Wellington, Queenstown, Hamilton and Invercargill are all on the list, following last year’s unveiling of a new regional lounge at Auckland Domestic Airport (below).
Indeed, with some NZ$100 million earmarked for lounge improvements across the next four years, “you'd be surprised if not all of our lounges made it in some shape or form” suggests Verity Jade, the airline’s Manager for Global Lounges.
“We’ve been working with a few airport companies for more than six months (in cases where) the airport real estate needs to grow to accommodate our plans, and there’s at least five lounges in play” Jade tells Australian Business Traveller.
“Our next regional lounge is Invercargill, in the deep south of New Zealand” confirms Air New Zealand CEO Chris Luxon (below), who tips that lounge to move from its current temporary space into new digs before the year is out.
Queenstown will be up next, sometime after the early 2016 opening of the new Brisbane International lounge.
“Something I’m really excited about is that Brisbane will have the same look and feel as we have in LA, that we have in Sydney and in our Auckland regional lounge” Luxon enthuses. “We want to get more of our lounges up to this level."
“We’re also talking about increasing the size of the lounge in Hamilton quite dramatically” Luxon adds, “and we’re even talking about some of the Pacific Islands as well.”
And with Auckland International Lounge now crossed off the to-do list, attention is now turning to passenger facilities at the international terminal itself, beginning with the premium checkin area.
“We think there’s a lot more we can do in terms of offering better service to customers, especially our high value customers,” Luxon admits.
“So we’ve got plans around that, it will be a multi-phase approach but we think by Christmas we'll have phase one of that completed.”
That first stage will deliver “a much better experience than what we've got at the moment” Luxon tips, while keeping his power dry on the hard details.
“But you’ll arrive at the airport, quickly go through that area, get in the lift upstairs, through customs and into the new lounge, and have a breather before you get onto the plane.”
With Air New Zealand flying high “after four successive years of record results, we’re ploughing those profits back into the customer experience,” Luxon says.
“Now that we’ve got the commercial engine right, we have the cash to invest in new aircraft – we've got rid of our Boeing 747s and 737s, and our Boeing 767s will start leaving in March 2016.”
“We’ve also got increasing numbers of Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners, new 777-300ERs and the 777-200s will be all refurbished by December.”
Follow Australian Business Traveller on twitter: we're @AusBT