- 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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easyJet’s 1H2013 pre-tax result improved by GBP51 million to a loss of GBP61 million. This puts it comfortably on course to achieve the current consensus forecast for record pre-tax profits of GBP410 million in FY2013. It may also be on another collision course with founder and largest shareholder Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou over aircraft orders.
CEO Carolyn McCall believes easyJet can take further market share from non-LCCs on point-to-point routes. At its top 20 existing airports, where easyJet has 46 million seats (a share of 22%), she puts this potential additional market at 86 million seats. This analysis appears to pave the way for a large aircraft order after easyJet completes a review of its future fleet strategy later this year, although it insists that no decision has yet been taken.
This would not please Sir Stelios who said: “Good things happen to airlines that don’t order more aircraft.” Under Ms McCall's guidance easyJet's share price has more than doubled over the past year and not just because it didn't grow. It may be time for Sir Stelios to let go.
TAM will soon defect from Star to join its sister carrier LAN in oneworld. TAP Portugal’s future alliance membership is surrounded by uncertainty until its likely renewed privatisation process is complete. These developments throw the spotlight on the strategic importance of routes from Europe to Latin America to European carriers, who dominate this market, in particular the Big Three, but TAP Portugal, Alitalia and Air Europa also have noticeable positions. The South Atlantic market is only around one fifth of the size of the North Atlantic market by RPKs. So why should Latin America matter to European airlines?
In addition to forecast passenger traffic growth rates that, while not spectacular, are still very respectable and superior to those in Europe and on the North Atlantic, Latin America is a fascinating strategic battleground for Europe’s carriers, both directly and through alliances.
It is a territory of changing alliances and emerging players and, for those that are successful, market share gains can provide significantly higher growth then the underlying market.
Lufthansa is the most consistently profitable of the Big Three European legacy flag carrier groups and the only one to make a positive operating result in 2012. With 236 aircraft on order and a strong balance sheet that should facilitate funding these deliveries, it appears to be in a league of its own in Europe. However, group operating profit, which fell from EUR820 million in 2011 to EUR524 million in 2012, has been on a downward path since 2007. Results at the core Lufthansa Passenger Airline fell into loss, making it the group’s weakest performer in 2012, a shocking reinforcement of the need to change.
Lufthansa is taking radical steps to restructure non-hub short-haul routes using its LCC subsidiary Germanwings after similarly radical restructuring at its Austrian Airlines subsidiary and is determined to push through with its SCORE cost savings programme. For 2013, it is targeting only a better operating result than last year, but its 2015 target of an operating result of EUR2.3 billion would represent its best ever three year improvement.
China is the world’s most populous nation and its second largest passenger aviation market with enormous growth potential in spite of some regulatory brakes. So why is it that some European countries are under-served to China by their home carriers, in particular Spain, but also Italy and the UK? It is not an easy market to serve and yields remain low, but it is a must-do market.
Air China and Lufthansa are the biggest players on Europe-China and this is reflected in the Star Alliance controlling almost half of the seats on these routes and SkyTeam’s Air France and KLM both have strong positions in Amsterdam and Paris respectively. By contrast, British Airways finds itself in the most competitive Europe-China market, the UK and without a Chinese partner.
While BA is starting a Chengdu service and increasing its Shanghai frequency from six times weekly to daily, Iberia is absent entirely from China and IAG looks very under-represented in this large and fast-growing market. In spite of Finnair carving out a successful niche, oneworld is an also-ran on Europe-China, with only a 10% share.
The planned merger of AMR Corp, parent of American Airlines, and US Airways Group will have a small, but noticeable impact on European airlines via their North Atlantic networks. The merged AA-US Air will be the number four ranked airline group on the North Atlantic, an improvement on AA’s current sixth place. In terms of the alliances, if this merger and the Delta-Virgin Atlantic deal both complete, the three global alliances will have divided routes between Europe and North America almost equally between them, with little left for non-aligned carriers.
AA and US Air operate to Europe from different US hubs and there is no city pair route overlap between the two (so competition authorities seem unlikely to worry themselves on the grounds of these operations). However, when looking at overall markets between the US and individual European countries, the merger will have a competitive impact on European carriers’ North Atlantic activities, most notably Iberia and Alitalia, followed by Aer Lingus.
Air China is building on its reputation as China's flag carrier with an expanded schedule to Europe, increasing frequency on existing services and also opening two new routes: Beijing-Geneva and Chengdu-Frankfurt.
Air China's service will be the first Chinese one to Geneva while Chengdu-Frankfurt represents the first route from a Chinese carrier originating in a secondary Chinese city. Several secondary Chinese cities - many of them very large - are growing faster than traditional coastal areas and have also been the expansion target – out of opportunity and necessity – of European airlines.
Air China, which of China's 'Big Three' has the largest portion of its capacity in international markets, will cement its position as the largest carrier between China and Europe, and twice that of its nearest competitor (and Star Alliance partner), Lufthansa. Air China is also the seventh largest carrier between Europe and Asia-Pacific, thanks to its service to a number of smaller European cities, where it holds market leadership, unlike in major cities where it is typically overshadowed by Europe's main hub carriers.