Adelaide Airport gets new Virgin Australia lounge, expanded terminal

Adelaide Airport gets new Virgin Australia lounge, expanded terminal

Virgin Australia will open a brand new domestic lounge in Adelaide by 2021 as part of broader terminal expansion works at Adelaide Airport, which will also pave the way for a new multi-airline lounge in the international precinct and upgrades to other facilities for passengers jetting abroad.

Also on the agenda are more retail and dining options in both the domestic and international sections of Adelaide Airport, with the entire terminal itself getting a facelift.

That begins with a new dedicated taxi drop-off road with an undercover walkway to the airport building…

… and a new look and feel to the airside zone:

The current retail and dining areas will be expanded in size by over 80%, with a new food and beverage precinct…

… and nearby, a new fashion precinct too:

The location, size and facilities of Virgin Australia’s new domestic lounge are currently under wraps, with Virgin Australia Group Executive Rob Sharp saying only that “the relocation of the Virgin Australia Lounge presents an exciting opportunity and we look forward to sharing more detail on our plans in due course.”

Still, it’s welcome news for Adelaide locals and regular visitors alike, as Virgin Australia’s current Adelaide lounge is far from the largest in its network, and can get very busy very quickly, despite a small extension to the current space back in 2016 which lifted capacity from 140 to 180 seats.

For passengers heading overseas from Adelaide (with any airline), there’ll also be an expanded international security screening area and passport control zone, doing away with the current bottlenecks in these spaces during peak times.

That’s followed by a new duty-free zone…

… and, in a first for Adelaide, a dedicated international departure gate, with better access to food and beverage and improved boarding facilities:

Adelaide Airport will retain its flexible ‘swing gate’ arrangements as well, allowing nearby gates to host both domestic and international flights as needed.

Another boost for international travellers will be a “common user” airport lounge located beyond passport control, that airlines may choose to use for their overseas passengers, and which may (or may not) welcome cardholders from independent lounge access schemes like Priority Pass.

Currently, Singapore Airlines runs the only ‘international’ lounge in Adelaide, with passengers travelling on other airlines directed to the Qantas and Virgin Australia domestic lounges in the same terminal, to relax before going through international security and passport control.

Passengers returning to Adelaide from their overseas trip will also find a bigger baggage hall with a second, longer baggage reclaim belt to cater for more flights and luggage:

“Since we opened the existing terminal in 2005, our overall passenger numbers have increased by close to 50 per cent. Our international passenger numbers alone have almost tripled over the same period,” said Adelaide Airport Managing Director Mark Young.

“This extraordinary growth means we need to keep growing our existing facilities. While we still have sufficient gate capacity to meet future forecast growth in the number of flights, we’re reaching capacity within the terminal,” he explains.

Work on the $165 million project begins this month and is expected to be completed by 2021.

Last month, travellers saw the first signs of improvement with the installation of a priority security screening line at the main domestic checkpoint, and an Express Path channel at the separate international security checkpoint for eligible frequent flyers and passengers in business class and first class.

Also read:

Chris Chamberlin
Chris Chamberlin is a senior journalist with Australian Business Traveller and lives by the motto that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, a great latte, a theatre ticket and a glass of wine!


  • Jake Williams


    14 Jun, 2018 01:02 pm

    Looks great, a massive improvement. Still surprised Qantas aren't gearing up for a new lounge at the same time, the Qantas Club is pretty tired and small with awful views and no business lounge.
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  • Alex


    14 Jun, 2018 01:39 pm

    I'd actually argue, that for its age, the ADL Qantas Club is actually very nice.
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  • reeves35


    14 Jun, 2018 01:54 pm

    Both QF and VA lounges in ADL have very little in the way of views as the terminal layout means they are oriented towards landside rather than airside views. QF Club does have a limited view of the regional ramp. Having said that, ADL is hardly a buzzing airside viewing opportunity unless you are very keen on 737s.

    It's good to see VA getting a new Lounge; their current facility is often ridiculously crowded and has not been updated to the airline's latest lounge style as seen in BNE, MEL, SYD and PER.
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  • David Ling


    14 Jun, 2018 02:01 pm

    I love the ADL lounge. One of the better ones in the network!
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  • GoldCanyon340


    14 Jun, 2018 02:02 pm

    I don't agree with that. The ADL Qantas Club is a large, open space with lots of windows and natural light. Qantas doesn't operate any international flights from ADL so there would be little return on investment from building an international lounge. However, I would like to see a Business/Platinum lounge opened.
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  • AJW


    14 Jun, 2018 03:37 pm

    They probably are. But presumably the Virgin lounge will be in the extension which is why it gets a mention.
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  • Tancho


    14 Jun, 2018 01:25 pm

    Definitely a major improvement. I always questioned the logic behind putting in only one conveyor belt in international arrivals when it was originally built. I've been there when 2 flights were coming in at the same time because one flight was delayed, and it was chaos.
    Fingers crossed for an Qantas International lounge.
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  • mviy


    14 Jun, 2018 02:31 pm

    I noticed the priority security screening lane when I was last in ADL and used it. Now that you mention it I do recall they didn't use to have this. It is a nice improvement.

