Air New Zealand has opened the doors to a new premium lounge at Brisbane Airport, the latest example of the airline’s investment in the Australian market as it seeks to attract more travellers from this side of the Tasman onto its long-haul services.
The facility, which was built in a brand new space at the southern end of the Brisbane international terminal, welcomed its first guests on Wednesday. The new lounge has space for about 200 people, about 70 per cent more than the old lounge that was located at the opposite side of the terminal. Like the Sydney, Auckland and Air NZ-operated Star Alliance lounge in Los Angeles, the Brisbane lounge was designed by US-based architects Gensler.
Air NZ is spending $100 million over four years on its lounge network, with Sydney completed in May and the new refurbished Auckland international terminal lounge unveiled in September.
The Star Alliance member has focused heavily on boosting international transfer passengers in recent times, with a particular emphasis on capturing a larger share of Australians heading to the Americas, where it serves six destinations – Buenos Aires, Honolulu, Houston, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Vancouver.
Efforts have included sale fares of less than $1,000 for a return ticket to the US, while Air NZ has added extra flights from Perth to Auckland to facilitate shorter connection times on its long-haul flights.
And for passengers in Brisbane or Melbourne, there may be some attraction in an international-to-international connection at Auckland, where they remain in the same terminal and have the option of flying on widebody aircraft on both legs, rather than a domestic-to-international transit in Australia.
The airline expected to increase capacity seven per cent across its network in the second half of 2015/16, with short-haul services, which include its Australian flights to expand by five per cent, while long-haul services were tipped to grow nine per cent.
Air New Zealand general manager for customer experience Carrie Hurihanganui said the new lounge would improve the customer experience.
“We’re proud to offer our customers a seamless transition to the new lounge and we’re certain they will enjoy everything about the space,” Hurihanganui said in a statement.
“From the tailored seating zones, relaxing colour palette and dedicated children’s play spaces, to the enhanced food and beverage offering, the lounge provides a comfortable haven whether customers are travelling for work or leisure.”
In keeping with the recently refurbished Sydney and Auckland lounges, the Brisbane lounge features different seating types, from lounge chairs to long benches and quiet nooks for users to work, rest or play prior to their flight as well as a theatre kitchen and children’s play area.
Medland Metropolis was engaged by Gensler to perform the Electrical, Mechanical, Lighting, Hydraulic and Fire Protection services for the Air New Zealand Lounge upgrade at the Brisbane International Airport.
The all-new Brisbane International Lounge, is significantly larger than the previous facility, at almost double the capacity. The lounge, which is designed to mimic Sydney and Auckland upgrades that have been recently completed to maintain the consistency of the Air New Zealand branding. The main objective of the client was having a proficient design that utilises the space effectively. The Brisbane lounge (800 m2) was notably smaller than the Sydney lounge (1600 m2), nevertheless the client required all the features to still be included.
Our in-house Specialist Lighting Designer helped shape the lighting design with stunning results. One of the key features of the lighting design was the feature hanging lights specifically shaped to represent the iconic story bridge.
Restrictive base building allowances, stringent landlord requirements, complex architectural detailing, tight timeframe and complexity of working in a live environment presented the engineering team challenges during the design. This diminished with innovative alternative solutions as well as high level of professionalism and open communication with all key project stakeholders.
The end result speaks for itself, with a modern functional lounge space to provide Air New Zealand passengers with an added premium experience.