Cathay Pacific is rethinking how its own lounges fit into Australia's two major airports of Sydney and Melbourne, which between them host seven daily flights to Hong Kong – with four of those on the airline's passenger-packing Boeing 777-300ER flagship.
The Oneworld member already operates a lounge at Melbourne's international terminal but it's a rather compact and dated affair, and with the lease on that space expiring in the second half of this year it's been tipped that Cathay Pacific may pull down the shutters and direct business class travellers and eligible Marco Polo Club frequent flyers to the nearby Qantas international business lounge.
However, the lounge's fate is yet to be decided – and Nelson Chin, Cathay Pacific's Regional General Manager for South West Pacific, feels there's a case to be made for a new lounge embracing the contemporary design of its counterparts in Hong Kong and London.
Melbourne gets a make-over?
"I believe there is a lot of value in having our own lounge, which is uniquely Cathay," Chin told Australian Business Traveller, "so we are going through an evaluation stage (of Melbourne). The lease for that lounge will end, but there are options."
"We'll take a good look at what is available... there are (spaces) that might not be available today but might be available in the future," Chin added. "If we did have to move to a new location that could affect our decision about how much we improve the current lounge before we do make any major step forward."
Chin also confirmed that if Cathay was to keep a lounge in Melbourne "the intention certainly is" to have it be one of the airline's new-look lounges based on the template of designer Ilse Crawford.
"But everything is up in the air... we are going through the phase right now of trying to get more clarity in terms of what is available should we move to a new lounge," he said, with a decision expected by mid-year.
An all-new Cathay Pacific lounge for Sydney?
Opening a lounge in Sydney would be an even bigger step for Cathay Pacific, "and I would like to see our own lounge... but at the end of the day, as with all things there needs to be the business case there," Chin admitted.
"It really depends on infrastructure at the airport – is there a good enough spot for us to have our own lounge and where we can have a point of differentiation, is the lounge in proximity to the bays we use? At the end of the day I'm eager to hear what they've got to offer in terms of space allocation."
"It certainly makes sense to have a good look at it, as long as the right space is available we will give it every opportunity to have our own lounge."