Cathay Pacific will shutter its Shanghai Pudong airport lounge on October 29 2018 and begin the year-long process of transforming it into one of the airline's new-look lounges.
A spokesman for Cathay Pacific told Australian Business Traveller "we are targeting the third quarter of 2019" for the re-opening.
Travellers can look forward to Cathay Pacific's new Shanghai lounge taking its cues from the same Ilse Crawford design template as the airline's flagship The Pier lounges at Hong Kong, along with London, Tokyo/Haneda, Taipei, Bangkok and Singapore.
This will translate to a Noodle Bar and dedicated dining room...
... and potentially a tended bar, should space allow.
Cathay Pacific is also expected to reconfigure the current lounges' floorplan for an increase in seating.
The Shanghai - Hong Kong corridor is among the airline's most popular routes, with up to 16 Cathay Pacific and Cathay Dragon flights per day making the 2h30m dash between the two commercial hubs.
Until Cathay cuts the ribbon on its new Shanghai lounge, eligible passengers – including business class travellers and Oneworld Emerald card-holders – will have access to the No. 77 China Eastern Plaza Premium Lounge, found only a few minutes' stroll from the Cathay Pacific lounge near Gate 77.
With 180 degree views across the airport runway, the lounge features a Chinese and Western buffet alongside freshly prepared Shanghai- and Hong Kong-style noodles at a live cooking station.
Cathay's all-new Shanghai lounge will likely arrive around the same time as the debut of a new regional business class seat on the factory-fresh Airbus A321neo jets of Cathay Dragon.
But whatever improvements it brings over today's regional business class seat (shown below), converting into a fully lie-flat bed won't be among them.
“I think it will be most likely reclinable because it is a narrow-body aircraft,” Vivian Lo, Cathay Pacific’s Head of Customer Experience & Design, told Australian Business Traveller earlier this year.
Instead, look for changes central to the passenger experience in technology and convenience, and evolution rather than revolution in design.
“Our average regional sector length for Cathay Dragon is two hours, for Cathay Pacific it’s three hours, so at the moment we think we’ve got a very comfortable product for that service," Cathay Pacific CEO Rupert Hogg told Australian Business Traveller in June 2018.
"We are in the early stage of design of the product for the A321neo but we're very excited about that. It will be a next-generational product for Cathay Dragon."