Cathay confirms new “flagship lounge” for Beijing

The airline has big plans for the Chinese capital…

By David Flynn, April 17 2024
Cathay confirms new “flagship lounge” for Beijing

Cathay Pacific will upgrade its lounge at Beijing to a stunning new space along the same lines as its latest lounges in Hong Kong and around the world, creating a new “flagship lounge” for the Chinese capital.

Travellers can look forward to familiar elements such as the Noodle Bar, plush furnishings and high-end residential finishes in the dramatic transformation, with the initial design phase now underway.

“We are now planning for the renovation in our Cathay signature design template,” says Vivian Lo, Cathay’s General Manager for Customer Experience & Design.

While the lounge could open next year, “we are still working through the timeline,” Lo confirmed to Executive Traveller on the sidelines of the airline’s new premium economy launch (where she also revealed plans to eventually remove first class from its Boeing 777-300ER fleet in favour of the Aria Suites business class, with first class then to be exclusive to the forthcoming Boeing 777-9 jets).

Lo previously said she wanted to make Cathay’s new Beijing lounge among “among the best lounges” in China.

“We’re very proud to offer some of the best lounges of China, in Shanghai and Hong Kong,” she remarked, and she now wants to “replicate the great lounge experience in Beijing.”

Cathay's new-look Beijing Lounge will share the same elegant design as its Shanghai counterpart.
Cathay's new-look Beijing Lounge will share the same elegant design as its Shanghai counterpart.

Also on Lo’s extensive lounge to-do list is the reopening of Cathay’s lounge at Paris’ Charles de Gaulle Airport at Terminal 2C, which is tied to the airport authority unlocking the doors to the long-shuttered terminal – a move expected to happen prior to the Olympics across July-August 2024.

While the Cathay Pacific Paris lounge will be “refreshed, it won't yet be a full redesign” to the new look, Lo says, “but we are planning to have it ready for operations as soon as the airport moves us back.”

Paris, Tokyo Narita and San Francisco will eventually be upgraded to the latest Cathay look, on what Lo has described as “a very clear strategic roadmap between now and the next five years, in terms of what locations and what to do at each location.”

Also on that roadmap could be more lounges for China’s Greater Bay Area, along similar lines to the new Shekou Lounge at the Shenzhen Bay ferry port.

Cathay Pacific's one-of-a-kind Shekou Lounge.
Cathay Pacific's one-of-a-kind Shekou Lounge.

“Our lounge template was very much designed around airports, but this was our first non-airport lounge,” Lo explains, where travellers spend a much shorter time and have different expectations, including “a dining proposition that is for more of a quick bite” ahead of the 30-minute fast ferry ride to Hong Kong airport.

Lo said Cathay was “open to considering other options” for Shekou-style lounges – Macau has been rumoured, and could leverage the link provided by the Hong Kong–Zhuhai–Macau Bridge – but “it very much depends on where there is a suitable location and whether there's a way for us to control that experience” in the same way as the seamless operations at the Shekou Cruise Center, which includes dedicated Cathay check-in desks with luggage transfer.

“Shekou is a very, very important experiment,” Lo stresses. “And if it’s proven successful we'll look at other options, whether that's a Macau or other ports in the GBA, but the ability to control that experience will be key.”

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