Air New Zealand: luxe 'flagship' lounges for Auckland, Sydney

By David Flynn, May 24 2014
Air New Zealand: luxe 'flagship' lounges for Auckland, Sydney

Air New Zealand will upgrade its Auckland and Sydney Koru Club airport lounges with an all-new design borrowing elements from the airline's impressive Star Alliance lounge at LAX.

"We are developing flagship international lounges in both Auckland and Sydney which will be completed to a standard similar to the recently opened Star Alliance lounge at LAX" Air New Zealand general manager Carrie Hurihanganui told Australian Business Traveller.

Hurihanganui says she expects both of the upgraded lounges to be opened "over the next 7-9 months."

Air New Zealand chief executive Christopher Luxon is more effusive, telling AFR Weekend  “hopefully soon we will have a pretty swish lounge in Sydney, which will be great.”

Air New Zealand manages the Star Alliance lounges at Los Angeles' Tom Bradley International Terminal, which has enjoyed steady praise from passengers and is often cited as one of the world's best airport business lounges.

Air New Zealand's Star Alliance lounge at LAX hints at what's to come for its Auckland and Sydney Koru Club lounges.
Air New Zealand's Star Alliance lounge at LAX hints at what's to come for its Auckland and Sydney Koru Club lounges.

It's believed the airline considered a scaled-down refresh for its Koru Club lounge at Sydney airport last year but shelved this plan in favour of the ambitious make-over.

The new plan is likely to see the current workstation area with desktop PCs abandoned to free up much-needed space.

This is in line with the trend of other airline lounges, including the new Qantas lounges at Singapore and Hong Kong, which recognise that most travellers now carry their own laptop or tablet.

The moves will be welcomed not only by Air New Zealand's own passengers but those of partner Virgin Australia, as well as other airlines which share Sydney's oft-criticised Koru Club lounge.

Air NZ's spruiced-up Sydney lounge will join a raft of other new lounges at Sydney including those of Star Alliance partner Singapore Airlines and the newly-opened Etihad Airways First & Business Class Lounge, along with the forthcoming SkyTeam alliance lounge and two paid-access lounges from the Plaza Premium group.

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David Flynn is the Editor-in-Chief of Executive Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.


23 Jan 2013

Total posts 175

It amazes me how much investment is going into major Australian cities like Sydney in the way of airport lounges and top of the range first and business class products. 

Perhaps I'm not as up to date on what is happening internationally, but it seems we get a disproportionate amount of attention by airlines given our smaller flying population (compared to other countries). 

For example: Sydney gets a raft of new luxe lounges and will be one of the first EY A380 routes. Yet New York is still on the drawing boards for many airlines. Domestically, the fight is on to produce the best int. grade flat beds for flight that can be as short as 45 minutes (if you get a good tail wind, of course). In the US most airlines' ideas of First Class is akin to a 90s business class seat in Australia. In Europe, business class is basically economy seats with a divider in the middle. 

Im curious to know why we seem to get such special treatment from not just our domestic carriers, but also int. carriers? (or is it just my limited awareness of the industry fuelling this view?)

Not that I'm complaining! I'm just curious to have a better understanding. 

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

19 Mar 2014

Total posts 26

Smaller market size equals means the airlines have to fight harder for market share. No matter what though its good for Australians.

12 Jun 2013

Total posts 737

I'm thinking perhaps Australian companies are happier about paying biz-class fares for more of their employees than companies in other countries. That's why Virgin and Qantas are in a cut-throat competition for those lucrative biz-class travellers (while domestic F in the United States is 90% upgrades). 

It's also why airlines can get away with charging $8000 for SYD-LAX in business class while LAX-LHR in business class is often half that. We get all the goodies because airlines have learned that they can get away with charging through the nose for them.

I work for the government (for now) so no business class for me :(

British AIrways

08 Feb 2011

Total posts 22

Sydney is one of the greatest airports in the world, but New York is still covered by more international airlines than Sydney.

From my experience I haven't seen much difference in Australia vs. rest of the world wrt short-haul domestic flights.  Flights across the country are different, but that's the case for a lot of west-east coast flights in the US as well.  Within Europe you can't fly that long.

One could also say that the product of flying is different in the US vs. rest of the world.  It's a "flying bus", cheap, and you get what you pay for.  Flying first class in the US is mostly about the convenience, not about the quality of service.  Rest of the world is different.

I enjoyed flying in Australia, especially SYD, but it was mostly about the lack of stupid security requirements, great coffee in the lounge, and aussie practicality.  I didn't feel the flights itself were better than elsewhere but I keep saying that flying is still fun -- if you do it outside of the US and Europe.

I think the frequent changes in flights to SYD also indicate that it's not always such a strong business case for the airline but they continue to try.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

20 Sep 2013

Total posts 466

Qantas ann Virgin offer the best domestic fares per flight mile,on ground  and in flight service,and not to say cocktails and meal service at certain times...Does not happen anywhere on the planet but OZ.

"Sydney is one of the greatest airports in the world..." wow! Really?

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

25 Sep 2013

Total posts 1247

I know right. 

British AIrways

08 Feb 2011

Total posts 22

To make you feel better, one can get quite good experience in many places in Asia as well and many places in South America are good as well (not in Brazil).  But SYD is way better than anything in Europe or US, and Qantas 1st class lounge is top class.

Especially the domestic terminal in SYD is great, everything works smoothly, the automated machines for check-in and luggage, security checks without shoes/belts/liquids show, and the terminal itself is modern.  Flyers in the US should be jealous.

Another plus for SYD are the frequent great city views when landing or taking off.

Yes agreed! Beautiful views. 

I suppose greatest is subjective.

My idea of greatest is an airport that is open 24/7 with no curfews and an unlimited ability to expand and build new runways.

Add to that, one that is very well linked up with the rest of the public transport infrastructure of the city, offering cheap, green and 24/7 mass rapid transit to/from the city and beyond into the rest of the country/continent.

12 Jun 2013

Total posts 737

It's all a matter of perspective. From my own personal perspective I don't want to catch a flight at 2am anyway so the curfew isn't a problem. 

Greatest in the world? Maybe not, but I've seen very many which are a lot worse. From a passenger experience point of view, the overall experince is pretty quick and queue-free, there's quite nice lounges for those who have access, and a reasonable variety of spaces for those who don't.

Usually when I'm in Sydney I'm flying out on Virgin domestic, so I get dropped off at the premium entry, walts through security in several seconds and I'm already in the lounge. Not too many places (except first class LH at FRA) that you can do that!

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

23 Oct 2013

Total posts 704

Does anyone know any approx date or month as to when these renevations are ment to occur and if so for how long?

United Airlines - Mileage Plus

29 Jan 2011

Total posts 157

Not before time, a revamp has been long overdue!

12 Jun 2013

Total posts 737

While I'd never complain about a revamp, I think the current NZ lounges at AKL and SYD are already pretty good. 

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