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Saturday, Apr 13, 2024

Qantas premium lounge at Hong Kong airport reopens to pomp and ceremony

Qantas premium lounge at Hong Kong airport reopens to pomp and ceremony

Qantas Airways Ltd.’s premium lounge at Hong Kong airport reopened Wednesday to traditional Chinese lion dances and showers of confetti, a further sign the city is gradually returning as an international travel hub after the pandemic.
The grand reopening after a three-year closure is part of a A$100 million (US$67 million) investment by Qantas into its global lounge network. The spruced-up Hong Kong site has new furniture, fresh colors, and there are local dishes on the menu.

Flights in and out of Hong Kong slowed to a trickle under the financial hub’s Covid-19 restrictions and the world’s airlines largely abandoned the city. Qantas has seen strong demand for flights to Hong Kong since they resumed in January, Chief Customer Officer Markus Svensson said Wednesday, however capacity for the market is only at 30 percent compared to pre-pandemic levels.

As with all airlines, Qantas is facing challenges in hiring crew and logistics but training centres are running 24/7 to address the shortage, Svensson said. Domestically, Qantas is back to 100 percent capacity and at 70 percent internationally, but hopes to reach 80 percent later in the year, he added.

The Australian carrier currently operates daily return flights between Sydney and Hong Kong. The Melbourne-Hong Kong route will be reinstated from June, starting from three days a week, before increasing to four weekly services from mid-July.
Svensson also described Qantas’s new CEO Vanessa Hudson as “fantastic”

Qantas on Tuesday picked Hudson as its first female chief executive officer. She will replace Alan Joyce, who has led the airline for 15 years, from November.

“I’ve known her for 12 years, she’s fantastic. It’s really exciting to have our first female CEO, very exciting for the business,” Svensson said.

Also at the event was Australian consul general to Hong Kong, Elizabeth Ward.

She said the reopening of the lounge and Qantas resuming flights to Hong Kong had been surprisingly emotional for her, considering Qantas’s strong association to home for Australians and the Australian diaspora abroad.

“Coming here to experience Australian hospitality before finally reaching home is a great thing,” Ward said.
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