Air New Zealand unveils new Melbourne lounge

Air New Zealand's refurbished Melbourne Tullamarine lounge. (Air New Zealand)
A supplied image of Air New Zealand’s refurbished Melbourne Tullamarine lounge. (Air New Zealand)

Air New Zealand has unveiled a new premium passenger lounge at Melbourne Airport, in the latest example of the airline’s investment in Australia as it seeks to attract more travellers from this side of the Tasman onto its long-haul services.

The upgraded facility at Tullamarine is the third of Air New Zealand’s lounges in Australia to have been improved in recent times, with new Sydney and Brisbane lounges having opened in May 2015 and March 2016, respectively.

Further, the Star Alliance member said in January it planned to open a new lounge at Perth Airport by the end of 2017.

Air New Zealand’s Melbourne lounge, on the ground floor of the international terminal, features similar elements as those in Sydney and Melbourne, given architectural firm Gensler has worked on all three facilities.

It has capacity to seat 250 people and offers a self-service food buffet, barista coffee and various seating options from lounge chairs to long benches and quiet nooks for users to work, rest or play prior to their flight.

Air New Zealand's refurbished Melbourne Tullamarine lounge. (Air New Zealand)
From long benches to lounge chairs, the lounge has a variety of seating options. (Air New Zealand)

Air New Zealand general manager for customer experience Anita Hawthorne said the size of the lounge has been expanded by 50 per cent.

“The airline has been investing heavily in the Australian market and promoting its services through its ‘Better Way to Fly’ campaign starring Dave the goose which encourages Australians to travel Air New Zealand to North and South America,” Hawthorne said.

“It’s also clear Australians love the Air New Zealand products and services after recently taking out the number one spot in AMR’s 2017 Australia Corporate Reputation Index so we look forward to welcoming customers to our new lounge.”

The lounge will be officially opened for passengers on Tuesday, Air New Zealand said in a statement on Monday.

Air New Zealand serves Auckland, Christchurch, Queenstown and Wellington from Melbourne, while its trans-Tasman alliance partner Virgin Australia has its own nonstop services to Auckland and Christchurch.

Air New Zealand's refurbished Melbourne Tullamarine lounge. (Air New Zealand)
Barista coffee is offered in the Air New Zealand Melbourne lounge. (Air New Zealand)

In October 2016, Air New Zealand launched an advertising campaign featuring the voice of Australian actor Bryan Brown in a new marketing push to grow passenger numbers from Australia travelling to the Americas – where it serves six destinations – Buenos Aires, Honolulu, Houston, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Vancouver – via its Auckland hub.

There have also been product improvements with the withdrawal of the Boeing 767 fleet paving the way for Air New Zealand to offer more 787-9 services on trans-Tasman routes, such as the announced Dreamliner operation to Adelaide starting in October 2017.

Some travellers may be attracted to an international-to-international connection at Auckland, where they remain in the same terminal and have the option of flying on widebody aircraft on both legs, rather than a domestic-to-international transit in Australia.

The new Tullamarine lounge was part of Air New Zealand’s $100 million lounge development program.