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Travelers to get lounge upgrade at Pudong airport

Date: 2012-11-16

MANY international travelers will have access to better lounges at the Pudong International Airport as the Skyteam Airline Alliance will ask its member carriers to share lounges with other alliance passengers at the airport.

The alliance plans to have its members, now scattered at the airport, located in Terminal 1, which will make it easier for passengers to access lounges, Chen Yiyan, director of Airport Service-China for Skyteam, said yesterday.

Skyteam is the world's second-largest airlines coalition after Star Alliance and has 19 members.

"China Eastern Airlines, for instance, will build a flagship lounge at the terminal building that will be open to passengers of other Skyteam members like China Southern, Korean Air and Air France-KLM," Chen said.

Meanwhile, passengers of China Eastern and China Southern will also be able to use lounges abroad built by foreign airlines belonging to the alliance.

Currently, most foreign airlines' passengers at the Pudong airport use a common lounge built by the airport in Terminal 1. Other lounges with better facilities built by airlines are scattering in different places or terminal buildings.

The Shanghai Airport Authority will invest 1.2 billion yuan (US$195 million) to renovate Terminal 1 of the Pudong airport to expand its capacity to 37 million passengers a year. Construction is due to begin by the end of the year, when China Eastern will build its new lounge.

Lounge sharing has been tried at London's Heathrow International Airport, where KLM airlines built a lounge, allowing passengers of its partners to use it, Chen said.

"The method helps KLM to amortize the cost of the lounge faster," Chen added. Other airlines pay to let their passengers to use the lounge.

Shanghai-based China Eastern and its subsidiary Shanghai Airlines joined SkyTeam in June to gain access to the alliance's network. Shanghai Airlines left Star Alliance in 2010 after it was acquired by China Eastern.

(Source: Shanghai Daily)