SWISS Plans On Flying To 85% Of Its Destinations This Winter

SWISS International Air Lines announced this week that it is restoring several destinations to its winter 2020/21 schedule. As a result, the airline will be operating to around 85% of its 2019 route network. However, it will only be operating at 30 to 40% of last year’s capacity.

SWISS plans to serve 85% of its destinations this winter. Photo: SWISS

SWISS reduces its winter capacity plans

Until just a few weeks ago, SWISS had planned to operate at up to 50% of its pre-coronavirus capacity. However, in a press release this week, the national airline said that it has had to substantially reduce its capacity expectations to just 30 or, at the most, 40% of 2019 levels. It may only reach the capacity levels expected for October by the end of the coming winter season. The carrier aims to operate to around 85% of its network this winter, with 67 destinations served from Zurich and 21 from Geneva.

SWISS has been pushing for the adoption of rapid-result coronavirus testing to make air travel viable and to enable international mobility. The airlines Chief Commercial Officer Tamur Goudarzi Pour said,

“As a result of the current pandemic’s global development and the associated travel restrictions and quarantine provisions instead of effective corona test procedures, the schedules we have devised for the coming winter timetable period are well below our original expectations.”

SWISS aircraft landing
SWISS will only operate at 30 to 40% of its usual winter capacity. Photo: Riik@mctr via Flickr

Routes being resumed for winter 2020/21

Despite the current uncertainty, SWISS aims to add seven short-haul routes from Zurich, including Munich and Wroclaw (Poland) from the end of October, Birmingham, London City, Luxembourg, and Nuremberg from February 2021, and Graz from March 2021.

Routes being added from Geneva include Priština from the beginning of October, Marrakech from mid-October, Prague at the end of October, and Moscow at the beginning of November. Mid-December will see services resumed to Dublin, Gothenburg, Hurghada, Kittilä (Finland), London Gatwick, Malaga, Stockholm, St. Petersburg, and Valencia. SWISS will restore services between Geneva and London City from February 2021.

Additionally, for the Christmas period, which traditionally sees higher volumes of leisure travel, services will be added to Bilbao, Palma de Mallorca, Naples, Sylt, and Thessaloniki. Some of the routes will be operated by the airline’s new Airbus A321neo aircraft.

SWISS video CARRY-freighter 777
SWISS converted Boeing 777s to transport more cargo. Photo: Getty Images

Strong cargo demand helps long-haul network

SWISS says that it can continue to operate a sizable long-haul network due to the strong demand for air cargo services on its routes. Services continue to operate to Newark, New York JFK, Chicago, San Francisco, Montreal, São Paulo, Tel Aviv, Mumbai, Bangkok, Singapore, Tokyo, Hong Kong, and Shanghai.

From October, the airline will resume flights to Boston, USA, Johannesburg, and Dubai. From March 2021, it will add services to Los Angeles, Miami, and Delhi. Sister airline Edelweiss will in the future operate flights to Muscat.

Earlier this year, as passenger traffic ground to a halt in the face of the global pandemic, SWISS modified four of its Boeing 777 passenger jets for freight operations. Stripping out the passenger seats enabled the airline to grow its network of cargo-only flights.

What do you think of SWISS’ downgraded capacity forecast? Will you take advantage of the extended network?