Darwin Airport opens new pay-per-visit international lounge

By Chris Chamberlin , August 8 2016
Darwin Airport opens new pay-per-visit international lounge

UPDATE | Darwin Airport will open a new, independent lounge in its international departures area next month, catering for paying visitors at the door flying with any airline in any class of service, and also business class guests and eligible frequent flyers of participating airlines.

Named the 'Catalina Lounge' and with space for up to 70 guests, it’ll be open for every departing and transiting international flight at Darwin Airport from September 1 2016, with “high-quality food” and beverages offered as standard, including alcoholic drinks.

There’s also a dedicated zone for kids and a private VIP area reserved for “high-end travellers, VIPs, dignitaries and government officials”.

Not part of that crowd? That’s okay, you can still buy your way into the ‘regular’ lounge area for $45, with some Darwin hotels also to begin selling Catalina Lounge passes as part of package accommodation deals.

Australian Business Traveller has requested photos and a list of participating airline partners from Northern Territory Airports and will update this article when confirmed.

It’s not yet known if this independent lounge will participate in global lounge programs such as Priority Pass, Dragonpass or Diners Club.

PREVIOUS, April 7 2015 | Passengers travelling abroad from Darwin could soon be relaxing in the airport’s first international lounge, with Darwin Airport looking to build its own facility to be shared among all interested airlines.

With the terminal split into both domestic and international areas, the only two lounges at the airport are both in the domestic zone – being the Qantas Club and the Virgin Australia Lounge – while premium international passengers currently have nowhere private to relax beyond the bounds of passport control.

Cautiously optimistic, NT Airports’ Director Commercial & Aviation Development Jim Parashos told Australian Business Traveller that the airport’s “initial numbers show that getting it to break-even would be a pretty good achievement”.

“But that’s fine by us, because we look at it as an overall airline development and improvement (for passengers),” he added.

It’s also understood that passengers travelling in economy but without lounge privileges of their own would be able to purchase lounge access at the door at an as-yet-undetermined cost.

International flights from Darwin Airport

Darwin Airport has a relatively small but Asia-focussed international network with both Jetstar and Indonesia AirAsia flights to Bali, SilkAir and Jetstar Asia to Singapore, Malaysia Airlines to Kuala Lumpur and Philippine Airlines to Manila.

While eligible Malaysia Airlines and Jetstar passengers can access the domestic Qantas Club lounge prior to their departure, they’d still need to leave the lounge in plenty of time to clear international passport control and security screening – making an internationally-located lounge a much more convenient option.

Passengers travelling with SilkAir between Cairns and Singapore also transit via Darwin on certain flights and remain ‘airside’ in the international zone, with a pay-in facility also of direct benefit to these travellers.

While still on the drawing board, Parashos wants to “have something on the ground by the end of this year”, but reminds that “making it stack up is (going to be) pretty tricky.”

Also read: Virgin Australia's new Darwin lounge reviewed

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Chris Chamberlin

Chris Chamberlin is the Associate Editor of Executive Traveller, and lives by the motto that a journey of a thousand miles begins not just with a single step, but also a strong latte, a theatre ticket, and later in the day, a good gin and tonic.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

20 Nov 2011

Total posts 185

Whilst I can see some passengers to whom this would be the only option for lounge access (silk air CNS-SIN) for the rest of the passengers surly ensuring longer opening hours for the QF club and VA lounge would be better? I'm based in Adelaide and Jetstar, Malaysia, Cathay Pacific and Emitates all use the Domestic QF lounge, it takes a short while to get through customs, but not impossible...works in Adelaide just fine without an international lounge.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

20 Nov 2011

Total posts 185

I should also qualify why I feel the Adelaide set up is superior to a third party solution. By virtue of good competition the food offerings at Adelaide QC are very reasonable for a light snack, quick hot meal etc. and from 12 onwards the bar selection is excellent. Good barista service tops of the offering. I've been in several third party international lounges recently only to see terrible wine, minimal food, very average machine coffee etc. on that basis I feel the honestly very short customs lines I adelaide and Darwin just aren't enough of an issue to make use of an inferior third party lounge...just a thought


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