Updated: Jun 24, 2019
Swiss International Airlines has long since seen its time to grow at Zurich. It has, therefore, pushed short haul growth to its fullest potential and is increasingly building its presence in the long haul market out of Zurich. However, despite the short haul network looking similar, Geneva has not seen more than a single long haul flight operated by Swiss International Airlines unlike Zurich.
Swiss International Airlines is known as one of the more respected airlines in the Lufthansa Group for many. With a more than decent sized fleet including modern jets such as the Airbus A220 series, the airline is the best in Switzerland. Its growth has continued, and like every airline, had its ups and downs. Despite this, it has developed a strong route network spreading to places like Mumbai or as short as Geneva, an airport which has received a fair amount of Swiss attention.
Although competition continues to increase at Zurich International Airport meaning more focus needs to be put there, it may be time to open up the possibility of a second multi-range hub, rather than a short haul, secondary base with only one International route to New York.
This idea is similar to what Lufthansa are and have been doing for quite a while. In fact, the airline was initially operating out of Frankfurt during its beginnings, but after growth became limited, the airline inaugurated Terminal 2 in Munich in June of 2003.
Currently, Swiss International Airlines only offers two long haul routes out of Geneva; that is to Abu Dhabi and New York, the latter of which is operated by Etihad Airways under a codeshare agreement which “further strengthens the historic cultural, business and tourism ties that the UAE and Switzerland have enjoyed over many decades,” according to Peter Baumgartner, Etihad Airways CEO.
With popular cities in Asia, the United States and Africa still awaiting connections to Geneva, it is possible that with the correct aircraft, long haul operations could be very good. Taking into account that competition is almost at none with the only major threat being Etihad although both carriers are codeshare partners. So there isn’t any competition, only an example; Etihad has been using the Boeing 787 Dreamliner for some time now, and with no information hinting unsuccessful flights, it seems it could be a good idea to begin 787 seasonal or year-round long haul flights out of Geneva.
The problem with this idea, is fleet commonality. Although the Boeing 787 dreamliner offers some of the most technologically advanced features, it may not properly fit into the Swiss fleet correctly. Currently, Swiss operates a mix of Boeing 777s, Airbus A330s and Airbus A340s for its long haul fleet, with the quad-jet gradually being phased out. That could mean room for an additional long haul aircraft member, or it could be that the airline is trying to reduce the types in its fleet. This could have a more positive effect on its expenses, something we will explain in a future article. With a capacity that isn’t too much nor too little, the Boeing 787 offers a very attractive opportunity to expand long haul out of Geneva. Boeing and Swiss have a long standing partnership that already exists with its Boeing 777s. In fact, a small number of additional Boeing 777s were ordered specifically for Swiss International Airlines just recently. And, with the Airbus A330s slowly ageing and the idea to get rid of them becoming increasingly important, the Boeing 787 could also prove a very good replacement for the type. Currently, the Airbus A330 operates the Geneva to New York route.
Geneva is a remarkable city, becoming the ever-more popular and expansion could be quite profitable. Not only would the 787 almost fit perfectly in Geneva’s long haul market, but they would allow Swiss to increase its profits, considering it would have a monopoly on almost every route. It is a possibility Swiss should consider perhaps after Zurich growth is no longer viable for whatever reason, or now.