the wide choice and quality provided by the buffet of Sri Lankan and international dishes. The menus change four times in a year, ensuring variety even for frequent travellers.

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