Swiss’ Boeing 777-300ER
SWISS International Air Lines will be deploying the 340-seater Boeing 777-300ER – the company’s flagship aircraft – on the Singapore-Zurich route.
This is an increase of 121 seats, or approximately 55 per cent, when compared to the A340-300 currently used. The carrier, while maintaining daily flights from Singapore to Zurich, will utilise the Boeing 777-300ER only thrice-weekly, while the rest of the services will be operated using an Airbus A340-300.
The airline plans to deploy the Boeing 777-300ER on all flights between the two countries by March 2017.
Explaining the move, Aditya Khullar, head of Swiss International Air Lines South-east Asia & Pacific, said: “In the first six months of 2016, there’s been a five per cent growth in tourism from Singapore to Switzerland. Malaysia and Indonesia also have double-digit growth.”
Despite flying to eight cities in Asia, Khullar stated that their focus is currently on three destinations – Bangkok, Hong Kong and Singapore. Swiss currently flies the Boeing 777-300ER on its Bangkok and Hong Kong routes as well.
“Rather than open new destinations, we’re growing the capacity of these particular destinations. Our strategy for now in Asia is to consolidate where we already are, and then grow those markets,” he said.
When asked if the Boeing 777-300ER will be rolled out eventually to the rest of its Asian destinations, Khullar said: “We’ve taken delivery of six out of nine 777s, the rest of which will arrive over the next two years.
“For the remaining 777s, we don’t have exact destinations for them yet. But it will (probably not be deployed to) New Delhi and Mumbai, as these two cities are only an eight-hour flight from Zurich.”
Markus Binkert, chief commercial officer of Swiss, added: “Routes that might get the split-fleet of Boeing 777-300ERs and A340-300s will be Japan or the two Chinese destinations (Shanghai and Beijing).”
Regardless, Binkert said that the carrier will “monitor the network and capacity, and see if there is a need to deploy a 777”.
In addition, Swiss and the Lufthansa Group have also signed a codeshare agreement with Singapore Airlines earlier this year.
Said Khullar: “We’re waiting for our antitrust immunities to come through in these markets, but we’ve already started collaborating on codeshares across South-east Asia, Australia and New Zealand (to expand our network).”