Qantas CEO Alan Joyce says the airline's flagship Sydney domestic and international business class lounges are both in line for a long-overdue upgrade, with the question now shifting from "if" to "when".
The Qantas Business Lounge, opened in July 2008 at Sydney Airport's Terminal 3, is the airline's busiest domestic lounge and noticeably long in the tooth – especially when compared with its modern counterparts at Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth.
Those three business lounges also adopted a contemporary locally-influenced design along with lounge-specific dining options – although the original Mexican Cantina of the Brisbane lounge has been replaced by The Oven, serving a broader variety of international meals.
Melbourne's Asian Spice Bar and Perth's pizza ovens have each become a signature component of the Qantas business lounge experience.
"The Sydney domestic business lounge is now top of the list for the domestic lounge (upgrade program)", Joyce told Executive Traveller on the sidelines of the official opening of the Qantas Singapore First Lounge.
"I can't say when the date is, but it will be done, it's just programming it into all of the capital expenditure that we have. We're going to spend around $2 billion on aircraft, on product, on seats. We want to bed down what happens with Sunrise, what happens with our domestic fleet, and there will be a component every year on the lounges."
As for Qantas' international business class lounge at Sydney Airport Terminal 1, "we know that it does need a bit of an upgrade," Joyce admits – although plans announced in February 2018 for a new-look lounge to open by the end of 2019 failed to eventuate, as Qantas is now considering relocating the lounge to a proposed new pier at Terminal 1.
"It's on our agenda," Joyce says of the new-look lounge, "and we are working with Sydney Airport around how that works. They have a lot going on, they're talking about new gates, so we're trying to work out exactly how to stage that investment. If you didn't have that, (the upgrade) would already be underway. We're in deep dialogue with Sydney Airport, so it's a bit of 'watch this space' at the moment."
Sydney Airport has also approached Emirates about opening a new lounge in this pier, although it's not known if this is the same space offered to Qantas or if the new T1 wing would have room for two sizeable lounges.