Oneworld pushing back on bespoke own-brand airport lounges to 2020?

By Chris Chamberlin, June 1 2019

Airline alliance Oneworld may not open its first own-branded airport business class lounge until 2020, with at least three major airports around the world still said to be on the shortlist.

Oneworld previously planned to announce the location of the first lounge at the 2019 Annual General Meeting of the International Air Transport Association (IATA), which is being held this week in Seoul – and which sparked speculation that Seoul itself could be poster-child for the first Oneworld lounge.

However, alliance CEO Rob Gurney admits the first lounge may not open its doors until next year.

"We certainly will have concluded our first lounge this year, whether it will actually be opened and operational depends on the location, whether it’s a new build or whether it’s a modification of an existing build," Gurney told  Australian Business Traveller on the sidelines of the IATA conference.

Gurney has his eye on several other locations in the short term, and several dozen beyond that.

"Developing a program like this is only valuable if you can get some economy of scale around it, so we think there are double digit numbers of opportunities globally," he reflects.

"I don’t think it’s unreasonable to think that over the next 1.5-2 years, we’d be aiming for somewhere between 2-4 lounges – identified, that is, maybe not opened though."

And is Seoul, which hosts non-stop daily flights by seven of Oneworld's 13 member airlines, on that list? "We’re not making any comments at all about where the candidates are located. I’m glad you asked though, I’d be disappointed if you didn’t," Gurney laughs.

Speaking to Australian Business Traveller in February this year, at an event to mark the alliance's 20th anniversary, Gurney said the Oneworld lounges would focus on airports or terminals without a home carrier which belongs to Oneworld.

“The idea is that we develop these where no single airline has a massive presence, but we have multiple airlines flying into the same airport, maybe with daily flight. So while collectivity we (as Oneworld) have a lot of flights, no single airline could justify the cost of the lounge.”

“We think there’s around 15 to 30 opportunities globally which fall into that category, although some of these are a long way out – some are driven by terminal development such as Sao Paulo,  Beijing Daxing, Frankfurt, Paris, New York JFK and even Heathrow.” 

Oneworld is the last of the three main global alliances to plan and open lounges operated by the alliance itself: to date, any branded ‘Oneworld Lounges’ have instead been run by member airlines, such as the Oneworld Lounge in Los Angeles, which is managed by Qantas and maintained as a partnership between the Flying Kangaroo, British Airways and Cathay Pacific.

Star Alliance, a Oneworld rival and the largest of the three global alliances, now has eight alliance-branded lounges under its belt, spanning locations in Amsterdam, Buenos Aires, Los Angeles, Nagoya, Paris, Rio de Janeiro, Rome and Sao Paulo, with separate Star Alliance First Class Lounges offered in selected ports like Paris and Los Angeles.

Meanwhile, SkyTeam also operates eight SkyTeam-branded lounges around the globe – most of which are strategically positioned at airports that otherwise serve as major hubs for rival Oneworld and Star Alliance airlines – being in Beijing, Dubai, Hong Kong, Istanbul, London Heathrow, Santiago, Sydney and Vancouver.

Chris Chamberlin is attending the IATA AGM in Seoul as a guest of IATA.

PREVIOUS [February 1 2019, by David Flynn] | The Oneworld alliance will open its own network of Oneworld-branded airline lounges at key airports around the world, with an inaugural ribbon-cutting in the second half of 2019 and two more lounges likely to follow in 2020.

Oneworld hasn't revealed which airport will host that debutante lounge, but alliance CEO Rob Gurney tells Australian Business Traveller that several airports are in contention “and in the middle of this year we will be announcing the first Oneworld lounge.’

“We’ve actually got three we are pursuing, we just haven’t decided what the first one is going to be – it could be any one of those.”

Speaking to Australian Business Traveller on the sidelines of a press conference in London to mark the alliance's 20th anniversary, Gurney said the lounges would focus on airports or terminals without a home carrier which belongs to Oneworld.

