Emirates celebrated high-profile formal opening of the Emirates Lounge at the Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA), Katunayaka in Sri Lanka.

Tim Clark, president of Emirates airline, and Mohammed Mattar, divisional senior vice president airport services, joined Mahmood Mohammed Al-Mahmood, UAE Ambassador in Sri Lanka, Economic Development Minister 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.

Clark said the investment by Emirates of $ 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.”

Clark said: “These developments are of particular relevance to Emirates, which is one of the most active international carriers serving this country. 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.”

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.