Virgin Australia's Canberra lounge to reopen, The Club still in doubt

“We will have seven lounges, in the biggest ports,” says Virgin Australia CEO Jayne Hrdlicka.

By Chris Chamberlin, December 17 2020
Virgin Australia's Canberra lounge to reopen, The Club still in doubt

Virgin Australia will reopen its Canberra Airport lounge in early 2021, following a review of the capital city's role in the rebuilt VA2 network.

However, the fate of Virgin’s separate invitation-only The Club lounges remains in doubt – particularly as the airline adopts a mid-market strategy with a reduced focus on corporate travellers, rather than emulating the full-service approach of rival Qantas.

“We're pleased to confirm our Canberra Lounge will reopen in the New Year,” a Virgin Australia spokesperson tells Executive Traveller.

“Our Club lounges remain under review until we’re able to reassess travel demand from the corporate sector in the new year.”

Speaking at last week's CAPA Live online conference, Virgin Australia CEO Jayne Hrdlicka allowed that the airline “will have seven lounges, in the biggest ports.”

Virgin's Canberra lounge will return in early 2021.
Virgin's Canberra lounge will return in early 2021.

Virgin had previously committed to retaining lounges in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth Terminal 1 and on the Gold Coast, but accepts that the size of its network falls well short of the competition.

“Qantas will have a much bigger lounge network that reaches into small regional airports,” Hrdlicka acknowledges.

However, she justifies that “our most valued guests have told us what they want, and where they want it, and we're doing exactly that.”

The return of Virgin Australia’s lounge network

Virgin Australia’s Brisbane’s lounge was the first to return, reopening its doors in November, followed by Sydney and Melbourne from December 15.

In fact, Melbourne travellers are currently treated to The Club, which has temporarily replaced the airline's public lounge while maintenance works take place.

Read: Virgin opens Melbourne’s The Club lounge to everybody

Lounges in Adelaide, Perth and the Gold Coast – plus Canberra, of course – will then reopen in early 2021.

The airline has previously advised that its lounges in Alice Springs, Cairns, Darwin, Mackay, Perth T2 and Wellington will not return.

Also read: Virgin Australia's future is more JetBlue than Jetstar

Chris Chamberlin

Chris Chamberlin is the Associate Editor of Executive Traveller, and lives by the motto that a journey of a thousand miles begins not just with a single step, but also a strong latte, a theatre ticket, and later in the day, a good gin and tonic.

14 Oct 2016

Total posts 94

I think closing the Canberra lounge would have very much been an own goal. Firstly it would have lead to an exodus of their corporate flyer base out of Canberra and secondly it would have given a boost to Rex as they could have come in and taken the lounge, in the process stealing many of their customers. 

09 Aug 2015

Total posts 75

If Virgin closed the Canberra lounge it would see most of the public service and politicians and 'consultants' head straight over to Qantas. I reckon Rex will add Canberra as soon as it's built up the triangle even if it's just a flight timed to connect with the most popular regional services into and out of Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane but I could never see them taking over Virgin's lounge. If Virgin did decide the shut the Canberra lounge I'd think that Canberra Airport would take it over, run it as an 'independent' lounge with regular and VIP sections and sell access to Virgin and Rex.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

04 Mar 2014

Total posts 185

I dont Rex going into CBR that fast, i see them targeting leisure markets before CBR, and linking their existing ports, ADL, CNS, PER etc

Canberra is definitely part of Rex's 'Phase 2' capital city network according to leaked documents which ET reported on a while back. I suppose the trick is that they don't really know how many of their regional customers would step off a Rex flight at SYD, MEL or BNE and step onto a Qantas or Virgin flight to CBR so it's hard to accurately gauge demand. But CBR might also be more of a seasonal market based around the political calendar, too.

QFP

22 Jan 2013

Total posts 77

Why don’t they, Rex, put a Turbo prop on the SY-CB sector? QF can charge over $200 one way for the 30 min flight. I have done the sector 6 times in last couple mths, each flight has been full.

Qantas

19 Apr 2012

Total posts 1262

Rex smaller Saab’s will be perfect for Canberra.

Food and drink in the lounge at this time is quite poor. The sandwich's were stale. !!!


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