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ADELAIDE AIRPORT: Big plans for new lounges and more international services

ADELAIDE AIRPORT: Big plans for new lounges and more international services

Born in Adelaide, and with considerable family living there, Adelaide is one of my regular destinations. I have witnessed the gradual improvements to the airport over the last five or so years.

Adelaide Airport has undergone a transformation, part of a series of improvement plans carried out since the new terminal’s inception in 2005 (really 2006, once underground fuel line issues were resolved). Improvements to the airport, including adding a multi-storey car park, a new control tower, a Hotel, and major extensions and improvements to the main concourse, are virtually complete. The next major improvement will be adding, expanding and refurbishing some existing Airline Lounge facilities.

Adelaide Airport, Easter 2022
Adelaide Airport, Easter 2022. [Schuetz/2PAXfly]

Current Lounges at Adelaide Airport

Adelaide has four domestic lounges and one lounge serving the airport’s international services. Domestically, for Qantas, it has a combined Business and Qantas Club and a Chairman’s lounge. Virgin Australia initiated its first new lounge design post administration and sale to Bain Capital, and REX has a lounge servicing its regional and capital city routes to Melbourne and Sydney.

Internationally, there is only one lounge, a Plaza Premium lounge, which is open daily but only between 7:00 am and 11:30 am.

Adelaide Airport - Virgin Lounge area construction
Adelaide Airport – Virgin Lounge area construction [Schuetz/2PAXfly]

Future Lounges for Adelaide Airport

The Airport hopes to have some additional lounges and some refurbished ones.

Qantas Lounges Adelaide Airport

Let’s start with the refreshes. Qantas has announced that it will be refurbishing its Chairman’s lounge and adding a Business Class lounge, giving it three lounges, including the existing Qantas Club lounge. Qantas added its combined business and club lounge back in 2005. It’s now reached capacity, so Qantas is expanding and creating a separate Business Lounge. The Chairman’s lounge is now dated and due for refurbishment. Expect it to take cues from the Brisbane Chairman’s Lounge, which opened back in 2018

Media outside Adelaide Qantas Lounge 2022
Media outside Adelaide Qantas Lounge 2022 [Schuetz/2PAXfly]

Virgin Australia Lounge Adelaide Airport

Virgin opened its new look lounge, considerably bigger than the old one, when the last round of Airport updating was completed. They did run a kind of pop-up interim lounge for a while. The opening of the new lounge was delayed due to the pandemic. There are no plans to open an additional lounge, and it is too soon to refurbish the existing lounge.

Virgin Australia new lounge, Adelaide
Virgin Australia’s new lounge, Adelaide [Schuetz/2PAXfly]

REX (Regional Express) Lounge(s) Adelaide Airport

The airline has a very small and dated space designed to service passengers taking regional flights. But REX now has capital city flights from Melbourne and Sydney into Adelaide and needs to service planned increases in that traffic. According to the Adelaide Airport MD, Brenton Cox, quoted in Point Hacks, REX wants to open a second lounge on the Virgin Australia side of the concourse. There’s even a space reserved for it.

Entry to REX lounges is reserved for Business Class passengers, those who are Lounge members or for payment of a fee on the day. The REX lounges are also accessible to Priority Pass members.

Adelaide Airport concourse, still with some work to do in June 2023
Adelaide Airport concourse, still with some work to do in June 2023 [Schuetz/2PAXfly]

2PAXfly Takeout

Adelaide Airport is working on returning some of the international airlines that serviced the state pre-pandemic. Those included Cathay Pacific, China Southern and Emirates. Adelaide Airport is offering ‘support packages’ to encourage airlines to reinstate their pre-pandemic services and to encourage new airline customers. The Airport is looking at the USA and Japan and increased services with New Zealand. They want Air NZ to return its Dreamliner to Adelaide, which will dovetail with Auckland’s onward service to the USA.

Adelaide is a small market, whether you are looking in or outbound. With airlines moving to smaller aircraft with point-to-point route capabilities over the next decade, this should work in Adelaide’s favour. The southern state capital is never going to provide the market for an A380 or a high-capacity 777. However, an A350 or a Dreamliner, with its smaller capacity, suites a market like Adelaide down to the ground.

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