Emirates' New Colombo Lounge Accorded High-Profile Opening
DUBAI, UAE - A pledge of continued support to Sri Lanka's tourism industry through award-winning air services was one of the highlights of the high-profile formal opening of the Emirates Lounge at the Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA), Katunayaka.
Tim Clark, President of Emirates airline, and Mohammed Mattar, Divisional Senior Vice President Airport Services, joined H.E. Mahmood Mohammed Al-Mahmood, the UAE Ambassador in Sri Lanka, Minister of Economic Development Basil Rajapaksa, Civil Aviation Minister Priyankara Jayaratna and senior aviation sector officials to open the facility, the first to be set up at BIA by an international airline.
Speaking at the event, Mr. Clark said the investment by Emirates of USD 1.5 million in this premium lounge is a further value addition to the airline's offering in Colombo, as well as to the facilities at the BIA. "Emirates is happy to make this investment, which also reflects our optimism about the prospects for growth in post-conflict Sri Lanka," he said. "I understand that more international hotel chains are building in Sri Lanka and that the tourism infrastructure is being upgraded. Sri Lanka will therefore progressively attract tourists from the more affluent segments. MICE traffic is also increasing, and the country is attracting the attention of investors from many parts of the world."
"These developments are of particular relevance to Emirates, which is one of the most active international carriers serving this country," Mr. Clark said. "We look forward to continuing to play a significant role in the growth of Sri Lanka, a country we have served with award-winning air services for 26 years."
In his address, Mr. Mattar said: "For Emirates, passenger comfort is top priority, both in the air and on the ground. This lounge is an illustration of this commitment."
"These dedicated lounges play a very important part in helping cushion our passengers, especially those embarking on long-haul flights, from travel weariness. Every effort is taken, therefore, to understand the needs of air travellers and to exceed their expectations in meeting them," Mr. Mattar said.
Designed, equipped and furnished to the exacting specifications developed for Emirates lounges at 28 other major international airports around the world, the 5,778-square-foot Emirates Lounge at the BIA can accommodate up to 118 passengers in comfort. It is for the exclusive use of the airline's First Class and Business Class passengers and Gold members of Skywards, Emirates' frequent flyer programme.
The lounge features 58 leather armchairs, a dining area for 54 people, a Business Centre with seating for six, an outdoor terrace overlooking airside with seating, a well-stocked 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 those with special needs. It offers buffet dining for all meals and Wi-Fi facilities.
Emirates has three premium lounges at the Dubai International Airport, its home base, and has set up similar lounges at 27 other airports in key cities across its network. They are in Auckland, Bangkok, Beijing, Birmingham, Brisbane, Dusseldorf, Delhi, Frankfurt, Hong Kong, Hamburg, Istanbul, Johannesburg, Kuala Lumpur, London Gatwick, London Heathrow, Manchester, Melbourne, Mumbai, Munich, New York JFK, Paris Charles De Gaulle, Perth, San Francisco, Shanghai, Singapore, Sydney and Zurich.
Colombo was the fourth destination on the Emirates network, when the airline launched services to Sri Lanka in April 1986. Today, Emirates flies to 123 destinations, linking Sri Lanka by air to 72 countries on six continents. The airline now operates 28 flights a week from Colombo, 14 direct to Dubai, seven via Male to Dubai and daily flights to Singapore, offering First, Business and Economy Class services to and from the destination.
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