Published on April 24th, 2016 | by Jim Lee0
SWISS outlines C Series operations from mid-July as part of an expanded summer schedule
On 21st April, Swiss International Air Lines (SWISS) confirmed that its initial Bombardier CS100 operations would commence from mid-July. SWISS will be the first airline in the world to operate the new Bombardier C Series, when it puts its CS100 into service, on 15th July. SWISS expects to take delivery of its first aircraft as scheduled, at the end of June. On Friday 15th July the aircraft is scheduled to take off from Zurich at 12:30, on its first commercial flight, the LX638 to Paris (Charles de Gaulle). The commencement of scheduled operations with the innovative new Bombardier twinjet will mark a further milestone in SWISS history, following the successful service entry of the Boeing 777-300ER.
The arrival of Bombardier’s entirely newly developed short- and medium-haul twinjet, in the SWISS European fleet, sets new benchmarks in inflight comfort, operating economics and environmental standards. With its state-of-the-art engine, systems and materials technology, the C Series sets a new standard and is only about half as loud as comparable aircraft to the human ear. This 50% noise reduction will particularly benefit local airport residents. It also consumes up to 25% less fuel and, as a result, will reduce SWISS’s annual carbon dioxide emissions by some 90,000 tonnes. The arrival of the C Series will also create 150 new jobs at SWISS, within the company’s cabin crew pool.
In addition to Paris (Charles de Gaulle), Manchester, Prague and Budapest will also be among the first SWISS destinations to receive Bombardier CS100 service. They will be followed by Warsaw and Brussels at the end of August, and by Nice, Stuttgart, Hanover, Milan, Florence and Bucharest in September. Thereafter, more and more destinations, currently served with the Avro RJ100, will gradually be switched to C Series operation, as more of the new twinjets arrive. The Zurich-London City route is expected to have C Series service from the first quarter of 2017.
While the first SWISS flights to be operated with the new Bombardier C Series are now published on swiss.com and other booking platforms, (see initial schedule details), SWISS points out, however, that the operation of a particular aircraft type on a particular flight can never be guaranteed, as short-notice equipment changes are always possible for operational reasons. So enthusiasts be warned.
SWISS, part of the Lufthansa Group, and a member of Star Alliance, the world’s biggest airline grouping, has a total of twenty CS100s and ten CS300s on firm order from Bombardier, with options for an additional thirty CS100s. In all, the aircraft will be used to gradually replace the airline’s ageing fleet of Avro RJ100s.
European Route-proving programme successfully completed
The announcement of CS100 operations by SWISS from mid-July followed the successful completion of the aircraft’s European route-proving operations. The programme was conducted across the SWISS network and included over 30 city-pair flights in European cities, over a three-week long period, commencing 8th March, with a flight from Zurich to Hannover. Earlier on 6th March, the test aircraft C-FFCO (c/n 50006), was ferried Montreal to Zurich in Bombardier livery and with the manufacturer’s 125 seat cabin interior, arriving there at 19:39. The European route-proving program follows one conducted last year across North America that included more than 35 cities. The European route-proving flights used typical airline flight routings and operational procedures and were designed to give a clear indication of how the C Series aircraft would perform in a typical airline schedule. Using different airports the flights evaluated airfield performance, landings, airport turnarounds and on-ground operations. During the route-proving operations, the aircraft was flown by Bombardier pilots only, although the SWISS core pilot team, who had already completed their training on the type, travelled on board as observers. The aircraft flew two to four legs a day during weekdays, while undergoing various ground tests at the weekends, over the three-week period.
At Zurich itself, the aircraft was handled at a range of locations including the A and B stands, the ‘straight’ I stands and the H stands. The opportunity was also taken to shoot a number of videos for use in training on the type. SWISS mechanics, ground services staff and members of the SWISS project team were also able to observe the various tests. Apart from these personnel, no passengers were permitted on board. Maintenance staff were also given the opportunity to observe the aircraft on the ground throughout the day and on their night shifts, to further develop the training they have already received on the new aircraft type.
During an event in Zurich on 23rd March, executive representatives from SWISS and Bombardier provided details and results on the route-proving programme (see video below). Commenting on the programme, Peter Wojahn, Chief Technical Officer, Swiss International Air Lines said: “As the launch customer and the first airline to operate the C Series aircraft, we are very pleased and impressed with the results. It was equally exciting to see these first set of flights operating from our home-base in Zurich.”
Rob Dewar, Vice President, C Series Aircraft Program, Bombardier Commercial Aircraft added; “It was a special treat to be able to conclude the CS100 aircraft route-proving program from SWISS’ base and we’re equally pleased that it went extremely well. Testing important performance targets using real-life routes is an excellent indication of how reliable the aircraft will be when it flies in the SWISS network,” He went on to say that during the European visit they “took the opportunity to show the aircraft to a few European airlines”.
