Growing Air New Zealand invests in lounges

September 13, 2018
Air New Zealand lounges
The Air New Zealand regional lounge concept design. Image: AirNZ

Air New Zealand is continuing its $NZ60m investment in New Zealand lounges with the start of construction next month on an expanded Auckland regional lounge.

The new lounge at Auckland Airport will cater for up to 265 customers, or more than three times the seating of the current lounge.

Offering expansive views of the runway, it is scheduled to open in the middle of next year on level one of Auckland’s domestic terminal.

The move to refurbish and expand regional lounges come as Air New Zealand expects annual passenger numbers to grow from 17 million to 19 million over the next two years.

The Kiwi carrier also has plans to refurbish its  Wellington Airport domestic lounge in the coming months and will increase seating there by 10 percent to 374.

The Wellington lounge will feature six different zones in the new lounge, including a cafe and bar, barista station, business, lounge and quiet areas as well as a self-service food and drinks station.

Also under construction is a new regional lounge Tauranga Airport, in New Zealand’s north. This will three times more seating than the current lounge and is expected to open later this year.

Planning is also underway for brand new regional lounges in Christchurch and Nelson.

Air New Zealand general manager customer experience Anita Hawthorne said it was important to invest in lounges to improve the customer experience and meet the expected growth.

“We know there is huge demand for Air New Zealand’s network of lounges, so we’re delighted to be able to go through the process of redeveloping our regional lounges in Auckland, Christchurch, Nelson and Tauranga along with our domestic lounge in Wellington to enhance the experience our customers have on the ground before they fly,” she said.

Air New Zealand chief executive Christopher Luxon signaled in August that Air New Zealand’s growth would lead to the greater availability of cheaper fares.

Read Profitable Air New Zealand flags fare bonanza.

“One of the benefits of a growing Air New Zealand is more opportunities than ever for Kiwis to snap up a bargain,’’ Luxon said in the airline’s results announcement.  “In 2019, we will offer more than 2.9 million seats for travel in New Zealand for under $100.’’

The Kiwi carrier reported its second-ever highest annual pre-tax profit of $NZ540 million, up from $NZ527 million last year, on record revenues of $NZ5.5 billion, up 7.4 percent.