|Airline:||Swiss International Air Lines|
|Fleet Size:||78 (+11 orders)|
|Parent:||Deutsche Lufthansa AG|
|Company Slogan:||Swiss made.|
|Founded:||2001 after bankruptcy of Swissair|
|Key People:||Dr. Christoph Franz (President and CEO)|
|Hubs:||Zurich International Airport|
|Focus Cities:||Geneva Cointrin International Airport, |
|Frequent Flyer:||Miles & More|
Swiss International Air Lines Ltd. (short: Swiss) is the principal airline of Switzerland operating scheduled services in Europe and to North America, South America, Africa and Asia. Its main hub is Zurich Kloten Airport (ZRH). Swiss is a subsidiary of the German airline Lufthansa.
The airline uses the IATA Code LX, which it inherited from the Swiss regional airline Crossair (Swissair's code was SR).The ICAO code is SWR, inherited from Swissair (Crossair's was CRX), in order to keep international traffic rights.
The airline was formed after the 2001 bankruptcy of Swissair, Switzerland's former flag carrier. In fact, their losses totaled $1.6 billion from its startup until 2005. The failed airline's biggest creditors, Credit Suisse and UBS, arranged to sell part of Swissair's assets to Crossair, the regional counterpart to the transatlantic Swissair (both Swissair and Crossair were under the same holding company, called SAirGroup). Crossair later changed its name to Swiss, and the new national airline started its operations officially on March 31, 2002. The airline was first owned by institutional investors (61.3%), Swiss Confederation (20.3%), cantons and communities (12.2%) and others (6.2%). Swiss also owns subsidiary companies Swiss Sun (100%) and Crossair Europe (99.9%). It has a total of 7359 employees.
Swiss International Air Lines, or "Swiss" was founded from the remains of Crossair. Unfortunately, the name change did not help. Crossair, which had for 40% of its income come from the defunct Swissair, and was cut out from becoming an intercontinental airline thanks to the September 11, 2001 attacks. The first year was plagued with loss and the Swiss government gave the airline the then-equivalent of $1.5 billion, which was used up within two years.
According to Marcel Biedermann, the managing director intercontinental markets for Swiss, said there were three possibilities: stay independent as a niche carrier, shrink to an unrecognizable level, or attach onto another airline group. The last choice was taken. Swiss talked to Air France-KLM, British Airways, and Lufthansa. However, Swiss was tied up with debt and an uncertain future, and seemed to be an unattractive investment. After merging with KLM, Air France said they were too busy to deal with Swiss joining them. Lufthansa wanted to take over, but the Swiss people did not want that. British Airways was open, and Oneworld partners thought Zürich Airport would be a viable alternative hub for London Heathrow. After almost a year of disputes, Swiss was finally accepted into the Oneworld airline alliance, after having been blocked by British Airways, which competes with Swiss on many long-haul routes. On June 3, 2004, Swiss announced its decision not to join Oneworld because they did not want to integrate their current frequent flyer program into British Airways' Executive Club. Furthermore, Swiss thought the relationship was one sided, where British Airways sapped out the benefits of the airline, but they would get no return.
By 2008, Swiss was half its 1998 size, and never came back to Swissair times fleet size. The airline annually halved its losses, and in 2006, received a net profit of $220 million. The net profit of the year 2007 was $570 million. Biedermann stated in the March 2008 edition of "Airways", that "this was the beginning of getting our house back in order." He said that help was needed and looked up to Lufthansa as a comparison, so their coming together was natural, even with their differences. Even with the smaller network, Swiss carries the same number of passengers as they did in 2002.
On 22 March 2005 Lufthansa confirmed its plan to take over Swiss, starting with a minority stake (11%) of a new company set up to hold Swiss shares called Air Trust. The takeover was completed on the 1st of July 2007 and the Swiss operations were gradually integrated with Lufthansa's from late 2005. Swiss joined Star Alliance on 1 April 2006, when it also became a member of Lufthansa's Miles & More frequent flyer program.
The airline has set up a regional airline subsidiary called Swiss European Air Lines. This carrier has its own air operator's certificate and operates a non-Airbus fleet. The two independently operating divisions Swiss AviationTraining and Swiss WorldCargo (belly capacity of passenger planes) are also owned by Swiss.
Following Lufthansa's takeover, the regional fleet was changed from Crossair's Embraer ERJs and Saabs to Avro RJs (also known as BAe 146), which are flown by a wholly-owned subsidiary, Swiss European Air Lines. The rest of the fleet, apart from the regional jets, was also rationalised and is now all Airbus.
The airline reconstruction also caused Swiss to renegotiate their supplier contracts, which include ground handling, maintenance, food service, and labour.
The shareholders of Swiss received a performance-based option for their shares. Payment will be in 2008, and the amount will depend on how well Lufthansa's shares compare with competitors' shares. Lufthansa continues to maintain Swiss as a separate brand.
See main article: Swiss International Air Lines destinations.
The airline announced a major expansion at EuroAirport Basel-Mulhouse-Freiburg in an attempt to win back market share from budget airlines using the airport. On January 14, 2007 services were launched to Barcelona, Budapest, Manchester, Nice, Prague and Warsaw, in addition to existing services to Amsterdam, Brussels, London and Zurich .
On September 19, 2007 SWISS announced a further expansion of its network with the following routes and destinations:
Aside from codeshares with Star Alliance partners, Swiss codeshares with the following carriers:
Note: This list includes Star Alliance (SA) partners.
The Swiss International Air Lines fleet consists of the following aircraft as of February 2009:http://www.swiss.com/web/DE/about_swiss/company/fleet/Pages/fleet.aspx
|Airbus A319-112||7||0||126*||Domestic/International Short-Medium Haul|
|Airbus A320-214||19||3||168*||Domestic/International Short-Medium Haul||Deliveries: 2009 (1) 2011 (2)|
|Airbus A321-111||6||0||200*||Domestic/International Short-Medium Haul|
|Airbus A330-223||11||0||196 (12/42/142)|
|International Medium-Long Haul|
|Airbus A330-343X||0||11||Replacing: Airbus A330-223 |
Entry into service: 2009
Factory-installed New Business and First Class Seats
|Airbus A340-313X||15||0||228 (8/48/172)||Africa, Asia, North America, South America|
|Avro RJ100 "Jumbolino"||20||0||97*||Domestic/International Short Haul||Operated by Swiss European Air Lines|
One MD-11 aircraft formerly used by Swiss had the Chinese character Ruì (瑞), from the Chinese translation of Switzerland, Ruìshì (瑞士), on the tail fin instead of the cross. It came from the former Swissair subsidiary Swissair Asia, which was formed to allow for Swissair to serve the Republic of China and the People's Republic of China http://www.airliners.net/open.file/0907203/L/.