Qantas first-class lounge opens in Changi Airport T1 amid growing demand for premium air travel

The lounge will be open to first-class and top-tier frequent flyers from Qantas and oneworld aviation alliance.
The lounge will be open to first-class and top-tier frequent flyers from Qantas and oneworld aviation alliance.PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO

SINGAPORE - Qantas has opened a first-class lounge in Changi Airport Terminal 1 - the first such facility the Australian flag carrier has set up in Asia.

It joins the airline's other first-class lounges in Sydney, Melbourne and Los Angeles.

The sprawling wood-and-marble affair is spread across 1,000 square metres and seats 240, including a 157-seat a la carte restaurant.

There is a bar and locally inspired dishes like crayfish laksa and other seasonal creations can be ordered.

The lounge will be open to first-class and top-tier frequent flyers from both Qantas and oneworld, the aviation alliance of which the Australian carrier is a member.

Group chief executive Alan Joyce said on Monday (Dec 2) that the Qantas First Lounge as it's called reflects the carrier's deepening investment in its Singapore hub.

Since its Sydney-Singapore-London A380 flights resumed in March 2018, the carrier has seen a rise in demand for premium travel, Mr Joyce said.

"Each time we build an entire new lounge facility from scratch, we speak to our frequent flyers to get a better understanding of how customers like to spend their time in the lounge and tailor it accordingly," he added.

"Our customers told us their key priorities when travelling through or from Singapore is space to relax and do some last-minute work, a quick shower, and a meal before departure so they can maximise their sleep on board."



There is a bar and locally inspired dishes like crayfish laksa and other seasonal creations can be ordered. PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO

Qantas, which is the only foreign airline to have a first-class lounge at Changi Airport, opened its business-class lounge in 2013.

Mr Tino La Spina, the chief executive of Qantas International, said the carrier has increased by 50 per cent the number of seats between Australia and Singapore since 2017, a "massive jump".

Qantas has also carried more than 900,000 passengers on the route so far this year, an increase of nearly 100 per cent from the 500,000 five years ago, Mr La Spina added.

"The increase comes from a strong demand from our premium customers. So (building) First Lounge for us was a no-brainer," Mr La Spina said at the lounge's opening ceremony.

 

Australia is a hugely popular tourist destination for Singaporeans, growing around 3 to 5 per cent year on year, according to Ms Alicia Seah, director of public relations and communications at Dynasty Travel.

More people are visiting all parts of Australia for leisure, business and education.

"The route between the two countries will continue to grow as there are many links between Singapore and Australia for trade, tourism, education and even defence," she added.

"The Australia state tourism boards are also actively promoting the different parts of Australia and we see many Singaporeans seeking newer cities such as Broome in Western Australia and Canberra."

Qantas has embarked on Project Sunrise, an ambitious plan that will eventually see the carrier fly non-stop from Australian east coast cities like Sydney and Melbourne to London, Paris and New York City by 2022.

Qantas has pulled off two successful test flights so far - one from New York to Sydney in October and another from London to Sydney in November.

Both flights spanned just over 19 hours and beat Singapore Airlines' Newark route, which stood briefly as the world's longest non-stop flight.

 
 

But Mr La Spina said that despite Project Sunrise's non-stop flights, Singapore remains a "massive part" of Qantas' strategy.

People may still want to break their trip into parts or spend time in Singapore, he said, noting: "I think it's actually a complementary strategy. It's not one or the other."