- Construction is underway for the alliance’s first lounge in Seoul, South Korea, indicating a potential shift in the alliance’s previously paused plans.
- The original plan for the first oneworld lounge was Moscow’s Domodedovo Airport, but due to the pandemic and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the plans fell apart.
- With many oneworld member airlines operating from Terminal 1, the lounge will be welcomed by passengers.
Compared to the Star Alliance of SkyTeam alliance, the oneworld alliance still lags in having its own branded airport lounges worldwide – although this could change as the airline alliance has finally crossed the Rubicon. Construction is currently underway on the alliance’s first lounge in Seoul, South Korea, with a rumored opening in January next year.
Initially planned for Moscow
Albeit this is undoubtedly exciting news for the alliance airline members and passengers, it’s worth noting that in December 2019, the original plan for the first alliance-wide lounge was announced to be opening at Moscow’s Domodedovo Airport. At the time, oneworld Chief Executive Officer Rob Gurney highlighted:
“We are excited to launch the first oneworld branded lounge at Moscow Domodedovo in this momentous year as we celebrate the alliance’s 20th anniversary with an invigorated mission to deliver our customers the highest levels of service and the most seamless travel experience. Moscow Domodedovo is the home of our member S7 Airlines, and we are thrilled that the first oneworld branded lounge will be located at its hub.”
Domodedovo Airport made sense for the oneworld alliance since S7 operated more than 140 daily flights from the airport, and primarily because the significant hub itself handled over 150 daily flights by airline members such as British Airways, Iberia, Qatar Airways, Japan Airways, and Royal Jordanian. In the first 11 months of 2019, the airport and oneworld airlines served over 12.6 million passengers, a 5% increase over the same period the year before.
Photo: Media_works | Shutterstock
Given the demand, the design for this anticipated new and supposed big lounge was already in place, with the estimated opening date and additional details expected to be revealed in 2020. However, these plans drastically and rather quickly, fell apart. Not only did the pandemic cause a pause, but Russia’s invasion of Ukraine permanently struck out these plans – especially since Russian carrier S7 was subsequently suspended from the oneworld alliance.
Rerouting plans to Seoul
With geopolitical shifts and as the global aviation industry took time to recover from the effects of the pandemic, the oneworld alliance was back on the hunt for a new location. Going through its previous shortlist for airports from 2019, the airline alliance settled on Seoul’s Incheon International Airport, in Terminal 1. This new lounge will take over the space where the former Jeju Air lounge was.
Located on the fourth floor of Terminal 1 near Gate 28, the former lounge opened in early 2019 with a unique home concept as the design encapsulated elements of a cozy home with the living room, dining room, kitchen, and even a playroom for kids. But once the pandemic struck, it suffered a permanent and swift closing in 2020. Since then, the vast 550-meter-squared space has been left untouched.
Until now, because in a post shared on X – formerly known as Twitter, a user showed a construction sign and provided a translation from Korean suggesting the oneworld lounge was already under construction. To further add to the suspense, a spokesperson for oneworld alliance highlighted the following when asked for a comment:
“The development of oneworld branded lounges is actively progressing, and we look forward to sharing more details, including its locations, in the coming months.”
Although the statement is quite a tease, the fact that construction is already underway could suggest that the oneworld lounge might open before the end of this year. If the alliance keeps to its previous commitment of ensuring the lounge provides world-class service, the new project in Incheon Airport is expected to match the offerings provided by both the SkyTeam and Star Alliance.
A oneworld-branded lounge in Incheon Airport would be very much unlike the Domodovo Airport project, as no alliance carrier has a more dominant presence. But with so many oneworld member airlines operating from Terminal 1, including but not limited to American Airlines, Qatar Airways, Malaysia Airlines, and Cathay Pacific, a lounge will certainly be welcomed by passengers traveling via these carriers.
With this addition underway and likely to be opened before the end of this year, perhaps the oneworld alliance could refocus on its prior consideration of wanting to open as many as 10 alliance-wide lounges worldwide. But as to why these future locations would be, it’s all up to speculation and time to tell.
What do you think about the first oneworld-branded lounge’s location? Let us know in the comments below.
Source: Executive Traveller
- Business Type:
- Airline Alliance
- Date Founded:
- Rob Gurney
- Headquarters Location:
- New York, USA
- Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Finnair, Iberia, Japan Airlines, Malaysia Airlines, Qantas, Qatar Airways, Royal Air Maroc, Royal Jordanian, SriLankan Airlines
- IATA/ICAO Code:
- South Korea
- Kim Kyung-wook
- Passenger Count :
- 71,169,516 (2019)
- Runways :
- 15R/33L – 3,750m (12,303ft) |15L/33R – 3,750m (12,303ft) |16L/34R – 4,000m (13,123ft) |16R/34L – 3,750m (12,303ft)
- Terminal 1 |Terminal 2