Category Archives: Swiss International Air Lines

Swiss reports first-half operating loss

Swiss International Air Lines issued this statement:

The consequences of the coronavirus pandemic impacted severely on SWISS’s business results for the first six months of 2020. The Airline of Switzerland reported an operating loss of CHF 266.4 million for the period, which compares to an operating profit of CHF 245.3 million for the first half of 2019. Total 2020 first-half revenues amounted to CHF 1.17 billion, a 55-per-cent decline from the CHF 2.57 billion1 of the prior-year period. SWISS2 transported 64.0 per cent fewer passengers in the first half of 2020 than it had in the same period last year. First-half systemwide seat load factor amounted to 71.2 per cent, 10.8 percentage points down from its prior-year level. SWISS’s European services are seeing some revival in demand. But the corresponding trends on the intercontinental network, which is key to any substantial business recovery, have been markedly more modest to date. In view of the still highly dynamic situation, no full-year earnings forecast for 2020 can currently be made.

The massive restrictions on global air travel that have been imposed in response to the coronavirus pandemic have hit Swiss International Air Lines (SWISS) severely, too. For several weeks in spring only a minimal timetable of SWISS services could be offered, substantially reducing income levels. Total first-half revenues amounted to CHF 1.17 billion, 55 per cent down on the CHF 2.57 billion1 of the same period last year. The operating result (or Adjusted EBIT) for the period declined accordingly: SWISS reported a first-half operating loss of CHF 266.4 million (which compares to an operating profit of CHF 245.3 million for the first half of 2019). In view of the still highly dynamic overall situation and the unpredictability of further developments, no forecast can yet be made for the 2020 full-year Adjusted EBIT result.

“Thanks to the prompt actions we took to safeguard our liquidity, our fixed costs have been substantially reduced,” says Chief Financial Officer Markus Binkert. “With the loans from the Lufthansa Group and the prospective bank credit facilities backed by the Swiss Confederation, our liquidity is secure. But we still need to further reduce our structural costs, to ensure that we can repay our loans as swiftly as possible.”

SWISS will make further comprehensive economies to enhance its cost structure over the next few months. These will include a thorough analysis of the deployment of its present aircraft fleet, and the cessation companywide of all investments which are not essential to flight and business operations.

Second quarter hit particularly hard by the coronavirus pandemic

While its effects were already felt in the first-quarter period, it was in the second quarter of 2020 that the coronavirus pandemic impacted particularly hard on SWISS’s business activities. With travel restrictions of growing severity increasingly imposed all over the world, the company was compelled to reduce its flight schedules to a minimum and park a large part of its aircraft fleet for several weeks. Revenues declined accordingly: the CHF 243.7 million generated for the second quarter of 2020 was 82.8 per cent down on the CHF 1.41 billion1of the prior-year period. The period also produced an operating loss of CHF 182.3 million, which compares to an operating profit of CHF 196.9 million for the same period last year.

Massive declines in passenger numbers

SWISS2 transported a total of 3,167,624 passengers in the first half of this year – 64.0 per cent fewer than it had in the prior-year period. A total of 29,667 flights were operated, 59.5 per cent fewer than in the first half of 2019. Some 57.1 per cent less capacity was offered systemwide in available seat-kilometre (ASK) terms, while first-half total traffic volume, measured in revenue passenger-kilometres (RPK), declined by 62.7 per cent. Systemwide seat load factor for the period amounted to 71.2 per cent, a decline from the prior-year period of 10.8 percentage points.

The steepest monthly year-on-year decline in passenger volumes was April’s 99.2 per cent. Passenger numbers for June were still 92.2 per cent down on 2019. June 2020 seat load factor amounted to 41.6 per cent, 45.5 percentage points below its prior-year level.

