Covid-19: Airport hospitality service providers ask for relief as flight operations shut

The airport hospitality service providers who had to shut down lounges following the suspension of air traffic, have requested the airport operators to provide some relief on high rentals they pay for using their facilities.

At some airports where they pay minimum guarantee, the lounge operators have asked the operators to reconsider the guarantees due to sluggish business even before the flight operations were shut completely.

Hong Kong-based Plaza Premium Group and Bird Group and Travel Food Services (TFS) are the two major lounge operators in the country and together operate about two dozen lounges across airports.

“Lounges are subset of flights. We had closed our international lounge facilities the day outbound travel got barred. Now that the domestic flights are also grounded we will have to close down lounge facilities till the situation normalises. It’s a tandem effort we we all stakeholders will be putting in to fortify ourselves against the pandemic,” said Gaurav Bhatia, executive director of the Bird group.

The group operates lounges at Trivandrum, Calicut, Pune, Dehradun and Bhubaneshwar.

The other big player, Plaza Premium Group, which operates about 15 lounges at different airports has also suspended operations.

“In the light of the current Covid-19 situation and due to the latest government regulations, all the lounges are temporarily closed. However, our teams are handling requests on rebooking and cancellations with full refund,” said Bhavya Kukreja, general manager of Plaza Premium.

Travel Food Services (TFS), which operates 19 lounges across travel-hubs including Airports, Railway and highways, are also facing the negative impact of closure.

Also the uncertainty is creating anxiety in the airport hospitality service providers. “Initially, domestic lounges were operational but food supply was affected as we were not sure how many passenger will use the service. Now, the government has announced lockdown till April 14, we have closed the operations. At some airports construction of new lounges has been suspended,” said another lounge operator requesting anonymity.

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Written by sortiwa

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