Virgin Australia delays Hobart, Darwin airport lounges to 2015

By David Flynn , January 15 2014
Virgin Australia delays Hobart, Darwin airport lounges to 2015

Virgin Australia has pushed back the opening of its lounges at Hobart and Darwin airports until next year, with a spokeswoman for the airline confirming to Australian Business Traveller that both lounges are now likely to open in 2015.

Hobart and Darwin are in line for lounges based on Virgin's 'regional' model, similar to facilities at Cairns, Perth's T2 Terminal and Mackay.

Hobart has suffered the greatest slippage in Virgin's timeframes, and according to the spokeswoman "we are still in discussions with Hobart airport regarding timings and location of the lounge."

In late 2012 Virgin Australia CEO John Borghetti said that the Hobart lounge would open in 2013, but in February 2013 that date fell into 2014.

"We're working with the airport authorities and it will be mid-2014”, Borghetti told Australian Business Traveller at the time.

News of continued delays to Virgin's Hobart lounge comes one day after Qantas said it would hand all Hobart flights over to its regional arm QantasLink, replacing the current Boeing 737 jets with smaller Boeing 717s from mid-April and axe 35 Qantas staff from Hobart.

Read: Is Qantas really 'downgrading' Hobart flights?

As to Virgin's new 150 seat at Darwin Airport, which was also slated for a 2013 opening, the airline spokeswoman said "we are looking to commence works for our Darwin lounge late this year."

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David

David Flynn is the Editor-in-Chief of Executive Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.

09 May 2011

Total posts 294

Clearly Virgin doesn't see any reason to aggressively compete in Hobart now that Qantas are reducing their service quality.

07 Oct 2012

Total posts 1256

I somewhat doubt QF's decision to use 717's has anything to do with this.

AlG
AlG

04 Nov 2010

Total posts 674

Yes, they are two completely different things. The Hobart lounge has been in a 'not happening' state for two years now according to this article, it was 2013 then 2014 and now 2015. Trying to draw a connection between the QF and VA moves is a bit ill-informed.

09 May 2011

Total posts 294

I'm only drawing a connection to the announcement. The timing's a bit interesting.

AlG
AlG

04 Nov 2010

Total posts 674

Not the best timing, is this Virgin? I fly Melbourne-Hobart a few times a year, shifted my business to Qantas when you launched business class and am mostly happy, but surely right now is the time to be getting competitive with Qantas on the Hobart route instead of yet another delay to your lounge there?

Isn't there something which Virign can do with Hobart Airport to 'rope off' a small space for eligible passengers with more comfortable chairs, give them a $20 voucher for food & drink valid at any airport outlet, etc?

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

22 Apr 2013

Total posts 147

Actually - you might be on to something. Something similar to Air Berlin's little 'express lounge' idea... which is really nothing more than a roped off area with a barista, seating and Wifi access in the main concourse near several gates. Better than nothing in the interim.

09 May 2011

Total posts 294

Even better -- Air NZ (who own a substantial stake in VA) has a Koru Express Lounge at Christchurch Regional terminal.

https://www.executivetraveller.com/a-new-concept-in-regional-airport-lounges-air-nz-koru-express

This looks exactly like what could be used in Hobart. Just back a private area onto one of the many cafés in the departures area.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

05 Jan 2012

Total posts 335

Of course location is an issue in Hobart. Any ideas?

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

15 Aug 2012

Total posts 175

And that's the issue, VA I believe would love to put a lounge in but need Hobart Airport to provide space and workable conditions.

Criticising Virgin for  lack of competition is somewhat ironic as I think history shows they very much want to compete, and compete hard.

Just ask Alan

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

24 Mar 2013

Total posts 67

Regional strategy yet still no lounge for Townsville????

Qantas, Jetstar win big in 2014 Airline Excellence Awards | News.com.au

https://mobile.news.com.au/travel/travel-updates/qantas-jetstar-win-big-in-2014-airline-excellence-awards/story-e6frfq80-1226801466059

Includes QF's Domestic lounges.... ACCOR have made a significant difference.


AlG
AlG

04 Nov 2010

Total posts 674

I agree with the award because the domestic Qantas lounges are better than Virgin's, especially when you consider the Qantas Business Lounge, but ACCOR can't have been a factor in this award because they only took over the lounges just before Christmas, and then the business lounges were closed anyway. I think it's just on the overall merit of the QF lounges.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

24 Mar 2013

Total posts 67

Fair point Al, its just that the differences in catering options and staff presentation/ service have been quite noticeable, the sandwhich presses are a great addition and the table service (coffee, softdrinks etc) are a classic touch for the standard club.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

25 May 2012

Total posts 582

While Accor's management of the lounges has seen an improvement for the Qantas Clubs, the level of service has slipped for the Domestic Business lounges.


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