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Air New Zealand Opens Kiwi Bach in Australia

Media Release
28 March 2006

Air New Zealand Opens Kiwi Bach in Australia

Air New Zealand officially opened its first New Zealand ‘bach’ in Melbourne today marking a revolutionary new take on the traditional airline lounge.

More than 300 athletes and officials from the New Zealand Commonwealth Games team helped the airline celebrate the opening before departing for home on a dedicated Air New Zealand flight to Auckland.

Less a ‘lounge’ and more a ‘bach’, the international lounge comes complete with a mock verandah lined with rattan chairs, weatherboard walls and a welcoming staff member upon entrance.

Air New Zealand Chief Executive Officer Rob Fyfe said the new Air New Zealand International Lounge in Melbourne was the first in a totally new direction for the airline away from the stuffy, executive club sitting rooms typified by most airline lounges.

“From the moment travellers step inside, they’ll feel like they’ve entered a family friend’s bach,” Mr Fyfe said.

“For a start rather than stepping up to an overbearing desk to ask permission to enter, they’ll step onto our front deck to be greeted by our warm welcoming staff, like a true Kiwi would into their own home.

“Inside, they’ll be overwhelmed not by a square room full of monotonous armchairs but with a circular designer space offering a choice of different zones to relax in.

“They can choose to sit in the sports area to watch the rugby with a glass of Speights tap beer, take a seat at our long kitchen table and enjoy a snack, glass of wine and chat with friends, lie down on our plush couch with their favorite magazine or just grab a rattan chair on the verandah and watch the world go by.”

“It will be an archetypical Kiwi experience that will appeal to New Zealand travellers craving for home and introduce Australian and international travellers to a little piece of our homeland outside of New Zealand,” he said.

“It was also about listening to what’s important to our customers and investing in what they value such as comfort and refreshments.”

The new lounge was the brainchild of New Zealand designer and respected trend forecaster, David Scott.

“While this is one of the more elaborate lounges we’ve ever designed it was actually the most cost effective to build due to partnerships we established with a range of New Zealand suppliers to provide fittings free or at discounted prices in return for the opportunity to showcase their product to a premium market,” Mr Fyfe said.

NZ suppliers involved in the lounge include AJ Bates, Caroma, ECC, Juralco, New Zealand Window Shades, Textilia and Tile Warehouse.

The lounge also offers New Zealand brands such as 42 Below Vodka and South Gin, Chai Teas, Living Nature skincare, New Zealand wines and cheeses and other foodstuffs, plus New Zealand newspapers and magazines.

The direction set in the Melbourne lounge will be progressively rolled-out to other Air New Zealand international and domestic lounges across the airline’s network with Christchurch and Palmerston North flagged as the next two locations to be upgraded.

However, from yesterday the majority of Air New Zealand lounges were enjoying a taste of the new lounge philosophy with the mass removal of the ominous front desks and the introduction of a welcoming staff member. A stylish new pod, made of rustic-inspired NZ materials will provide function for reception duties.

The Melbourne International Lounge opening also follows yesterday’s reveal of a refreshed brand identity for Air New Zealand and the synchronized changeover for more than 5,000 staff in 49 airports and offices around the world into the new Air New Zealand Zambesi-designed uniform.


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