Virgin Australia will cut the ribbon on a new airport lounge at Adelaide next year, revealing a fresh look compared to the familiar design of its other domestic airport lounges.
“We're currently finalising the plan for a new lounge in Adelaide,” Virgin Australia CEO Paul Scurrah tells Executive Traveller, adding that traveller feedback clearly indicates the airport’s current lounge is too small and cramped.
“So we are investing in a new lounge product for Adelaide that our customers are going to love (and) we're hoping to open that lounge early next year.”
Executive Traveller understands the Adelaide lounge will also showcase an updated lounge design with a new ‘character’ that will be noticeably different to its domestic siblings, which all draw from a template created by Sydney’s Tonkin Zulaikha Greer Architects in 2010-2011 and which debuted at Virgin’s Melbourne Airport domestic lounge.
In contrast to the smooth sameness of Virgin Australia’s lounges, competitor Qantas has been reshaping many of its lounges to draw inspiration from their location, as typified by the recent revamps of Brisbane and Melbourne.
In terms of amenities, food and drink, Virgin Australia’s lounges are generally considered to be pitched to between the Qantas Club and Qantas Business lounges – a positioning borne out by our recent comparison of each lounges' breakfast proposition.
Although he’s only been CEO of Virgin Australia since April 2019 Scurrah is far from a stranger to the world of airport lounges, having clocked up endless hours in them in his previous executive roles at DP World Australia and Queensland Rail, Aurizon, Flight Centre and Tourism Queensland.
“The more you travel, the more important lounges become,” Scurrah reflects. “You do get into a routine, you do like familiarity, and I think that's where lounges can play a really important part in smoothing out the process of business travel.”
“I’ve spent a lot of time in airport lounges and I know just how important they are to our passengers, especially a lounge that actually makes it feel relaxing before you travel.”
On his checklist for a good lounge experience? “I value space, power, WiFi, good coffee and good food – it’s the little things that matter most.”
Scurrah readily admits that Emirates’ lounges are a benchmark. “There are excellent lounges everywhere in the world… I think the Emirates lounges are one that a lot of people in the industry aspire to, they’re pretty consistent and people know what they're going to get.”
“Our partner Singapore Airlines has excellent lounges as well, Delta are improving their lounges all the time, Etihad have some great lounges, so we can tap into expertise across our shareholder base to make sure we're doing lounges right.”