Passengers flying out of Melbourne have a new pay-as-you go lounge option after Dubai’s marhaba on Tuesday established a beachhead in the Australian market with a 200-guest facility.
Marhaba, a unit of air services giant dnata, has partnered with lounge access provider Priority Pass and is also working with several international airlines on complimentary access for some passengers.
But passengers who are not flying in a premium cabin and are not elite frequent flyers will be able to buy up to four hours access on a walk-up basis for $A65 and $A35 for kids 12 and under.
The lounge opens from 6am to midnight and offers a quiet zone, shower facilities, free wi-fi an international buffet and a selection of Australian premium wines.
A staff of 26 is on hand to help out passengers and a barista serves coffee at a Hudson Coffee station.
“Australia is a very important market to us and we continue to look for opportunities to bring more of our services to customers here,” dnata president Gary Chapman said in a statement.
“We already operate Australia’s leading in-flight catering company, Alpha Flight Services, and are delighted to add the marhaba brand of airport hospitality to serve Melbourne and those passing through Melbourne Airport.”
Marhaba has been around since 1991 and also has lounges in Dubai, Bahrian and Karachi.
It also offers meet and greet services at airports worldwide, including Sydney.
The Australian move comes as a number of airlines, including dnata sister company Emirates Airlines, are now allowing customers to buy lounge access.
Companies such as marhaba and Priority Pass provide alternatives.
Priority Pass touts access to more than 1000 airport lounges for an annual fee.
The basic pass costs $US99 a year but people using this pass must part with a further $US27 to access a lounge for up to three hours.
The $US249 standard plus pass comes with 10 free visits, while the $US399 prestige version gives the holder unlimited access.