While COVID-19 has no doubt put a spoke in Singapore Airlines' plans to upgrade its flagship SilverKris lounges at Changi Airport Terminal 3, the carrier hasn't given up on the $50 million make-over and modernisation project. However, it's no doubt proceeding at a much slower pace.
The new and expanded business class lounge was originally due to have its ribbon-cutting in the coming months, but Executive Traveller understands this has now been pushed back to Q3 or Q4, with the neighbouring First Class lounge and The Private Room set to follow sometime in 2021.
Approached for comment, a spokesman for Singapore Airlines said "the project to renovate the SilverKris Lounges at Singapore Changi Airport Terminal 3 is ongoing. We are unable to provide further details on this project, given that we continue to assess the impact of COVID-19 on our operations and our business."
Visitors to the SilverKris business class lounge are currently being asked to trial new seating intended for the renovated lounge and offer opinions and feedback using tablets mounted on stands nearby.
The first of these is a replacement for the older-style sofa chairs, with an extended table for drinks, snacks or a laptop, and what appear to be easily accessible AC/USB sockets located on the table rather than being tucked away out of sight.
Next to this is an evolved version of the 'productivity pods' introduced with the rollout of Singapore Airlines' new-look lounges from 2013 (shown below), but with a more conventionally-shaped seat, a taller wrap-around partition and noise-reducing padding inside the pod.
Singapore Airlines' extensive and expensive lounge revamp is intended to deliver an overall 30% increase in space and customer capacity across the lounges, which will emerge from their construction cocoon with "a fresh look and feel that is modern yet homely, while inspiring a sense of timeless elegance," the Star Alliance member had promised.
The new business class lounge will be expanded and feature four distinct zones, each catering to travellers with different needs.
A highlight of the new space will be a full service bar which doubles as a self-service breakfast station in the mornings.
There'll also be a café-style area intended for customers with only a little time ahead of their flight, while the dining hall will offer a full selection of Asian and international cuisines, including live stations offering signature local delights such as laksa and chicken rice. A rest area with chaise lounges will also be provided for customers to catch some shut-eye before their flight.
The Private Room and first class lounge will each feature an eye-catchingly extravagant light installation by Lalique which will reportedly stretch from floor to ceiling.
Each lounge will have "carefully designed luxurious and intimate seating spaces suitable for both work and rest."
The Private Room retains its full-service fine dining section, where "customers can look forward to an enhanced epicurean journey with fresh and seasonally curated dining offerings, on top of the perennial local favourites," Singapore Airlines says.
Even the KrisFlyer Gold Lounge – home to economy and premium economy travellers with Star Alliance Gold status – will double in capacity and include dedicated working spaces, as well as larger al fresco seating and dining areas and, finally, its own restrooms and showers.
Changi T2 also under renovation
A new SilverKris business class lounge is also on the cards for Changi T2, which closed on May 1 for an 18-month renovation.
The project was originally expected to take through to 2024, with work being done on a staged basis while the terminal continued operating, but with the coronavirus flattening travel demand to and through Singapore – the nation has now closed its borders to international visitors and transit travellers – T2 has been completely shut down, which will allow work to progress much faster.
The new design concept for T2 includes more greenery with overhanging plants and green walls set against what's described as “a new colour palette of earthy tones”.
Also on the cards: a 20% increase in passenger capacity, more automated check-in kiosks, bag-drop areas and automated immigration gates, and a garden-themed lounge in the landside 'meet and greet area'.
In the meantime, Singapore Airlines and its regional arm SilkAir continue to fly a skeleton schedule of around nine jets to just 15 destinations across May and June 2020, representing a staggering 96% capacity reduction.