“The idea is that we develop these where no single airline has a massive presence, but we have multiple airlines flying into the same airport, maybe with daily flights,” Gurney explains. “So while collectivity we (as Oneworld) have a lot of flights, no single airline could justify the cost of the lounge.”

“We think there’s around 15 to 30 opportunities globally which fall into that category, although some of these are a long way out – some are driven by terminal development such as Sao Paulo,  Beijing Daxing, Frankfurt, Paris, New York JFK and even Heathrow.”

Oneworld’s rollout would be similar to the approach adopted by competing alliances Star Alliance and SkyTeam.

The closest that currently exists is a business class lounge at Los Angeles' Tom Bradley International Airport which was launched as a joint project between Qantas, British Airways and Cathay Pacific, and is managed by Qantas.

Gurney tells Australian Business Traveller that the Oneworld-branded lounges will be an integrated “premium lounge with a very high quality experience” and open to business class and first class passengers as well as top-tier frequent flyers holding each member airline’s equivalent of Oneworld Emerald and Sapphire status (such as Qantas Platinum and Gold, Cathay Pacific’s Macro Polo club Gold and Diamond, and British Airways Executive Club Silver and Gold).

However, he adds that “if there are airports that have a particularly high concentration of first class passengers” a seperate first class lounge would be considered.

Obvious contenders for future Oneworld lounges will be airports where Oneworld member airlines are working towards 'co-location' of facilities including check-in desks and departure gates.

"Oneworld aims to bring its member airlines operating at all airports worldwide together under one roof, to smooth transfers for passengers connecting between different carriers’ flights, wherever the opportunities are available and wherever it makes sense," Gurney explains.

“We are working on once-in-a-lifetime opportunities at some of our most important gateways in Asia, the Americas and Europe with the aim of delivering the best experience for customers at each of these locations.”

This includes Sao Paulo, where all five Oneworld members currently flying to the Brazilian mega-hub expect to co-locate all of their domestic, regional and international operations in the new Terminal 3A, which is slated to open in mid-2021.

Also on that list would be Frankfurt, where the new Terminal 3 – expected to open in 2023 – will likely see a single Oneworld lounge shared by the ten alliance Oneworld airlines flying out of Frankfurt.

David Flynn travelled to London as a guest of Qantas and Oneworld.

ChrisCh
ChrisCh

Chris Chamberlin

Chris Chamberlin is the Associate Editor of Executive Traveller and lives by the motto that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, a great latte, a theatre ticket and a glass of wine!

MelbFlyer

MelbFlyer

Air New Zealand - Airpoints

23 May 2013

Total posts 38

With British Airways recently closing their SFO lounge for a refurb I bet this will be the first location

flychrisfly

flychrisfly

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

09 Jun 2011

Total posts 76

You’d think if they smash together CX, AA, QF and BA into a massive lounge at LHR T3 they could generate some savings

moa999

moa999

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

02 Jul 2011

Total posts 1374

Possibly, but many of the LHR T3 lounges are new so they wouldn't want to spend anything for a while.

I see this as more for new airports/ terminals, with some possible rebrands (eg LAX and closer to home maybe PER)

Himeno

Himeno

12 Dec 2012

Total posts 920

The QF LHR lounge is new, the AA and CX lounges were renovated within the last 3 years.

While the AA lounge is in the same lounge 'district' as the other 3 oneworld lounges, there is a corridor to a gate wing and another non oneworld lounge between them.

I'm still surprised by the recent investments airlines have made in LHR T3 with the airport master plan to demolish the terminal to allow expansion of the new T2 into the T2/T5 "toast rack".

Himeno

Himeno

12 Dec 2012

Total posts 920

I do have to wonder where these sorts of lounges would go.

They'd have to be in large airports where a majority of oneworld members fly to, that aren't oneworld hubs or already have large member airline lounges.

Off hand, I can only think of FRA and SFO. Maybe CDG.

djtech

djtech

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

02 Sep 2018

Total posts 85

Interesting but this would put unique benefits offered to Silver level tiers at risk no? Qantas Club passes would be less valuable if QF lounges are converted (although that might not be the case), and Marco Polo Club Silver would be less valuable as more oneworld lounges replaces CX's own lounges.

