Australia’s national carrier has announced a planned $100-million investment to upgrade its airport lounges domestically and overseas and has unveiled the design of its ‘Project Sunrise’ A350 First and Business cabins.
Qantas has unveiled plans to enhance its First and Business offering with upgrades to its existing international and domestic lounge network and the opening of four new lounges, including a flagship First lounge at London Heathrow.
The planned three-year, $100-million project is the biggest investment in its lounge network in more than a decade, according to the airline.
Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce pointed to the recovery in travel demand moving faster than anticipated as being a key accelerator for the plan.
“Being back in profit means we’re back to making long term investments for our customers. That started with the major aircraft order we announced last year and now we’re building on that with a major investment in our lounges,” said Joyce.
London First Lounge
Subject to regulatory approvals, Qantas’ new First Lounge at London Heathrow will have direct access to boarding gates, views of the airfield, wellbeing features, and a premium dining experience. It is expected to open in time for the first ‘Project Sunrise’ direct flights to Sydney and will join the airline’s international First lounges in Los Angeles, Melbourne, Singapore, and Sydney.
“London is one of the most important destinations on our network and it’s the perfect location for a First Lounge, especially with our direct Project Sunrise flights on the way. Heathrow is one of the world’s busiest airports so we’re very pleased to be working with them to secure a great space in the terminal for an additional lounge,” Joyce said.
Updates for Hong Kong, Melbourne, and Sydney
International business lounges in Hong Kong, Melbourne, and Sydney will also be refreshed and reopened. In Melbourne, a proposed redevelopment will see capacity increased by up to 30 per cent, with a new food and beverage concept planned.
The redevelopment of the Sydney business lounge, which was paused due to the pandemic, will go ahead pending Sydney Airport terminal upgrade plans. The proposed full redesign and rebuild is set to increase capacity by up to 40 per cent to more than 600 seats.
Meanwhile, passengers flying from Hobart or Broome will also be able to visit new, larger spaces with a proposed relocation of Hobart’s Qantas Club and a brand-new Regional Lounge in Broome.
Other lounge developments recently announced by the airline include a new International Lounge at Auckland Airport, new premium spaces at Adelaide Domestic Airport, and new regional lounge offerings at Rockhampton and Port Hedland.
First and Business cabins unveiled onboard A350s
Passengers travelling between New York, London and Australia on Qantas’ ‘Project Sunrise’ A350s in First will have fixed flat beds, separate lounge recliners, and wardrobes, with the airline revealing prototypes of its premium suites. Six First suites will feature in a 1-1-1 configuration onboard the new aircraft..
Business passengers will enjoy direct aisle access, sliding doors for enhanced privacy, and two-metre flat beds. There are set to be 52 Business Suites in a 1-2-1 configuration.
The A350s are also expected to offer fast and free high-speed WiFi in partnership with Viasat, with key satellite launches covering the Qantas international network, along with wireless device charging capabilities.
The ‘next-generation’ cabins have been conceptualised in partnership with Australian designer, David Caon, who took every opportunity to enhance wellbeing and comfort in the design of the First and Business suites.
“We began designing this aircraft cabin five years ago, working with Airbus and Qantas to maximise space, as well as creating a tailored lighting program that will influence mood and sleep patterns,” said Caon.
“All the design and service elements will work together to significantly improve inflight comfort, convenience and health and wellbeing and help minimise the old nemesis of jetlag.”
Qantas Loyalty launches Qantas Marketplace
Qantas Loyalty has launched a new online shopping experience that will allow its 14.7 million Frequent Flyer members to use their Qantas points on 900 premium and luxury household brands, across 20,000 products.
The new marketplace marks the biggest online retail expansion of the Frequent Flyer program.
Now, members can spend their points on such Australian fashion brands as Scanlan Theodore, Rebecca Vallance, bassike, BEC + BRIDGE, and Country Road.
The Qantas Marketplace will also be home to a series of exclusive collaborations and designs between the airline and leading lifestyle brands. The first collaboration to coincide with the launch of Marketplace is with Australian designer Michael Lo Sordo, who has created an elegant custom dress in the signature Qantas shade of red, available to purchase online. The design and silhouette of this striking gown is inspired by the dress worn by ‘Bond’ girl, Paloma, in the 2021 James Bond film, No Time to Die.
“Our Frequent Flyers already earn more points on the ground than they do through travel. With Qantas Marketplace, we’re connecting them to hundreds of brands that they know and love, with the added benefit of being able to earn and use points,” said Olivia Wirth, Qantas Loyalty CEO.