Opening of premium lounge hints at airport’s future

The Plaza Premium lounge was inaugurated today at Ibrahim Nasir International Airport (INIA), a step in GMR’s wide-scale renovation of the airport terminal.

The renovation, which began approximately 10 weeks ago, was designed by Hong Kong-based Premium Port Lounge Management Company Private Ltd. A message from company founder and CEO, Song Hoi See, indicated that the company was eager to design the project and “add more flights to Male.”

The Plaza Premium lounge was opened with a ribbon-cutting ceremony and a reading from the Qur’an. Among the officials who cut the ribbon were Tourism Minister Maryam Zulfa and GMR CEO Andrew Harrison.

“This is a proud moment,” said Zulfa. “It is sad that some of the resorts and institutions in the Maldives do not measure up to the standards of our premium customers. I am happy that GMR is setting an example for the Maldives as it moves forward.”

Zulfa, who arrived today from an international flight, described some fellow passengers who called a baggage delay “typical.”

“I said, ‘No, this is not typical. This is atypical. Because GMR is now taking care of us.’ It was a relief to know that a negative experience was not typical of how our airport works.”

Tourism Minister Maryam Zulfa surveys the Plaza Premium Lounge with GMR CEO Andrew Harrison

Baggage beltways were recently expanded, while eight check-in counters and two security lanes are being added. “We are de-bottlenecking departures, and things are running smoothly,” said GMR Chief Commerical Officer Prasad Gopalan.

Gopalan said the airport had seen an even higher increase in traffic this year than expected. “There is more traffic from Asia, and we are expecting Russian traffic to increase as well.”

Harrison said the renovation process had informed GMR of the higher standards that travelers now hold. He noted that washrooms and check-in counters were being refurbished “to make it a more ‘Maldives’ welcome for travelers,” and added that former staff had been re-trained to meet premium standards.

The lounge is open to first and business class passengers, and to economy class passengers for an undetermined fee. Services include a buffet and a la carte menu, computer and internet access, television, and spa-style foot rubs.

Harrison told Minivan News that “the quality of this lounge is a commitment to the quality of airport that the Maldives and its visitors can expect to see in the future. Even though this lounge is an asset with a short shelf life, it is appropriate that we demonstrate what the new terminal should be like.”

The new terminal at INIA is expected to be completed over the next three years, and will have a capacity of 5 million.

The renovation’s estimated cost is US$1 million. More renovations will be completed before the tourism peak season of November and December.


7 thoughts on “Opening of premium lounge hints at airport’s future”

  1. GMR and Mr. Andrew Harrison talk big, unfortunately they deliver much less. Let us see if they can deliver the new terminal.

  2. @ hassan, typical maldivian, pretensiously blind to the obvious. can you not see they have already delivered on the new lounge. What more proof do you want to see "If they can deliver?" New terminals do not drop from the sky! How long did it take for you to design, approve and build your 500 SqFt land plot? Gimme a break Hassan !

  3. @deecay.. if you are referring to the Bangladeshi workers than you are missign the point.. the subject of the article is European volunteers and the comments are about some of them.... still i diasgree.. there are worst conditions in other countries.. in terms of what people face when they try to integrate into society.. maldivians don't call names at europeans.. but this is a common practice inmost european cities.. i.e. calling names at people from africa or asia... which were poeoples previously looted by european colonialists and missionaries...

  4. @ lalee, we call the whites “Kafir” whites and heathens. This is very common in Maldives.

  5. @lalee

    Guess you responded to the wrong article. Anyways, Maldivians don't call names to Europeans? Are you serious? Have you ever wondered why in some five star resorts Maldivian employees are not permitted to speak to each other in dhivehi in front of guests? Have you ever walked down Majeedhee Magu with a European female friend? Remember the Vilu Reef wedding incident? And don't tell me those are isolated cases or rarities, if you think so you are unfortunately blind, deaf and dumb.

    Yes, Europe has a dark history, nobody denies that, but what does that have to do with with the original subject? Does that mean every white man is here to colonize us all? Really? Have you ever been to London, Paris, Berlin or Rome? I guess not. And what's with the missionary claim? Why do people always have to use religious attributes to strengthen their argumentation? It's beyond me really.

    What I did understand from your response though is that being racist against a person from Bangladesh is different to being racist against a person from Europe because the latter have a history of being racist themselves. Interesting concept, I give you that.

  6. well..this lounge will bring us our contry lots of profits..because previously in male international airport depature lounges been 100% profit makers; and with this new change surely going to be i have been there.i can tell you compare to previous lounge its hats off i can say..this lounge totally rocks..gmr had done great job by giving plaza premium to operate these lounges.

  7. I am in the airport right now. I Priority Pass and when finnifenmaa lounge was here they always accepted it. This morning when i showed the card to the lady at the counter this was the reply:
    We accept it but we do not accept it. If you want you can pay Usd 50 to enter.
    You figure it out. I couldn't


Comments are closed.