A focus on repatriation and cargo flights

In addition to maintaining a minimal network of air connections between Switzerland and the world, SWISS and its sister airline Edelweiss operated 35 repatriation flights until beginning of July 2020 flying some 7,400 travellers – mostly Swiss nationals – to Switzerland from all over the world as part of the largest repatriation programme ever conducted by the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs. The company’s Swiss WorldCargo division has also performed just under 600 dedicated cargo flights until the end of June, transporting over 15,000 tonnes of goods (primarily medicines and further medical items) to supply the Swiss people and support the Swiss economy.

Further service resumptions planned

SWISS’s minimal flight operations were steadily ramped up in June to 15 to 20 per cent of originally-planned capacity. By this autumn, around one-third of the company’s capacities should be on offer again to some 85 per cent of the destinations which enjoyed SWISS service before the crisis began. Two-thirds of the 91-aircraft SWISS fleet have been back in operation since July – 41 short-haul and 17 long-haul aircraft, the latter including three Boeing 777s that have been temporarily converted to carry cargo on their main deck, too.

SWISS has also developed a comprehensive protection concept to keep its customers’ air travel as safe as possible. The provisions here include the compulsory wearing of face masks on board, intensified aircraft cleaning and modified inflight service. And in addition to its flexible rebooking options, the company has also introduced a guaranteed return flight provision for all its European routes.

The present summer holiday season has brought strong demand – especially for European flights – and high seat load factors that are almost at their prior-year levels, albeit with substantially lower capacities. The increases in passenger numbers are mainly being seen in the tourist travel and the visiting-friends-and-relatives segments: demand remains extremely weak on the business travel front. Intercontinental traffic volumes are also recovering only very slowly, in view of the many immigration restrictions which are still in place here.

“These positive trends in the demand for air travel in Europe make us cautiously optimistic,” says SWISS CEO Thomas Klühr. “We are well aware, though, that we still have a long way to go before this crisis is overcome. And one crucial factor for our substantial and sustainable recovery will be the further developments in our intercontinental business, particularly to and from the key North America region.”

1 SWISS adopted new accounting principles at the end of 2019 in compliance with those of the Lufthansa Group. Total revenues of CHF 1.42 billion for the second quarter and of CHF 2.58 billion for the first half of 2019 were previously reported in July 2019.

2 excluding Edelweiss Air

Swiss International aircraft photo gallery:

Swiss International aircraft slide show:

Swiss to increase its capacity in June

Swiss International Air Lines Boeing 777-300 ER HB-JNG (msn 62752) ZRH (Ton Jochems). Image: 949940.

Swiss International Air Lines has made this announcement:

In the coming days and weeks, entry requirements of various European countries will be gradually open. This leads to an increased demand for air travel. Swiss therefore plans to substantially expand its services with the June timetable, in line with the respective entry requirements. “We plan to resume around 15-20% of our original services in June, and are very pleased to be able to offer Switzerland greater connections to the world,” says Swiss CEO Thomas Klühr.

Swiss plans to operate approximately 140 weekly flights from Zurich to 30 destinations in Europe, and approximately 40 weekly flights from Geneva to 14 destinations in Europe. The airline will still serve the three weekly long-haul flights to Newark in the USA, further intercontinental destinations will be added in June. In addition, Swiss and its Swiss WorldCargo division will continue to operate their cargo-only flights to various destinations globally.

The changes and additions to the June timetable will be published shortly in all the booking systems. The expansion of the flight schedules is taking place step by step, following the needs of the customers.

Swiss recommends wearing a mouth-nose face covering on board for protection against SARS CoV2 transmission.

With effect from Monday, May 4, 2020, all Swiss passengers will be asked to bring their own mouth-nose face covering to wear on board all flights. The airline also advises use of a face covering at the airport before or after flights, whenever sufficient social distancing cannot be adequately observed. Despite adjustments to procedures, social distancing is not always possible, and this measure provides an additional layer of protection against SARS CoV2 transmission for everyone.

The recommendation will initially apply until August 31, 2020.

