- IATA Code
- International Airlines serving this country (excluding codeshares)
Swiss International Air Lines - a subsidiary of the German airline Lufthansa - offers services domestically and from two major hubs in the country, Geneva and Zürich airports. Zurich International Airport is Switzerland's largest international gateway and the hub for Swiss International Air Lines and Lufthansa. In addition the dominant airlines operating to these airports are EasyJet Switzerland and Edelweiss Air, while Swiss WorldCargo operates cargo services to selected major destinations. The Federal Office for Civil Aviation (FOCA) is a Swiss government organisation, which is responsible for regulating the country’s commercial air transport and air navigation facilities as well as overseeing pilot licensing and aviation law.
Airports in Switzerland
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The recent decision by Lufthansa to end its codeshare agreement with Turkish Airlines (THY) came as a surprise to most observers. Talks between the two carriers over the past 18 months had been seeking closer co-operation, a prospect that had even been discussed by the respective heads of government of Germany and Turkey.
However, the strong growth of THY in Germany has led to imbalances in their relationship. In particular, THY now has a strong presence in secondary German cities away from Lufthansa’s Frankfurt and Munich strongholds. This has undermined Lufthansa’s strategy of funnelling Asia-bound traffic from secondary markets via its hubs as THY increasingly offers an alternative connection via Istanbul.
With fares that Lufthansa cannot match, one of the world’s biggest networks and a product that continues to win plaudits, THY has become a formidable competitor to Lufthansa and its group companies in spite of also being a Star Alliance partner.
Etihad's announcement that it was buying 33.3% of Switzerland-based Darwin Airline was made on the first day of the Dubai Airshow and was easily lost in the fury of orders announced that day.
Darwin only flies aircraft with 50 seats, less than the number of premium seats that will be on many of the 350-plus widebody aircraft Gulf carriers ordered at the airshow. But the announcement is significant, and three reasons stand out.
First, for Etihad the carrier will "connect the dots" in Europe for itself and partners, linking hubs but also tertiary cities, which have largely been passed over by Gulf carriers. Many of these cities are served by the Lufthansa Group. This gives rise to the second significant impact: on Europe's legacy carriers. Gulf carriers changed their long-haul business while European LCCs decimated short-haul. Regional traffic was always typically a burden, and will come under further pressure following Etihad's announcement. Third is that Darwin Airline will re-brand as "Etihad Regional", and Etihad openly states Darwin is only the first carrier to use this new brand. As the industry still digests Etihad's partnership and equity strategy, Etihad promises to change another component of aviation – and raise the stakes in the liberalisation of the industry, especially by stamping its name on a European carrier.
Lufthansa’s 3Q2013 profit numbers all fall, but there is ‘clear improvement’: how to understand this
Lufthansa does not make it easy for the casual observer to understand its financial results. It has three different figures for what is generally called operating profit: ‘EBIT’, ‘operating result’ and ‘normalised operating result’, plus a fourth indicator, ‘adjusted operating margin’. Here is how we paraphrase Lufthansa’s 3Q2013 results communications.
“Underlying profitability is moving in the right direction, in spite of weak currency-affected yields. The SCORE restructuring programme is starting to have a positive effect, but is also bringing one-off costs. The transfer to Germanwings should lead to a profit in short-haul for the first time in five years and Austrian should report an operating profit for the first time since we bought it. Our 2013 operating profit should be EUR600 million to EUR700 million and SCORE should take us to our 2015 target operating profit of EUR2.3 billion. We should have a better view next year, when restructuring and product improvement costs reduce, but our recent aircraft order shows our confidence in the future. Trust us for now”.
Lufthansa chairman and CEO Christoph Franz told Bloomberg (9-Oct-2013) that his airline is in discussions with Star alliance partner Air China over a possible commercial joint venture to allow for better connections between Europe and China: “In the future, we will not only link our mutual hubs, but it will be important to also have direct links between major European markets and Air China’s hubs, and the other way round.”
China is an important market for Lufthansa, which already operates joint ventures with partners on routes to North America and Japan. It has a long history of collaboration with Air China in various forms, albeit often with an underlying competitive tension. A new JV would require the two to align their goals in the Europe-China market and could bring the portion of Lufthansa’s ASKs operated under such partnerships close to one half.
Lufthansa’s order for Airbus A350 and Boeing 777X aircraft is a reminder that it is still a major long-haul carrier and that there are two manufacturers. In Feb-2013, Lufthansa ordered 100 A320 family aircraft, signalling an eventual move to an all-Airbus short-haul fleet. Since then, its transfer of short/medium-haul non-hub traffic to Germanwings has been a major focus and rival IAG has also announced significant orders. Lufthansa has now restored its position as Europe’s leading buyer of widebodies, adding to the pressure on Air France-KLM in particular.
On 19-Sep-2013, Lufthansa announced the purchase of 59 new long-haul aircraft for delivery between 2016 and 2025, consisting of 34 Boeing 777-9Xs and 25 Airbus A350-900s. It also negotiated options and purchase rights for an additional 30 of each type. The order will allow it to replace its older widebodies and to pursue modest long-haul growth from 2016. Multi-billion dollar orders are not without risk, but Lufthansa’s cautious approach, together with its balance sheet and track record of cash generation, should help to secure financing.
SAS made a bigger profit in 3QFY2013 (May-Jul) than in the same period a year ago, building on the positive momentum developed in 2Q, when it narrowed its losses after reporting wider losses in 1Q. Its ‘4Excellence Next Generation’ restructuring plan delivered further savings in the quarter and SAS has made good progress with most of the key savings and liquidity measures identified in the plan. It has confidently reiterated its FY2013 target of positive earnings.
SAS has also announced plans to order new long-haul aircraft and should complete the sale of Wideroe and the outsourcing of ground-handling in the near future. Focusing the network around the needs of frequent flyers and investing in cabin refurbishment should provide some differentiation from, and appeal relative to, LCC competitors on both short-haul and long-haul. Nevertheless, SAS is still a high-cost carrier and remains vulnerable to price-based competition.