Virgin Australia to open Darwin, Alice Springs lounges next week

By Chris Chamberlin, March 26 2015
Virgin Australia to open Darwin, Alice Springs lounges next week

Virgin Australia’s new Darwin and Alice Springs lounges will open their doors next week, coinciding with the launch of non-stop flights between the two regional centres.

In Darwin, travellers will unwind in a 150-seat lounge that’s roughly the size of its Gold Coast sibling (pictured below) with creature comforts such as all-day espresso, free wireless Internet and complimentary food and alcoholic beverages.

Virgin Australia’s new Darwin lounge comes as part of a $60 million overhaul of the city's airport, and follows the unveiling of an enlarged Qantas Club lounge in the same terminal.

We expect Virgin's new Alice Springs lounge to adopt the more pared-back 'regional' design of its sister lounge at Mackay (shown below), which still ticks the basic preflight boxes.

Virgin Australia's regional lounge at Mackay Airport, which opened in 2011.
Virgin Australia's regional lounge at Mackay Airport, which opened in 2011.

Both lounges will welcome passengers travelling onward in Virgin Australia business class, along with Velocity Gold and Platinum frequent flyers and paid-up lounge members stuck in economy, plus top-tier travellers of its partner airlines including Etihad, Delta and Air New Zealand.

We can’t yet reveal their exact opening dates, but keep your eyes on Australian Business Traveller’s Twitter account (@AusBT) next week for the first photos from the Darwin lounge.

Australian Business Traveller will attend the Darwin lounge opening as a guest of Virgin Australia.

Follow Australian Business Traveller on Twitter: we're @AusBT

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.

10 Feb 2012

Total posts 9

I'm surprised Hobart and Townsville weren't opened before Alice Springs. Lets hope those two cities get the lounges as well. This would at least give a final country wide scope of service. Hobart definitely needs one and Townsville has a larger public service population then places like Cairns. Anyway, great news for all who use Virgin.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

20 Nov 2012

Total posts 43

Alice Springs getting a lounge before Townsville and Hobart is a joke. Come on VA, pull your finger out and get lounges in these two cities.

24 Aug 2011

Total posts 808

I believe the issue at both TSV and HBA is getting suitable space assigned by the airport owners.  

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

27 Mar 2015

Total posts 5

Wessa,

Regarding TSV, where would they put a VA lounge ? QF barely manages.

cheers

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

30 May 2013

Total posts 334

Regarding the lack of a lounge at HBA, I get the feeling the airport owners aren't really fussed if there's a lounge there or not. The current termainal at Hobart is nothing short of a disgrace. They need to take a leaf out of Launceston Airport's book - that's a brilliant airport for a city of only 100,000 people.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

10 Jan 2013

Total posts 715

Some things work better when run by the private sector, but absolute monopolies like capital airports generally don't. Much revenue gained, not a whole lot reinvested in airport development. At least CBR and ADL are some that have made an effort in reinvesting in their airport in a significant way.

HBA doesn't seem to give a stuff. 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

29 Nov 2013

Total posts 481

Do you mean like Sydney Airport Holdings? The private sector owner of Sydney airport...

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

10 Jan 2013

Total posts 715

Any privately owned airport, that despite generating healthy turnover, has seen little change in the quality of it's common spaces.

There are a few major Australian airports where the only substantitive improvements are those paid for, not by the airport, but by the leasee of that space within the airport. Our major airports definitely don't rank among the world's best by considerable gap, despite the high charges these airports comparatively charge to other airports around the world.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

29 Nov 2013

Total posts 481

I'm not following you now Gipps...

Your earlier comment "Some things work better when run by the private sector" in the context of your response indicates that you feel that HBA being owned by the TAS government is a core issue around the lack of a VA lounge - if it was privately owned then you feel the situation would be different? 

Yet now you seem to contradict that...