The current rule whereby every second seat in Economy Class is kept vacant will no longer apply as sufficient protection is afforded by mouth-nose face coverings. The likelihood of infection by the coronavirus while traveling by air remains low: there are no known cases of infection on board Swiss flights since the outbreak of the pandemic. All Swiss aircraft are equipped with high-performance air filters to guarantee air quality of the same standard as in an operating theatre and ensure vertical air circulation instead diffusion in the cabin.

Top Copyright Photo: Swiss International Air Lines Boeing 777-300 ER HB-JNG (msn 62752) ZRH (Ton Jochems). Image: 949940.

Swiss aircraft slide show:

Lufthansa Group to put 80 aircraft back in the air starting on June 1

Starting in June, Lufthansa, Eurowings and Swiss will be offering monthly restart schedules to significantly more destinations in Germany and Europe than in the past few weeks. The repatriation schedules will thus end on May 31, 2020.

A total of 80 aircraft will be reactivated with the June timetable. This means that a total of 106 destinations can be served in the coming month. From June 1, 2020, 160 aircraft will be in service with the Group’s passenger airlines. The previously valid repatriation flight schedule was calculated to be flown with only 80 aircraft.

The Lufthansa Group’s airlines are thus responding to the growing interest of customers in air travel, following the gradual easing of restrictions and limitations in the German federal states and entry regulations of other countries in Europe.

Starting in June, numerous sunny destinations such as Mallorca, Sylt, Rostock and Crete will once again be accessible with the airlines of the Lufthansa Group. Further details of the June flight schedule will be published in the course of the coming week.

Customers are asked to take the current entry and quarantine regulations of the respective destinations into account when planning their trip. Throughout the entire trip, restrictions may be imposed due to stricter hygiene and security regulations, for example due to longer waiting times at airport security checkpoints. The catering services on board will also remain restricted until further notice.

The obligation to wear a mouth-nose cover on board introduced by the airlines of the Lufthansa Group on May 4, 2020 has been very positively received and accepted by guests. Customers will continue to be asked to wear a mask during the entire journey.

In other news, Deutsche Lufthansa is negotiating a stabilization package for 9 billion euros with the Federal Economic Stabilization Fund (Wirtschaftsstabilisierungsfonds – WSF) to finance the Lufthansa Group. The negotiations and the process of political decision-making are still ongoing.

The negotiations on financing measures include a silent participation and a secured loan. The conditions are currently being discussed. A stake by the German government in the company’s share capital is also part of the negotiations. In this context, various alternatives of a capital increase are being discussed, including an increase at the nominal value of the share, if necessary after a capital cut, to create a shareholding of up to 25% plus one share. In addition, conditions in accordance with the EU Temporary Framework and WSF Act are provided, including the waiver of future dividend payments. In addition, the WSF is seeking representation within the Supervisory Board.

The Executive Board of Deutsche Lufthansa AG is continuing negotiations with the aim of ensuring the future viability of the company for the benefit of its customers and employees.

Swiss reconfigures three Boeing 777-300s into cargo aircraft

Swiss International Air Lines has conducted a total of seven charter cargo flights from Shanghai (China) to Switzerland on behalf of the Swiss Red Cross. The flights, which brought medical equipment and testing materials to Switzerland, were performed with the close support of the company’s Swiss WorldCargo division.

In total, the flights brought in over 20 million protective facemasks and 300 000 protective overalls. The flights were performed with Airbus A340 and Boeing 777-300 aircraft. To make maximum use of the space available, the cargo was carried not only in the hold but also in the passenger cabin.

Above Photo: The first cargo-only flight landed in Geneva. On behalf of Geneva University Hospital and the Canton of Geneva, the Swiss Boeing 777-300 carried syringes and several million surgical masks from Shanghai to Switzerland.

Swiss and its Swiss World Cargo division have performed more than 80 cargo-only flights since the end of March, transporting over 1,300 tons of airfreight between Asia and Switzerland. The cargoes concerned have consisted mainly of medicines and medical supplies and equipment for the Swiss healthcare system.

