World-renowned Buddhist monk Ven. Ajahn Brahmavamso Thero had to spend an inordinate amount of time in the VIP lounge due to the negligence of the officials at the airport.
The Ven. Thero was returning to his country of domicile, Australia, after a nine-day tour in Sri Lanka, where he was involved in a number of meditation programmes, sermons, and lectures. Having completed his religious assignments, the Thero arrived at the Bandaranaike International Airport, Katunayake, on the 31st of May to return to Australia. There he was granted a special privilege under the direction of the President, and he was conducted to the VIP lounge by the airport officials.
Around the same time, a group led by the Minister of Ports and Civil Aviation, Mr. Nimal Siripala de Silva, also arrived at the VIP lounge, and the officials focused their attention on their minister’s entourage. Even though the officials were there to take care of the group led by the minister and conduct them on the flight, they apparently failed to escort Ven. Brahm Thero, who was remaining in a special guest cabin, waiting patiently for the scheduled plane. However, the flight had taken off without the Ven. Thero.
After having realized their mistake, the chairman of the airport aviation authority, Major General GA Chandrasiri, immediately presented himself before the Ven. Thero and tendered an unqualified apology on behalf of all at the airport aviation who failed to take necessary care of the thero.
Accordingly, Sri Lankan Airlines intervened to arrange an alternative travel plan for the Thero, and the monk was flown on a Sri Lankan Airlines flight to Malaysia and from there to Australasia.