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

10 Jan 2013

Total posts 715

You do realise that HBA was privatised? Just as SYD, MEL etc was. That lease was operated by a Tasmanian Government company (Hobart Ports Corporation, etc) - which operated at arms length to the Government itself, but was sold off in Dec 2007 to a Macqaurie Capital consortium (the silver donut). 

HBA is as much state owned as SYD is (or a lot of our ports are) - that is under lease to third party. There are no capital city airports in Australia under government control, all are run by private operators. It is the private operator that runs the airport, not the Government.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

10 Jan 2013

Total posts 715

From Hobart Airport's own website:

Corporate profile

Hobart International Airport Pty Ltd (HIAPL) operates the Hobart Airport... HIAPL is owned by the Tasmanian Gateway Consortium, which is a joint venture between two major Australian superannuation investment companies:

  • 50.1% share owned by Macquarie Global Infrastructure Fund III (GIF III)
  • 49.9% share owned by Retirement Benefits Fund (RBF) Board

The silver donut is the majority operator of HBA, the TAS State Government has no direct involvement with HBA.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

10 Jan 2013

Total posts 715

Both HBA and SYD have a similar entity in the respective operating companies - the silver donut is a major presence on the management boards of both.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

29 Nov 2013

Total posts 481

Gipps,

Maybe its the unrelenting heat here in Brisbane and I've mis-read your posts - but we are both on the same page...

  1. No, I did not research the ownership structure of HBA (my bad - but in my defence, it is Hobart...)
  2. I misinterpreted your first post because of #1 (I put this down to 'our bad')
So yes, I actually agree with you that monopoly private ownership (aka silver donut or BAH) deliver customer experience* outcomes that deviate significantly from the mean of expectations** - whereby
  • * the customer includes the tenants, travelling public, and the local community
  • ** basically they suck, we don't like them, they do lots of things that pretty much infuriate us but we can't state it in simple english as the post would be blocked...
 And my final agreement point - I travel every year to Portland via PDX - a State owned asset - I've never wanted to visit a lounge because the general terminal facilities are so good...

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

10 Jan 2013

Total posts 715

It's no problem, markpk, it's often a maze identifying who are the actual operators of our airports are thanks to the plethora of holding companies and controlling interests. HBA is one of the few sites that are a bit more upfront, but it's not exactly in bold letters on the front page lol.

I assumed, once I got past the confusion, that it was a clash between who owns the airports (the Commonwealth still technically does) and who actually operates the airports. I thought, in particular, you might have been going from memory past and therefore were unaware that the Tassie Government relinquished it's connections for $350ish million last decade. Information was provided to advise, as I imagine most don't follow airport operator changes in great detail.

To reassert my opinion in another way, I think the odds are more likely (but not absolutely certain) that if our major airports were still run by a public trust (or possibly to a somewhat lesser likelihood, a government owned enterprise) they'd be in a far superior state today. That said, privately run capital airports can re-invest (i.e. Canberra) but there is a general tendency not to do so because there isn't much incentive when you have a monopolistic business.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

10 Jan 2013

Total posts 715

Sorry, run by a public trust (a vehicle I think would work well) or still by a government owned enterprise (apologies for any confusion).

To bring this discussion thread back on-topic, this article is about the opening of Virgin Australia's new lounges in Darwin and Alice Springs, not the ownership structure of airports in Tasmania.

24 Oct 2010

Total posts 2431

Hobart is still at least 1-2 years away. In February this year, VA CEO John Borghetti told us the long-delayed Hobart lounge "may be for next year but I would suggest to you it’s the year after."

See: https://www.executivetraveller.com/virgin-australia-new-lounges-coming-for-brisbane-perth-in-2015

bmc
bmc

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

22 Aug 2013

Total posts 169

Maybe VA should follow Etihad's lead and join the forum here. Fat chance me thinks

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

03 Jul 2011

Total posts 184

Will the DRW lounge have silly opening times like its QF counterpart, nothing better than a delayed flight and being asked to leave the lounge as its closing!

Hi Colin, we'll check once the lounge has opened and will let you know.


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