Swiss plans to operate over 100 further cargo flights on behalf of various private and public entities between now and the end of May. The Airline of Switzerland will also introduce a new network of cargo-only services offering regular cargo flights between Zurich and Shanghai (up to three times daily), Beijing (up to twice daily), Chicago and Tokyo (twice weekly) as well as Bangkok and Singapore (weekly). Further destinations are expected to be added to the new network over the next few weeks.

In a further development, Swiss is considering to remove the Economy Class seating from three of its twelve Boeing 777-300ER aircraft to meet the growing demand for air cargo capacity. More than 800 seats would be deinstalled at Zurich airport for this purpose. The modifications would help ensure consistent and regular goods deliveries and thereby help keep Switzerland optimally connected with the world in the difficult present conditions – particularly for the provision of medical and humanitarian supplies to and from the country.

Above Photo: On April 22, two machines for the production of FFP2 protective masks arrived in Switzerland. We are proud that we were able to transport the machines from Shanghai to Zurich on behalf of the Federal Department of Defense, Civil Protection and Sport (DDPS) and the Health Department of the Canton of Zurich.

All above photos by Swiss.

Swiss aircraft photo gallery:

Swiss performs repatriation flights and cargo-only flights

Swiss International Air Lines made this announcement:

Swiss is to operate its first flight to Santiago (Chile), as part of Swiss and Edelweiss’s support of the unprecedented repatriation program that has been initiated by the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA).
The outbound Boeing 777 flight is expected to depart from Zurich on Friday 27 March. The return flight from Santiago will arrive on Sunday 29 March with up to 330 passengers on board. The aim of the flight is to bring Swiss travelers blocked abroad back to Switzerland. Further repatriation flights by Swiss and Edelweiss on the FDFA’s behalf are being planned, with a particular focus on destinations in Latin America, Asia, Oceania and Africa.
Any persons who are interested in taking such a repatriation flight because they have been unable, despite their best efforts, to arrange their own transport home should contact their local Swiss diplomatic representation. The FDFA also urges all Swiss nationals abroad seeking to return home to Switzerland to register their desired travel as soon as possible on the corresponding FDFA Travel Admin app.
With immediate effect, Swiss will also be using its passenger aircraft to perform pure cargo flights. Two aircraft will depart for Hong Kong this week transporting only freight, and further such flights are currently being planned.
With immediate effect, Swiss will also be using its passenger aircraft to perform pure cargo flights. Two aircraft will depart for Hong Kong this week transporting only freight, and further such flights are currently being planned.
Swiss aircraft photo gallery:

Swiss grounds half its fleet

Swiss International Air Lines has made this announcement:

Aviation is particularly hard hit by the impact of the corona crisis. To compensate for the sharp fall in demand and resultant lost revenue, SWISS has decided to take immediate further precautionary action to secure liquidity. SWISS will also apply for the introduction of short-time working hours for flying personnel, other areas on the ground are under consideration.
Swiss International Air Lines (SWISS) has had to make substantial reductions to its flight schedules due to the worldwide impact of the coronavirus crisis.
Around half of the aircraft making up the short-haul and long-haul fleets have been provisionally taken out of service.
This will save further costs. To compensate for the revenue lost as a result of international restrictions and the sharp fall in demand, SWISS will take further precautionary action to safeguard liquidity and revenues over the coming months.
Further action to safeguard liquidity
For the time being, the measures will concern the postponement of variable salary components to the end of this year. The flying personnel will contribute to these measures in line with agreements with our social partners. The management board and senior management will also make an appropriate contribution.
All further recruitment will be halted. Apprentice training places and internships are the only exceptions. Employment agreements which have already been issued will be honored. All projects not essential to ordinary business activities will be halted or postponed.
Short-time work for flying personnel
SWISS is in close contact with the authorities and will initially apply for short-time working hours for cockpit and cabin staff. Further areas on the ground are under consideration. The extent of such short-time work is the subject of current reflection.
SWISS CEO Thomas Klühr: “SWISS is a robust business; together with the Lufthansa Group, it occupies a strong position. In the light of the very dynamic and unforeseeable impact of the coronavirus we will be taking further immediate action to safeguard liquidity.” All measures have been agreed in close consultation with the social partners representing the flying personnel and ground personnel. “I would like to thank our social partners for their uncomplicated, constructive cooperation and our employees for their solidarity”, commented Klühr further.
Swiss aircraft photo gallery:

