Having faced some turbulent times of late, with nosediving profitability, large staff layoffs, a big information security breach and other problems (not to mention the ongoing tensions between its home base Hong Kong and Mainland China), a three-year restructure program at Cathay Pacific has seen a return to profitability and operating optimism. Aggressive moves to further strengthen its position continue: the takeover of budget airline Hong Kong Express has been recently successful; an attempted codeshare arrangement with Qantas not.
One thing Cathay has always done fabulously, through good times and bad, is lounges and the reopening of its Shanghai Pudong Cathay Pacific Lounge, shaped in the airline's award-winning design prototype by London's Studioisle, reflects the importance of the market next door to the carrier.
When Cathay Pacific marked 60 years of flying in 2006, there were around 160 million seats sold to mainland Chinese annually across domestic and international airlines. This year, that figure is on track to reach 600 million. By 2022, it is estimated Mainland China will be the biggest in the world, surpassing the US.
The newly fitted-out and expanded lounge near Departure Gate D69 in Pudong Airport's Terminal 2 building, covers 970 square metres and can seat 305 passengers.
"Serenity" and "the comforts of a modern apartment" are the design aims, with the spaces featuring natural materials such as cherrywood, limestone and leather.
Following the strong trend in lounge design to incorporate greenery and fresh air where possible, the lounge features The Terrace, an L-shaped, open-ceiling verandah affording a food hall arrangement, home to Cathay's famously great lounge catering.
A much-loved part of that catering is the signature Noodle Bar, which makes its debut in Mainland China.
The Shanghai Pudong Cathay Pacific Lounge is open to first class and business class passengers, Marco Polo Club silver members and above, oneworld emerald and sapphire members, and members of all tiers holding a valid lounge pass.