On October 12, 2023, Star Alliance inaugurated its new international lounge at Paris-Charles de Gaulle airport.
The alliance has invested around €10 million in this new facility, which is located at the airport’s Terminal 1 and has a capacity for around 300 passengers. The older Star Alliance lounge will not close but will instead be allocated to Schengen traffic.
Theo Panagiotoulias, who was appointed CEO of Star Alliance in June 2023, was present at the lounge’s opening and sat down with the media in attendance for a Q&A session in which he shared some insights about the alliance and its current and future projects.
He highlighted his vision that the role of Star Alliance is to add value to its members by taking on projects that would be impossible for any of the individual members to manage on their own. He pointed to the Paris Charles de Gaulle lounge as an example of one such project.
Even if Paris is not a hub airport for Star, it is an important destination for its airline partners, with 20 member carriers flying into the city from 22 countries and a total of 464 weekly frequencies at present.
Panagiotoulias hinted that many similar projects may be in the pipeline.
Within the framework of the alliance, another area that he mentioned as being ripe for more of these value-adding joint projects is technology and digitalization, which he referred to as being very fragmented.
Questioned about the recent launch of a Star Alliance branded credit card in Australia, Panagiotoulias expressed satisfaction with the results so far, but declined to confirm whether there will be similar launches in other countries in the near future. He insisted that the specifics of each individual market are the key determining factor for such decisions.
As per the newly inaugurated lounge, it is in line with Star Alliance’s policy to customize the design of its lounges worldwide by adding elements of local identity to the decor and themes of the facility.
This was evident at the Charles de Gaulle lounge, which features multiple elements and pieces of decor that are evocative of Parisian and French culture, plus some works by French sculptor Gabriel Sobin.
The lounge has been designed by architecture studio Gensler, an active player in the airport scene globally.
It combines open, convivial areas with others that provide a more private experience. Whichever section the visitor finds themself in, though, a common feature is the large number of sockets for the recharging of personal devices.
“We made sure there is one socket for each sitting spot,” explained Adrian Wiseman, co-founder at Amae Lounge, a design consultancy firm that has participated in the Charles de Gaulle Star Alliance lounge project.
The lounge designer explained that they opted for a general layout and palette of colors that could accommodate the large cultural diversity among Star Alliance’s customers, while not aligning too overtly with any of the specific carriers that make up the alliance.
Another signature feature of the lounge is its openness. This comes not only from the huge glass panels providing unimpeded views of the airport’s tarmac, but also from a proper open-air garden terrace and the overall spaciousness, not least of the toilets and shower areas.
Business travelers can also use a number of small office rooms decorated – bien sûr! – with Parisian motifs.