Swiss operates its first flight to Osaka

Swiss International Air Lines commenced its new nonstop service between Zurich and Osaka on March 1.
The first eastbound LX 158 flight, operated with an Airbus A340-300 aircraft, took off from Zurich at 13:12 CET. Swiss will be serving Osaka five times a week, supplementing its existing Zurich-Tokyo flights to strengthen its presence in Japan.
Swiss aircraft photo gallery:

Swiss International Air Lines takes delivery of its first Airbus A320neo

"Engelberg", 1st A320neo, delivered on February 20, 2020

Swiss International Air Lines (Swiss) has taken delivery of its first Airbus A320neo aircraft (HB-JDA) at a delivery ceremony in Hamburg, Germany. It is the first of 25 A320neo Family aircraft ordered by Swiss International Air Lines.

Photo: Airbus.

The A320neo Family incorporates the very latest technologies including new-generation engines, Sharklets and cabin efficiency enablers, which together deliver 20% fuel savings. With more than 7,300 orders received from over 110 customers since its launch in 2010, the A320neo Family has captured some 60% share of the market.

Top Copyright Photo: Swiss International Air Lines Airbus A320-271N WL HB-JDA (msn 9246) ZRH (Rolf Wallner). Image: 949161.

Swiss aircraft slide show:

Lufthansa Group cancels all flights to China

Lufthansa Group has made this announcement:

The safety of passengers and employees is a top priority for the Lufthansa Group. After thoroughly evaluating all currently available information on the corona virus, Lufthansa Group has decided to suspend its Lufthansa, Swiss and Austrian Airlines flights to/from mainland China until February 9, 2020 with immediate effect. In addition, acceptance of bookings for flights to/from (mainland) China has been suspended until the end of February. Flight operations to/from Hong Kong will continue as planned. The Lufthansa Group will continuously monitor the situation of the corona virus and is in contact with the responsible authorities.

Lufthansa, Swiss and Austrian Airlines will fly to their respective destinations in mainland China one more time. This is intended to give our guests the opportunity to take their planned flight and our crews to return to Germany, Switzerland and Austria.

The Lufthansa Group offers a total of 54 regular weekly connections from Germany, Switzerland and Austria to the Chinese mainland. Destinations are Nangjing, Beijing, Shanghai, Shenyang and Qingdao. Furthermore, Lufthansa Group airlines offer 19 weekly connections to Hong Kong.

Swiss to serve new Daxing International Airport with its Beijing flights

Swiss International Air Lines (SWISS) is to switch its Zurich-Beijing services from the present Beijing Capital International Airport (PEK) to the new Beijing Daxing International Airport (PKX). The change will be made with the start of the 2020 summer schedules at the end of March.
The move will offer travellers more attractive timetables on the route. The eastbound service will leave Zurich late in the afternoon and arrive in Beijing just after 09:00 on the following day. The westbound flight will depart from Beijing at 11:00 and arrive in Zurich at 15:35 on the same day.
Swiss serves Beijing daily in summer and five times weekly in winter. The route is operated using Airbus A330 equipment.
The new Beijing Daxing International Airport, which was designed by top architect Zaha Hadid, opened last autumn and is in the south of the city. The new facility meets all the requirements of an airport today, and is ideally linked into the public transport network. The airport is set to become one of the world’s busiest by 2025.