SWISS offers more points and flights in its summer schedules
SWISS had previously announced that it would be further adjusting its range of services from Zurich and Geneva, as part its 2016 summer schedules. The summer schedule adds frequencies to various existing European and intercontinental destinations. Zurich sees additional frequencies on the short haul routes to Berlin, Brindisi, Bari, Bilbao, Hamburg, Krakow, Naples and Thessaloniki, while the airline is now offering a new thrice-weekly service, from Zurich to Alicante. In addition, the vacation destination of Lamezia Terme in Southern Italy will be served from Geneva, with a seasonal weekly flight in July and August. Services will also be intensified from Geneva to destinations in Portugal and on the Greek islands, while frequencies to Ajaccio, Biarritz, Calvi and Valencia, will also be increased in response to the generally higher demand on these routes in the summer months.
Looking at the airline’s short haul services to Ireland, the Zurich-Dublin route has nine services a week, with a core daily A321 service (the LX400/1), supplemented by A320s, on Saturdays and Sundays (LX 406/7), basically similar to the frequencies operated over the last couple of years. The LX400 departs Zurich at 09:10 and arrives in Dublin at 10:30. The return flight, the LX401, departs Dublin at 11:15 and is scheduled to arrive back in Zurich at 14:25. The flight time for the 769 mile (1,237 km) journey varies between 2:05 and 2:10 and there is a one hour time difference between the two airports. The additional weekend service, the LX406, departs Zurich at 07:00 and arrives in Dublin at 08:10. The return flight, the LX407 departs Dublin at 09:00 and is scheduled to arrive back in Zurich at 12:05. In addition to the standard A320 operation, an Embraer 190 operated by Helvetic Airways is scheduled on the route on 17th July and 21st August.
The Geneva-Dublin service has the same schedule as last year, with a four per week service, the LX410/1, operating on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays, at various timings and with a mixture of A319s and A320s.
On the long-haul network, SWISS is gradually raising its frequencies to Boston. In addition, flights to a range of long-haul destinations will be switched, to its new fleet flagship the Boeing 777-300ER, which will be deployed on services between Zurich and Bangkok, Hong Kong, Los Angeles, Montreal, San Francisco, São Paulo and Tel Aviv. Its first Boeing 777-300ER, HB-JNA, now carries a special livery featuring the faces of over 2,500 SWISS personnel. The photos used to create the new livery were all personally submitted by the employees concerned; and every one of them has found its place on the fuselage. The employees depicted reflect and represent the entire SWISS workforce – as is further emphasised by the 12 bigger portraits selected from all the photos submitted to highlight the company’s various personnel groups. The aircraft will retain the special livery for its first year of operation.
SWISS serves 102 destinations (76 European and 26 intercontinental) in 46 countries for the summer schedules, which are valid from 27th March to 29th October 2016. With its workforce of 8,564 personnel, SWISS carries more than 16 million passengers a year with its 94-aircraft fleet. The company’s Swiss WorldCargo division provides a comprehensive range of airport-to-airport airfreight services for high-value and care-intensive consignments, to some 130 destinations in over 80 countries.
In addition to SWISS, the airlines of the Lufthansa Group – Austrian Airlines, Brussels Airlines, Eurowings and Lufthansa, are now even more attractive for business and leisure travellers alike as the Group offers one of the most comprehensive networks of air services in the world, with over 23,140 weekly flights. Via their Frankfurt, Munich, Zurich, Vienna and Brussels hubs, and also with numerous point-to-point connections, the Group’s airlines will serve 316 destinations in 101 countries, (compared to 321 destinations in 103 countries in summer 2015). This already-vast range of services will be further supplemented by over 18,000 codeshare flights offered in collaboration with some 30 partner airlines, to provide Lufthansa Group customers with a virtually worldwide air travel network.
Key personnel changes
Reto Schmid (49), who is currently SWISS’s Head of Human Resources, has been appointed Head of Cabin Crew, a new function, and he will assume his new duties on 1st July. He succeeds Alexander Arafa, who will be moving on the same date to take up new duties as Head of Area & Contribution Management at Swiss WorldCargo, SWISS’s airfreight division.
“The appointment of our new Head of Cabin Crew is a very important development,” says SWISS CEO Thomas Klühr. “We are creating 510 new cabin crew positions under our current fleet renewal programme – a major corporate challenge.” The search for Reto Schmid’s successor as Head of Human Resources has already been initiated.
In addition, Jürg Christen (55) has been appointed the new Head of Sales Switzerland of SWISS and Lufthansa Group from the same date. He has a vast experience within the airline sector and is currently the Regional Director for Greater China and Head of the Sales and Marketing Organization of the Lufthansa Group Airlines.
“In Jürg Christen, we are delighted to have filled this new position with such a proven airline professional with international experience”, said CCO Markus Binkert in a comment on the appointment.