Swiss Operates 6 Mile Airbus A320 Flights To Bring Planes Back Into Service

SWISS International Air Lines and sister company Edelweiss Air are looking to restart services in the coming weeks. The airlines will be flying 17 aircraft from their storage site in Dubendorf airfield back to Zurich Airport, where they can resume operations. A SWISS Airbus A320 has already completed the six-mile journey.

Swiss Airbus A320
SWISS International Air Lines is bringing its A320s back to Zurich Airport to resume operations. Photo: SWISS

Removing planes from storage

There was another positive sign today hinting that Europe is starting to reopen its borders. SWISS International Air Lines announced via its Twitter account that it was looking to move planes from storage ready to meet growing travel demand. The airline will move 17 planes over the coming few days prepared to resume operations.

An Airbus A320 HB-IJD has already arrived safely back at the airline’s Zurich hub. The move should allow the airline to take advantage of increased demand and lifting restrictions as soon as possible. The SWISS fleet was grounded back in March.

Increasing operations in June

SWISS is looking to ramp up operations over the coming weeks. Initially, routes will reopen to Rome, Naples, Florence, Palermo, and Brindisi from its Zurich base. The airline will also look to open routes flying from its Geneva hub.

The airline is also eyeing up June routes to Scandinavian destinations, including Gothenburg in Sweden and Copenhagen in Denmark. There will be other more frequent routes to major European destinations such as Paris, London, Brussels, Athens, Lisbon, and Porto as borders begin to open. By the end of the month, SWISS hopes to have between 15-20% of its operations up and running.

Its long-haul offerings to New-York, Tokyo, and Hong-Kong are also increasing in frequency. The airline flies three times a week to Newark in the US as well as four times a week to New York’s JFK. SWISS was able to continue some international operations over the last months as it worked to repatriate citizens to their home nations. It also operated many cargo and freight operations.

SWISS converts an additional 777 for cargo
SWISS was able to continue operating repatriation and cargo fleets while its main commercial fleet was grounded. Photo: Getty Images

A new tax marring recovery

Just as SWISS is looking to expand its services and recover financially from the virus outbreak, it has to deal with a new tax. Last week Switzerland’s parliament voted in favor of a new environmental tax. Each airline ticket will now be subject to a charge that will be used to fund emission reduction programs to combat climate change. While most airlines agree with the principal of the tax, SWISS has said it will be disproportionately affected.

The tax will range from 30 to 120 Swiss Francs ($31-$126). SWISS has claimed that as it operates the most flights from Switzerland, it will be the most affected. Larger airlines will absorb the cost of the tax themselves to encourage customer bookings. SWISS cannot do this and believes passenger numbers may be affected.

Combining the new tax with social distancing measures which restrict capacity and SWISS may have a hard time recovering from the virus outbreak. However, removing aircraft from storage does indicate that plans to resume operations are going ahead as scheduled. At the time of publication, the airline has not yet responded to Simple Flying’s request for comments.