    The QF ADL lounge is one of the better QANTAS Club lounges as it caters for Business class passengers rather than having a separate lounge for them. While I have Platinum status I'm sure I'd like a separate Business lounge, but once I drop down I'd be thankful for it being one combined lounge.

    I reckon the QF lounge in ADL is a lot better than the new QF lounge in MEL. It's far less crowded.
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  • airADL


    14 Jun, 2018 03:21 pm

    I am hoping better drop off pick up
    Its a nightmare normally
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  • camtraveller


    14 Jun, 2018 08:48 pm

    Agree its a nightmare currently. The plan is to give taxi's a dedicated drop-off behind the new hotel (not sure if this includes rideshare). This will free up the current drop-off area for private cars.
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  • Colin Steven


    14 Jun, 2018 09:46 pm

    ADL now has better views that MEL QF club following the MEL upgrade :-)
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  • Nobleoz


    15 Jun, 2018 03:47 am

    Now how about a tram into the city?
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  • Ian Whillas


    15 Jun, 2018 10:58 am

    There will never be a tram from the airport to the city. They run a metro bus at the moment. A cab from the airport to the city is the significantly cheaper than Bris/Syd/Mlb or Perth.
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  • Anthony Staltari


    15 Jun, 2018 03:14 pm

    Fingers crossed QANTAS will start to run a ADL>SIN flight soon. Makes sense that QANTAS gateway from ADL to Asia and Europe. Currently dominated by SQ. Opportunity gone begging I think.
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  • AJW


    15 Jun, 2018 04:13 pm

    Singapore is obviously a hub post for Singapore airlines. Passengers on those SQ flights can connect to about 70 SQ destinations, 50 Silk Air destinations (some are duplicated with SQ), plus a number of other Star Alliance airlines.

    Qantas can connect with one flight to London plus a handful of OneWorld partners and Jetstar Asia. Hardly in the same league, which is why we see at all Australian ports airlines who are flying to hub destinations have more flights per day than Qantas on similar routes.

    Adelaide is just a bit too far for a 738 (and people would whinge if one used anyway) and the market for Qantas too small for even an A322.

    Maybe if Qantas gets A321LR's and offers an international product on them, there might be a market to be had from places like Adelaide.
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  • Graham HUNTER


    15 Jun, 2018 06:07 pm

    Looks great and a tremendous boost for Adelaide, but would be so much better if the runway was extended so A380s could land in Adelaide (currently, only in emergencies), and so spare South Australians the real drag (and extra expense) of having to fly to the eastern States to pick up an A380 flight.
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  • Ho Really

    Ho Really

    15 Jun, 2018 10:23 pm

    Surely if an Airbus A380 can land in an emergency, whether it's because of mechanical issues, a medical related matter or because of fog in Melbourne etc., the runway is long enough. The only issue at ADL are the aerobridges. There's no gate specifically for an A380 at present. Besides no airline has any real need to fly an A380 to ADL.
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  • Chris Chamberlin


    15 Jun, 2018 10:44 pm

    There are different standards for airports hosting diversion flights versus regularly scheduled flights beyond simply being able to take-off and land a plane, and this also includes differing firefighting requirements that need to be met in order to host scheduled Airbus A380 passenger flights.

    Adelaide currently has 'Category 9' firefighting capabilities, but would need to upgrade this to 'Category 10' standards to host regular A380 flights, as Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth have done. As for A380s flying into Adelaide, it's on Emirates' roadmap, at the appropriate time.
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  • Ho Really

    Ho Really

    16 Jun, 2018 11:44 am

    Thanks for pointing this out Chris. I only commented on the physical aspects of runway and hardware. Logistics are very important too. We know about Emirates, thanks to your reporting and other media. Whether Emirates can make this economically viable is another matter. Hopefully if they do it will make some happy. Cheers
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  • Graham HUNTER


    16 Jun, 2018 11:58 am

    Thanks 'Ho Really' and ChrisC for the clarification on A380s logistical needs at Adelaide Airport. Clearly, without those infrastructure upgrades (not part of this multi-million dollar refurb) no A380s will fly into Adelaide. From a purely selfish point of view, I'd much rather spend my ff points on any A380 bus. class than a 777 bus. class or, even worse, Air New Zealand's horrible Dreamliner. 4-1/2 hours across the Ditch in those "coffin" pods was bad enough - I can't imagine being interred all the way to the UK or the US!
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  • Ho Really

    Ho Really

    16 Jun, 2018 04:57 pm

    Hirizer, the expanded terminal can only help your cause. Keep your fingers crossed. Cheers
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16 Aug, 2018 02:49 am


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