SIA bill to revamp airport lounges soars to $100m

SIA bill to revamp airport lounges soars to $100m
Singapore Airline's new luxury lounge in Sydney, the first of 15 to be refreshed, has workstation “podseats” so travellers get more privacy to catch up on work. The 775 sq m Sydney lounge was also expanded to cater for 170 customers, 50 more than previously.

Singapore Airlines is to spend $100 million on revamping its 15 airport lounges around the world - five times the amount it had originally estimated for the project.

The $20 million budget announced last year has been revised as the airline looks to set itself apart from rivals and convince premium customers that a great flight begins on the ground.

The extra $80 million will be spent on speeding up renovations and upsizing the SilverKris Lounges to give more first- and business-class passengers space and privacy to relax.

Tuesday's announcement came after SIA unveiled its new-look luxury lounge in Sydney, the first of the 15 to be refreshed over the next five years.

They will all be given the new "home away from home" treatment by local design firm Ong & Ong. Renovations will be brought forward to next year for lounges in Singapore (Terminal 3), Hong Kong and London.

Rivals Cathay Pacific and Qantas have already opened new luxury lounges or improved existing ones, adding champagne bars and open kitchens.

SIA's overhaul will introduce more workstation "podseats", giving travellers greater privacy as they catch up on work before their flights, while new high-back wing armchairs will be installed for those wanting to relax.

The 775 sq m Sydney lounge was also expanded to cater for 170 customers, 50 more than previously.

Passengers will be able to get a taste of Singapore while in far-flung cities when the lounges offer local dishes including laksa and mee siam.

Artworks showcasing home-grown talent and artists from the countries of departure will adorn the rooms.

SIA senior vice-president for product and services Tan Pee Teck said the facelift will bring SIA's well-known on-board service to the ground. He added: "Each space is thoughtfully designed to create the ambience of home that is familiar and comforting."

Other changes SIA has made this year include new cabin seats and in-flight entertainment for long-haul Boeing 777-300ER aircraft, enhancing its KrisFlyer programme and rolling out customer initiatives like higher baggage allowances. A re-designed website is also being planned.

Analyst Jonathan Lee, who flies about once a month on SIA, is looking forward to the podseats. The 45-year-old said: "It usually gets quite crowded and noisy at night with kids, even, running around. Hopefully there will be some quiet spaces. Even better if they can throw in a complimentary massage."

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