Star Alliance intends to open more of its own-branded airport lounges next year, based on the same model as its highly-regarded lounge at Los Angeles.
The global airline group also has a Star-branded lounges at Paris and Buenos Ares, and is now in discussions with several other airports “sprinkled around the world” says Star Alliance CEO Mark Schwab.
Schwab says that likely locations for a Star-branded lounge are airports “where we have a significant number of Star carriers” but none which call that airport their home hub.
“In the case of LAX, United Airlines is based in terminals 7 and 8 but we have nine Star Alliance carriers operating out of the Tom Bradley International Terminal, so it made good sense to have a single lounge in a location like that” Schwab told Australian Business Traveller at a half-yearly gathering of Star Alliance airline CEOs in Warsaw last week.
Star Alliance is now looking at airports “where typically our carriers are ending up in three or four different lounges being run by third party operators. So the question we ask ourselves is, does it make good business logic to build one lounge on behalf of all the carriers and at a (better) standard.”
Schwab admits that Heathrow Airport is an exception to the rule – while no Star Alliance members are based in London, four of them have opened their own lounges rather than share a single mega-lounge at the Star Alliance Terminal 2.
“The reason is that those particular carriers have huge operations (at Heathrow), they’re operating double-digit wide-body aircraft and A380s per day, and at the time we were setting up the Star terminal they felt that they should have their own branded lounges."
Star Alliance member Air New Zealand, which designed and operates the group's LAX lounge, last month opened the first of four new-look lounges across Australia and New Zealand.
The Kiwi carrier's Sydney Airport lounge caters for AirNZ's own travellers along with business class passengers on Star Alliance airlines operating out of Sydney.
Schwab also expanded on plans to boost the number of Gold Track express lanes at Star Alliance hub airports to help premium travellers speed through security and immigration, although he remains unsold on the benefits of creating a new Star Alliance Platinum tier.
David Flynn travelled to Warsaw as a guest of Star Alliance.
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