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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.