Virgin Australia’s Melbourne Airport domestic terminal is set to get a sizeable overhaul that will add dedicated channels for premium travellers as well as automated options to the check-in and bag-drop processes.
Set to open in mid-2019, the redesigned terminal will feature a Premium Entry facility (pictured above) for travellers flying in business class along with Platinum and Gold Velocity Frequent Flyer members, which will offer dedicated areas for check-in, bag drop and security screening ahead of the lounge, which can be accessed directly from the facility.
According to the airline, security screening for non-premium passengers (pictured above) also will be repositioned in an effort to reduce congestion and speed up the overall process. Automated bag-drop facilities and self-service kiosks, which will stand alongside traditional check-in service desks and “service pods” where crew can assist travellers with check-in, will also be available for non-premium travellers. There will also be a new ramp between Terminals 3 and 4 that will give better access to Terminal 4’s retail without needing to exit the building.
“Virgin Australia runs a major operation at Melbourne Airport, operating up to 100 return flights each day,” said Rob Sharp, Virgin Australia’s group executive. “We were the first airline in Australia to introduce the kerbside Premium Entry product at Sydney Airport and we are thrilled to be able to offer this to our customers travelling through Melbourne.”
The carrier is not the only airline in Australia offering these sorts of premium entry ports, however. Earlier this year, rival Australian carrier Qantas unveiled its new Premium Lounge Entry facility at Brisbane Domestic Airport, and last month it began revamping its Melbourne Domestic Business Lounge. Next year, Qantas also plans to open a new international wing at Perth Airport.
The development of these facilities in Melbourne also comes as Virgin Australia has been expanding its route network out of the Victorian capital, with a new service to Hong Kong and the resumption of its non-stop Melbourne-Los Angeles route both launched earlier this year.
While most travellers transiting through Melbourne will likely check through to their final destination at their point of departure, the facility does provide enhanced options for travellers stopping in Melbourne for a short duration before travelling onward to other domestic locations in the airline’s network.
The addition of two extra luggage carousels is also expected to help speed up the arrival process in Melbourne.
Speaking about the new terminal, Melbourne Airport chief executive, Lyell Strambi, said: “We are very focussed on enhancing the traveller experience and the concept designs released today provide a glimpse of what that could look like for Virgin Australia passengers travelling through Melbourne.”