With a fleet of 92 aircraft, Lufthansa Group member SWISS is an airline with an interesting mix of aircraft. One of the more interesting aspects of this airline’s fleet is that it operates both the Airbus A340 and A220. The former being seen as outdated and inefficient, and the latter as an efficient performer and a shining star during the global health crisis. But with additional types being flown by the carrier, let’s take a full look at the SWISS fleet in 2021.
Fleet composition at a glance
First, let’s take a look at the composition of the airline’s fleet as a whole. The aircraft types are listed below with quantities in parentheses. We’ll first start with Airbus:
- A220-100 (9)
- A220-300 (21)
- A320ceo (18)
- A320neo (3)
- A321ceo (8)
- A321neo (2)
- A330-300 (14)
- A340-300 (5)
The airline operates a single Boeing type, the 777-300ER, with 12 of these aircraft in the fleet.
Adding all of these aircraft up, SWISS’ total fleet size is 92 aircraft. This is smaller than its fellow Lufthansa Group legacy carriers, Lufthansa (389) and Austrian (122). However, it is larger than Brussels Airlines (73), another full-service Lufthansa Group outfit.
The majestic quad jets
The Airbus A340 is becoming increasingly rare as a commercial passenger aircraft. The global health crisis has been a major part of this, with airlines like SAS, Iberia, and Virgin Atlantic retiring the quadjet over the past year and a half. However, SWISS is still holding on to its A340s.
SWISS currently has five A340-300s, of which four are active at the time of publishing this article. As we understand it, the fifth aircraft has been undergoing maintenance. The airline’s five 343s have an average age of just under 18 years, and all were delivered new to the full-service carrier.
There has been some expectation that the carrier will retire this portion of its fleet soon. However, a retirement date for the 343 has yet to be revealed. However, it is likely to be fairly close, especially as the wider Lufthansa Group increasingly focuses on smaller twins.
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The wide twins
It’s a pretty safe bet to say that SWISS will follow the industry-wide trend of using widebody twinjets for its long-haul operations. To this end, the airline is relying on the Airbus A330-300, and the Boeing 777-300ER.
The Boeing 777-300ER is the airline’s flagship jet and is a relatively young part of SWISS operations. The average age of these jets is just 4.2 years.
Previously, the airline had also operated the A330-200. However, a phase-out of this type first took place in 2003-2004, with two leaving for Air Caraïbes and another two going to Malaysia Airlines. One of these now serves with the Portuguese wet lease carrier Hi Fly. A second and more significant reduction of A330-200s took place in 2009. Between April and December of that year, four A330-200s went to Vietnam Airlines. One went on to fly with Australian carrier Strategic Airlines.
The pandemic performers
SWISS, through its parent company Lufthansa Group, was one of the first airlines to order the Airbus A220, known at the time as the Bombardier CSeries. In fact, the carrier was the launch customer of the type, first operating the CS100 (A220-100) in 2016.
The airline now has 30 A220s, with just nine -100s and 21 -300s. Across both variants, the longest route is from Geneva to the Egyptian resort of Hurghada, some 2,004 miles away, a clear demonstration of the type’s flexibility.
The airline is also in the process of modernizing its medium-haul narrowbody fleet. Its order of 25 A320neo family aircraft will eventually replace the airline’s older A320ceo and A321ceo aircraft.
Have you flown on any of these SWISS aircraft? For you, which type is your favorite? Let us know in the comments.