Swiss sees bumpy ride


SWISS International Air Lines recorded positive traffic growth of 8.3 per cent for the first 11 months of 2011 compared to last year reflecting 14,122,681passengers who travelled aboard Swiss in the first 11 months of the year.

Martin Massüger, director, head of sales Middle East, Africa, Pakistan & Iran for Swiss, said: “Globally, we’ve been affected by many factors including natural and man-made disruptions. For us here in the Middle East and North Africa, the biggest challenge is the Arab Spring. On the Dubai/Muscat route, our seat load factor is stable in the high seventies – just about the same as 2010. In Egypt, we recorded a drop of 12 per cent versus previous year due to the uprising and political instability.

”We didn’t see any negative impact here in the UAE and in Oman. But again, our Cairo operation suffered during the unrests and remains challenged under the current situation situation” he added.

Swiss products and services bear the quality mark and Massüger believes that this is what sets them apart from our competitors. “Recently, we’ve been awarded the “Best Business Class Airline” in Europe by the World Travel Awards.  That speaks highly of the kind of product and service we offer our passengers.”

Looking ahead into 2012 Massüger hopes for a year of growth and expansion.

“However, reality points out that it will be quite a ride for 2012 with the economic crisis happening in Europe.  With the present market volatilities, predictions are difficult to make. However, Swiss expects to record a positive result for the year 2011.”

While there are no announced plans, Swiss continues to study the possibility of adding more destinations in the region to their network. The airline will continue to invest in its aircraft fleet in 2012.

“January will see the delivery of an eleventh Airbus A330-300, with two further A330-300s due to arrive in February and October, 2012. Two new Airbus A320s will also join the fleet in spring. Swiss will be adding its 25th intercontinental destination in February with the start of Zurich-Beijing flights. A new service will also be offered on the Geneva-Nice route, while frequencies will be additionally increased to London, Moscow and Madrid,” he added.

Guests flying Swiss will have much to look forward to in the New Year. Among them Massüger added, “The “Swiss Taste of Switzerland” program will allow passengers to look forward to gourmet delights from featured hotel partners for a truly enjoyable meal experience. Miles & More status members who remain in the non-Schengen zone of the new Dock B once they have negotiated the centralized security check can take advantage of the new Swiss Lounge D. 

Additionally, Swiss Business passengers arriving in Zurich during peak hours whose flight still has to be handled at a “remote” stand away from the airport docks will also enjoy an exclusive bus service to carry them quickly and promptly to the terminal building.”

“We are taking a cautious stance for 2012 as we’re presented with market volatilities,” he concluded.