Qantas pushes back new Sydney business class lounge to 2020 or later

Travellers are still waiting for the promised "multimillion dollar rebuild" for Qantas' flagship international business lounge.

By David Flynn, August 20 2019
Qantas pushes back new Sydney business class lounge to 2020 or later

Almost a year after Qantas was due to begin a much-needed make-over of its Sydney international business class lounge, travellers are still wondering when this faded flagship will see its Cinderella-like transformation from drab to fab.

Qantas revealed its plans for a new-look lounge in February 2018 with the promise of "an interior design inspired by Sydney’s unique lifestyle and geography" which would add "at least 30 per cent more seating" to alleviate peak-hour crowding, alongside "luxury bathroom facilities", a full-service bar and "a signature Neil Perry dining experience."

"Construction is scheduled to start in the third quarter of this calendar year and will be completed in stages to allow ongoing lounge access, targeting completion at the end of 2019," the airline advised.

However, there's been a notable lack of any construction activity at the lounge, which hosts business class travellers, Gold-grade Qantas Frequent Flyers and their Oneworld Sapphire equivalents plus Qantas Club members from some 175 flights to more than 20 international destinations every week – making it the busiest lounge in Qantas' worldwide network.

Approached by Executive Traveller for comment, Qantas Head of Product Strategy and Development Philip Capps said the airline was "in ongoing discussions with Sydney Airport about the lounge redevelopment."

Based on Qantas' previously-advised timeline, if renovation work was to commence in the coming months and followed the same staged approach – allowing some parts of the lounge to remain open while others are renovated – then the all-new lounge would not be ready until the end of 2020.

While there's always scope for lounge redevelopment to take longer than planned, Qantas' looming 100th anniversary – the airline was founded in November 1920 – could set a must-meet deadline for the lounge's opening.

With Qantas releasing its 2019 financial year results this coming Thursday, August 22, it's possible that one of the usual flurry of announcements could include a revised timeline for the new Sydney international business class lounge and concept illustrations teasing the finished project.


David Flynn is the Editor-in-Chief of Executive Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.

24 Aug 2011

Total posts 1201

Reaffirming my belief that there has never been a redevelopment of a lounge by any western airline that has finished as originally scheduled.


Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

14 Sep 2012

Total posts 385

I read in various publications/discussions that airports are notorious at being bureaucratic and difficult to deal with and doubly so for lounge renovations.

31 May 2013

Total posts 26

In fairness to QF - I believe in the last 6-12months Sydney airport have decided to expand the terminal in the next few years down toward the freight complex- adding gates and lounge space. Why would QF want to renovate their current space, when they could get a much improved brand new space in the coming years? I'd say they want confirmation from SYD airport on when it will be delivered.

Why not refresh the lounge now, and wait for the new concourse in a few years time? Better space, better layout, better views?

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

11 Oct 2014

Total posts 685

With all due respect, I doubt that QF would be keen to relinquish their premier lounge location at Kingsford Smith (SYD) due to the facts that it has an a) prominent, visible mezzanine location and b) is located immediately adjacent to Gates 8, 9 and 10 where their largest aircraft usually depart from. Also, the access to a convenient point of egress for passengers transferring from / to international ex the domestic terminal is better located than somewhere in the south wings.

Certainly, there is a preference for the northern location since it provides comparatively 'close' boarding access for lounge guests. It is also undoubtedly true that the more distant southern gates also see QF traffic and that a second QF Business Lounge may well be needed.

What intrigues me more is that QF could announce a timeline (over a year ago) for a complete refurbishment of the Business Lounge. Surely in order to do this, approvals and agreement from Sydney Airport Corporation would / should have been approved on a prior basis???

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

22 Feb 2019

Total posts 5

Clearly the under-promise and over-deliver concept is lost in the aviation industry.

Would two Qantas Business Lounges be viable in Sydney International? One where it is and one down towards the other end of the terminal?

It would depend on where the Qantas flights are departing from, although Sydney isn't that large an airport anyway. If you look at HKG, Cathay Pacific has lounges at both ends and has a lot of flights from both ends plus along the centre. Qantas tends to have all its flights on the same side as the lounges or on that pier closest to the lounges, the further away you get from that you rarely see QF jets.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

21 Jun 2017

Total posts 34

Flights. Lounges. Can qantas deliver anything on time.

21 Aug 2019

Total posts 1

At least some new furniture would make a big difference until a new space is found (if that's what is happening...)

21 Aug 2019

Total posts 64

A good reason to continue aiming for Platinum. Joking aside it may be due to Sydney Airport. It is doing a lot of work to expand and Qantas may just be seeing where to position a lounge in the future. Best let the lounge stagger along for a bit longer

Etihad - Etihad Guest

09 Jun 2019

Total posts 11

Even when it's expanded, the business lounge will still be crowded at peak times. All the more reason to strive for those extra points and move up to Platinum.

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