Despite the current challenges of travel – ranging from skyrocketing air, hotel, and restaurant prices, strikes, and record heatwaves – passengers continue to visit airport lounges. According to Patrik Bayardo, Head of Hospitality at Aviator Airport Alliance, a full-range provider of aviation services at 15 airports across the Nordics, and operator of two business lounges at Copenhagen Airport, the company’s airport business lounges have already surpassed the pre-pandemic numbers, signalling to a strong season for the aviation industry.
“The figures from the last three months of operations show lounge visitor numbers surpassing pre-pandemic levels for the first time since 2019. With leisure demand being the main post-pandemic growth driver, new travellers have found, and keep returning, to lounges. This marks a significant shift from the patterns observed in 2019, where most lounge visitors were traditional business travellers. The current trend underscores the changing landscape of travel preferences, with leisure travellers now becoming an integral part of the lounge experience,” Bayardo explains.
Furthermore, business lounges have been growing in popularity among families. “There has been a noticeable rise in the number of three-generational families seeking comfort, social interaction, and good food and drinks before their flights. Moreover, we have observed a recent trend of extended stays in lounges and increased consumption of food offerings. This shift in behaviour serves as a strong testament to the fact that lounges are increasingly being perceived as a more valuable and cost-effective alternative to busy airport terminals,” he says.
Bayardo shares that with Aviator business lounges constantly striving to offer a superior experience to travellers, increasing attention has been paid to sustainable practices. “Recently we have updated our lounge menus. As we crafted the new offerings, aside from focusing on the quality and taste of the foods, our primary guiding principle revolved around our deep respect for the environment and our commitment to ecological and sustainable practices. We made a conscious effort to reduce meat consumption and increase the proportion of vegetable-based products, prioritised sourcing products from local suppliers, and emphasised the use of ecological products that are free from harmful chemicals. We trust that by introducing more sustainable practices into our lounge operations, we can ensure a better experience for our visitors.”
Aviator Airport Alliance is part of Avia Solutions Group, one of the largest global ACMI (aircraft, crew, maintenance, and insurance) providers with a fleet of 180, aircraft operating on all continents in the world. The group also provides various aviation services such as MRO, pilots and crew training, ground handling and other interconnected solutions.