SWISS International Airlines announced in a press release on Friday that its services will be substantially increased next month. As European countries begin to emerge from the COVID-19 crisis and ease their entry restrictions, SWISS plans to operate around 140 flights per week from Zurich and 40 per week from Geneva.
SWISS increases services from June
The press release from SWISS says that the easing of the entry requirements of several European countries in the coming weeks will lead to an increase in the demand for air travel. With the release of its June timetable, SWISS will substantially increase its services.
The 140 flights per week from Zurich will serve 30 European destinations, while 40 flights per week from Geneva will operate to 14 European destinations. The expansion will take place in line with the entry requirements of the respective countries.
The news follows the announcement by airline’s parent company Lufthansa on Friday that it was reactivating 80 aircraft from 1st June. The German carrier will operate 160 aircraft to 106 destinations.
SWISS’ expansion will be step by step
According to the press release, Thomas Klühr, CEO of SWISS, said:
“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.”
The operator adds that it will continue to operate its three long-haul services per week to Newark in the US, and the airline plans to add flights to more intercontinental destinations next month. The statement says:
“The expansion of the flight schedules is taking place step by step, following the needs of the customers.”
SWISS and its WorldCargo division will still operate cargo flights to various global destinations.
Swiss parliament approves funds for airlines
As reported by SWI last week, the Swiss parliament showed its support for SWISS and other airlines operating in the country by approving CHF1.875 billion ($1.92 billion) of credit. Switzerland’s civil aviation has been under foreign control since the collapse of Swissair in 2001. However, the government decided that it’s vital to keep international air links open.
In a government debate, Finance Minister Ueli Maurer said the following, according to SWI:
“The aviation sector is of systemic importance to Switzerland. The aviation industry generates around 5% of GDP, which is equivalent to the value of the banking sector.”
Over half of Switzerland’s foreign tourists arrive by air. Meanwhile, around 20% of imports and 40% of exports are transported by air. SWISS and the Lufthansa network provide 20 to 30 international connections, while without them, there would only be four or five.
Easing of COVID-19 restrictions
The plans of SWISS and Lufthansa show a cautious optimism that Europe may be over the worst of the pandemic. Switzerland, along with other nations, is gradually easing its lockdown restrictions.
The country enters its second phase tomorrow, which includes the opening of schools, shops, restaurants, and bars, with strict conditions. Regular public transport services will resume, and there will be a gradual relaxation of restrictions for people entering Switzerland.
Altogether, it will take a long time for struggling airlines to get back to anything like their pre-COVID-19 schedules. However, with increased services by SWISS, there does seem to be light at the end of the tunnel.
Simple flying contacted SWISS for comment but had not heard back at the time of publication.
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