Ian_from_HKG

Ian_from_HKG

CX

05 Jun 2012

Total posts 110

I would assume that MPC Silver would still get access to the oneworld lounge if on a CX flight - after all, CX will be paying the lounge operator for it. It's not really very different from a MPC Silver getting lounge access at, say, Phuket where CX use the TG lounge

kimshep

kimshep

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

11 Oct 2014

Total posts 480

This significant lounge announcement is part of a larger 'refresh' of the oneworld alliance brand which, incidentally, celebrated it's 20th anniversary yesterday - with a significant knees-up in London.


A completely redesigned and refreshed oneworld website is already revealed and can now be viewed online. Also promised for imminent release is an entirely reworked mobile app as well as new product re-branding, complete with new taglines.

broleur

broleur

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

02 Sep 2016

Total posts 6

How about SIN as a candidate for a Oneworld branded lounge?

AsiaBizTraveller

AsiaBizTraveller

20 Nov 2015

Total posts 52

I can't see that happening at the moment, not with QF opening a first class lounge, but when Singapore's new T5 terminal opens I could imagine all the OneWorld airlines moving to T5 and a single OneWorld lounge there although it would probably need to have a first class lounge as well as business class.

AJW

AJW

16 Nov 2011

Total posts 501

Wouldn’t expect to see that considering OneWorld airlines operate from all 4 terminals at SIN. If they were all in the same terminal then sure.

Mjudd

Mjudd

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

14 Dec 2016

Total posts 41

Probably a bit small minded, however Perth could do with a dedicated One world lounge to replace the International Qantas Business lounge that Qantas no longer uses for their own flights

moa999

moa999

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

02 Jul 2011

Total posts 1374

Could see it happening, albeit a name change doesn't mean a refit.

Also may not be good for QFFrs on JQ

PG44

PG44

28 Feb 2018

Total posts 4

Good idea, but it doesnt sound like Oneworld is 'thinking big' ... the media coverage refers to a handful of new lounges acoss the world over the next few years. Hard to see Perth making the cut unfortunately

scottw

scottw

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

28 Jul 2017

Total posts 6

As detailed in another article on this site, Seoul Incheon is the obvious first candidate.

OttoV

OttoV

Jetstar Airways - Qantas Frequent Flyer

24 Aug 2018

Total posts 38

Hi David . My wife and I recently flew from Budapest back to LHR on BA on what they call business class. Trying to discover on their website prior to our departure, if there was a lounge , it was not until we checked in that we were told that their lounge was a D7. Pity that this information was not readily available on their website or am I missing something?

Sydney787

Sydney787

American Airlines - AAdvantage

02 Jun 2019

Total posts 8

OneWorld lounges work great at airports where no one in the alliance has dominant flights but is flown by several alliance airlines LAX, SFO, Seoul and Paris would be such cities.

Heathrow is perhaps unique because OW has multiple terminals and it's a very important destination for AA, Qantas and Cathay Pacific, each want their own lounges even if it makes sense to have a terminal 3 super lounge.

In Tokyo, Sydney and Hong Kong it makes sense for the alliance to use the excellent hub airlines lounges.

Miami is a funny creature, AA has several lounges there but BA & Iberia have their own lounge in concourse E since they don't use AA concourse D.

anonymous

anonymous

24 Dec 2013

Total posts 83

I am surprised that 7 oneworld airlines fly into Seoul yet Qantas doesn't.

jeppetto367

jeppetto367

06 Jun 2017

Total posts 21

Definitely hope Seoul would be one of the first. Flew CX out of ICN last month and the lounge there is one of the worlds International lounges I've used. They did have a high end Soju which I'd never tried, that was the only positive though.

grov

grov

QFF

19 Sep 2013

Total posts 149

Toronto, which is accessed by BA and CX?

Hi Guest, join in the discussion on Oneworld pushing back on bespoke own-brand airport lounges to 2020?