What is going on between GMR Airports and Plaza Premium Lounges? DEL/HYD Airport Lounges shut

Umm, ho, hum. A few days ago, I wrote about how the Terminal 3 Plaza Premium Lounge at Delhi Airport was temporarily closed suddenly on November 12, 2022, without notice. Little did I know that this was a bigger problem than just one or two lounges in isolation. [Update: All Plaza Premium Lounges in India are now closed]

All Plaza Premium Lounges at GMR-operated airports are shut for now.

Plaza Premium used to be the market leader in third-party lounge operations in India at a point in time. However, Mumbai Airport’s move to in-house lounges set a cat amongst the pigeons for major airports in India to get in the lounge business.

Bangalore Airport let go of Plaza Premium and Above Ground Level and opened its own lounges (called BLR Lounge and 080 Bengaluru). Delhi Airport similarly let go of Vistara, then Singapore Airlines and Lufthansa and are working on its own lounge (to be opened this month) to be operated by Encalm Hospitality. This company got into the business in 2021 and is trying to create an excellent hospitality-focused product for airport operations. Plaza Premium’s Ahmedabad Lounge was handed over to Lite Bite Foods.

This has led to the shrinking footprint of Plaza Premium, which was left with operations in only five airports across India:

  • Amritsar Airport (International)
  • Chandigarh Airport (Domestic/International)
  • Delhi Airport (Terminal 2 Domestic, Terminal 3 Domestic/International x 2/Arrivals x2)
  •  Hyderabad Airport (Domestic/International)
  • Nagpur Airport (Domestic)

We know that Plaza Premium Lounge at Delhi T3 International was due to be shut down as their contract was not going to be extended once the Encalm Hospitality-operated lounge came into being. This is due this month.

When I wrote about the T3D Lounge, Plaza Premium’s website did not indicate any other lounges being shut. However, what seems to have happened is that all the Plaza Premium Lounges at all the GMR-operated airports are now showing as temporarily closed. 

screenshot of a flight information

a screenshot of a website

From the looks of it via Social Media, Hyderabad Airport has a similar timeline as Delhi Airport. While the Lounge seems open, credit card-based access has been nixed. It almost sounds like the Hyderabad lounges are close to pulling the plug.

Delhi Airport would only go as far as to say that Plaza Premium Lounges are temporarily unavailable.

And Hyderabad Airport says there is some backup strategy they are operating on.

Purely speculating, but it seems there is a contract getting over somewhere without an extension being offered. If this is true, then this will not be nice for the lounge operator because, in one swoop, two of their most significant operations in India will go away. One of our readers passing through indicated that even the Hyderabad Lounge is heading the way of Encalm.

At the time of writing this, we have written to Plaza Premium Group, their PR agency in India and GMR for a statement. If they come back to us with a statement, we will update this story accordingly.

In the meantime, this is a big blow, especially for passengers who use their bank cards to access the Delhi or Hyderabad airport lounges. They are advised not to build in time for a quick bite or drink at the airport lounge before their flight anymore.


All Plaza Premium Lounges are shut at Delhi Airport for the moment (across T2/T3), and at Hyderabad, the credit-card-based lounge access seems to be nixed for now. Plaza Premium’s website, as of November 14, 2022, indicates all the outlets of the lounge operator in Delhi and Hyderabad to be closed for now. Both these airports are under the stewardship of GMR Airports at the moment.

What do you make of the Delhi and Hyderabad Airport Lounges being shut, en masse, without any notice? Have you flown from Delhi or Hyderabad recently, and what has been your experience?

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About Ajay

Ajay Awtaney is the Founder and Editor of Live From A Lounge (LFAL), a pioneering digital platform renowned for publishing news and views about aviation, hotels, passenger experience, loyalty programs, travel trends and frequent travel tips for the Global Indian. He is considered the Indian authority on business travel, luxury travel, frequent flyer miles, loyalty credit cards and travel for Indians around the globe. Ajay is a frequent contributor and commentator on the media as well, including ET Now, BBC, CNBC TV18, NDTV, Conde Nast Traveller and many other outlets.

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    • Still nothing. I see an Encalm board. But not sure when that might open. Sucks. I got almost 3 hrs to departure!

  1. What are the options for international arrivals? Our fight arrives around 2AM and I was thinking of using one of these lounges for a few hours, leaving the airport after sunrise.

  2. Any update on what’s going on with the lounges ? Will they reopen or all interbational arrivals business class passengers out of luck ? I hear 2ncalm is taking over. Why would they shut 6 lounges all at once. So dumb

  3. Apparently, the lounges at the new Bangalore terminal 2 will be operated by Plaza Premium. TFS, which operates the lounges in the old terminal (domestic as well as international) will not be getting the new lounges.

  4. Flew International Business from DEL on November 12th. The transfer desk gave me a boarding pass that had Plaza Premium lounge access printed on it, and they gave me instructions on how to find the lounge.

    As I arrived at the Plaza Premium International Departures lounge in T3, they were literally Saran Wrapping the entrance to the lounge to prevent anyone from entering. Fortunately, I was able to access the nearby AI lounge.

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