Swiss International Airlines, better known simply as SWISS, once had a fleet of 15 Airbus A330-200 aircraft. The airline, a member of the Lufthansa Group, operated the planes between 2002 and 2011. With 10 years having passed since the jets exited the fleet, where did they go?
Where did the aircraft come from?
Of the 15 A330-200s operated by SWISS, most of these were ‘picked up’ from the collapse of Swissair. These had been delivered to Swissair, brand new from Airbus, between 1998 and 2001. Thus in 2002, SWISS, all at once, had 13 A330-200s that previously belonged to Swissair.
The other two jets came from SWISS’ relatively new parent company Lufthansa in 2006. At the time, Lufthansa had taken delivery of brand new A330-300s and had passed on its older jets to its new group member. These two had actually first flown with Belgian airline Sabena.
The first wave of departures
There were multiple ‘waves’ of A330-200 phase-outs. The first took place in 2003-2004, with two leaving for Air Caraïbes and another two going to Malaysia Airlines. One Air Caraïbes aircraft has since gone on to be re-configured as a VIP jet for the French Air Force. Of the jets that went to Malaysia Airlines, one now serves with Portuguese wet lease carrier Hi Fly while another is with a Bulgarian airline named Balkan Holidays.
The second and more significant wave of A330-200 departures from the SWISS fleet 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.
2010 saw two of the jets depart SWISS. One went to fellow Switzerland-based airline, Edelweiss Air, while the other headed over to Turkey’s Atlasjet.
Finally, in 2011, two aircraft went to Brussels Airlines, and another two went to now-collapsed carrier Air Berlin. One Air Berlin A330-200 is now with Virgin Atlantic (and will eventually be replaced by a new A330-900neo). The two with Brussels Airlines were recently retired.
The SWISS fleet today
Today SWISS’ fleet looks a little different. The airline still operates the A330 in the form of the longer -300. These 14 jets were delivered to SWISS around the same time that the -200s departed the fleet.
It is also one of the few carriers still operating the A340 – but this may not be much longer. At the moment, the airline has five A340-300s with an average age of 17.6 years.
Finally, the other large component of the SWISS widebody fleet is the Boeing 777-300. The airline operates 12 of these, with the sub fleet having an average age of just four years.
As you can see, SWISS’ A330-200s have gone on to fly with airlines around the world- some staying close to their former operator. Meanwhile, others are on the other side of the planet, still flying passengers.
Did you ever fly on a SWISS A330-200? Please share your experience with us in the comments.