February 22, 2023 | By Bronwen Largier

Australia’s national carrier will spend $100 million upgrading its airport lounges around the world, while Air New Zealand is adding an extra-legroom option to flights between Auckland and Los Angeles before the end of the month. And Singapore Airlines has just notched up its highest ever quarterly operating profit.

A big investment by Qantas

In its biggest investment in its lounges in more than a decade, Qantas will introduce a new First Lounge at Heathrow Airport in London, reopen a refreshed Hong Kong International Lounge, undertake a total refurbishment and expansion of its International Business Lounge in Sydney, expand and update its Melbourne International Business Lounge, add a new Qantas Club in Hobart and add a new Regional Lounge in Broome, with twice as many seats as previously.

“Being back in profit means we’re back to making long term investments for our customers,” said Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce.

“That started with the major aircraft order we announced last year and now we’re building on that with a major investment in our lounges.

“Millions of people a year visit our lounges and they are typically our frequent flyers who travel with us the most, so anything we do to improve them is a way of saying thank you to our most loyal customers.

“We have three new and upgraded lounge spaces due to open this year and the pipeline we’re announcing today will take us through to 2025.

“London is one of the most important destinations on our network and it’s the perfect location for a First Lounge, especially with our direct Project Sunrise flights on the way. Heathrow is one of the world’s busiest airports so we’re very pleased to be working with them to secure a great space in the terminal for an additional lounge,” said Joyce.

Air New Zealand adds new Stretch seats in Auckland-LAX economy cabin

New Zealand’s national carrier will offer a selection of economy seats with 39 per cent more legroom on its flights between Los Angeles and Auckland from February 27 as part of a gradual overhaul of its economy offerings.

There will be 42 Economy Stretch seats per flight, with each retailing for an additional NZ$175.

“Customers have told us they want more room to relax, and at a competitive price,” said Air New Zealand’s chief customer and sales officer Leanne Geraghty.

“Economy Stretch answers this challenge, with some luxury for the legs all while enjoying our renowned in-flight service, Kiwi cuisine and wine, and seat-back entertainment.

“Through innovations such as the Economy Skycouch and with Economy Skynest launching later next year, Air New Zealand continues to push boundaries in Economy travel.”

The Economy Skynest will offer the first sleeping pods in economy class for any airline worldwide. Six beds will be available to be booked for four hour sleeping slots in the economy cabins of the airline’s new Dreamliners which are expected to be with Air New Zealand next year.

These innovations are likely to increase New Zealand’s proposition as an association meeting destination, by increasing the comfort of long-distance flights into the country.

Singapore Airlines posts record results

Singapore Airlines Group reached 80 per cent of its pre-COVID capacity in December 2022, across both its namesake national carrier and low-cost carrier Scoot, and posted record revenue of $4.846 billion in the final three months of the year, up $358 million or 8 per cent on the previous quarter.

Together, Singapore Airlines and Scoot carried 7.4 million passengers during the October to December quarter, and 18.8 million passengers in the nine months to December 31, 2022, which is a nine-fold increase from the same period in 2021.

Operating profit for the airline group was $755 million for the third quarter, up $77 million or 11.4 per cent.

The airline is expecting a “robust” quarter for January to March 2023, buoyed by the return of travel to and from Hong Kong, Mainland China and Japan, who were amongst the last to relax pandemic-era travel restrictions.

Singapore Airlines and Scoot are currently serving 14 of the 25 destinations in Mainland China that were on their route maps pre-pandemic.