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Emirates Airlines apologises to Speaker Karu Jayasuriya

Speaker Karu Jayasuriya has lodged a formal complaint with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Ambassador in Colombo, expressing his displeasure at being offloaded from an Emirates Airlines flight from Colombo to Singapore minutes before the flight took off.

A close family member said that soon after the complaint, the UAE Ambassador had called senior Emirates Airlines officials and asked them to apologise to Mr. Jayasuirya. Meanwhile the Airline in response to a query by the Sunday Times said: “Emirates is aware of the concerns expressed by Mr. Jayasuriya and his family.

“Our cabin crew are trained first responders whose role is to assess the situation, offer assistance, and where necessary consult a doctor via Emirates’ Medlink system to evaluate passengers’ fitness to fly. On this occasion, due to the information we were provided about the passenger’s medical condition, a doctor was consulted through Medlink and it was decided, as a precaution, not to allow him to take the flight to Singapore.”

The airline while apologising to the family for any inconvenience caused said its decision was made in the interest of the passenger’s health and wellbeing. “The safety of our passengers and crew is of paramount importance and will not be compromised,” it said. Mr. Jayasuirya had boarded an Emirates flight on July 12 to seek medical attention in Singapore for what was suspected to be a heart ailment. He was accompanied by his daughter Lanka Dissanayake, a doctor attached to the World Health Organisation (WHO).

A team of doctors who had treated him at a private hospital in Colombo had advised that he should go to Singapore for advanced treatment there. The Colombo hospital had contacted a Singapore hospital, briefed it on the requirements and urged a medical team to standby at the airport.

Speaker Jayasuriya is due back in the country over the weekend. Doctors in Singapore have diagnosed the ailment as a bug he had contracted during foreign travel and was not directly related to a heart condition.