Published on July 4th, 2016 | by Jim Lee0
SWISS takes delivery of its first Bombardier C Series aircraft
The first of the 30 Bombardier C Series aircraft, that Swiss International Air Lines (SWISS) has on order from Canadian manufacturer Bombardier, arrived in Zurich from Dublin at 17:09 on 1st July. The historic handover to the launch customer SWISS was celebrated during an earlier special event, with SWISS and Bombardier’s employees alongside government representatives, suppliers and media, in Montréal on 29th June.
Speaking at that event, Thomas Klühr, Chief Executive Officer, SWISS said that SWISS was proud to be the first airline to take delivery of the C Series, which he describes as “the world’s newest, innovative and technologically advanced aircraft”. Noting that the aircraft, “had performed exceptionally well during its acceptance flight, as expected,” he added that “along with the CS300 aircraft that we’ve also ordered, the C Series fleet will allow us to perfectly tailor our capacity to demand on various European routes, while providing an excellent travel experience for our passengers”. In conclusion, he congratulated Bombardier and his own SWISS teams on, “this milestone delivery as we now turn our focus to the CS100 aircraft’s entry into service.”
That service entry date is fast approaching, with the aircraft scheduled to enter service with SWISS on 15th July, with its first commercial flight, the LX 638, taking passengers from Zurich to Paris-Charles de Gaulle. SWISS will gradually replace its Avro RJ100 fleet with the C Series aircraft. Additional C Series aircraft will be used to replace other existing aircraft, as well as permitting moderate future growth. The CS100 aircraft will fly to Manchester, Prague and Budapest, with other destinations – Warsaw, Brussels, Nice, Stuttgart, Hanover, Milan, Florence and Bucharest being added as further aircraft are delivered.
For Fred Cromer, President, Bombardier Commercial Aircraft, the handover was also very significant, and he too heartily congratulated his teams, many of whom had “dedicated years to designing, building, marketing and defining the flight network for the C Series aircraft as the first right-sized aircraft in the 100- to 150-seat market segment in nearly 30 years.” He also thanked SWISS “for its longstanding support of the programme”. “SWISS has been a wonderful partner and has been involved since the very beginning of this journey; on behalf of the entire Bombardier team, we wish our friends at SWISS continued success,” he added.
Rob Dewar, Vice President, C Series Aircraft Program, Bombardier Commercial Aircraft added; “A new aircraft programme like the C Series aircraft comes around once in a lifetime and it’s a proud achievement that belongs to many.” He went on; “This first delivery is the culmination of hard work, collaboration and dedication by thousands of employees, partners and suppliers, and I’m thrilled to applaud them today as we celebrate the flawless delivery of the first CS100 aircraft to our valued customer – SWISS.”
Peter Wojahn, Chief Technical Officer, SWISS, said he was honoured to accept the first aircraft in Bombardier’s hometown “alongside our respective employees,” adding “With its state-of-the art engines, systems and materials technology, I am confident the C Series will be a welcome addition to our fleet as we look to meet our upcoming commitments with the same diligence and excellence for which SWISS is recognised.” Mr. Wojahn noted his long association with the programme “from an initial discussion amongst colleagues, to the first delivered C Series aircraft proudly displaying our national colours and flag.”
The aircraft, HB-JBA, (c/n 50010), ex C-FPAI, was delivered Montreal – Dublin on 30th June, as the LX 7535. It departed Montreal at 18:16 (local IST) and landed in Dublin at 19:36, after a 7 hour 20 minutes flight. The following afternoon, 1st July, it departed Dublin at 13:42, using the same callsign. The aircraft had made its first flight on 16th June.
Arrival in Zurich
At 17:09 (local), after a low pass past Zurich airport’s observation deck, HB-JBA, accompanied by the legendary Breitling L1049F Super Constellation, HB-RSC, landed to a warm reception of a large crowd of aviation fans and further spectators.
The delivery flight was performed by Peter Koch, C Series Fleet Chief and Head of the SWISS C Series Programme. “It was a great honour and a personal thrill for me to fly our first C Series aircraft to Switzerland,” he said. “The reception we were greeted with by the people and our partners was very moving, and will stay with me forever.” Ernst Frei, the commander on the accompanying Super Constellation and a former Boeing 747 captain, was equally enthusiastic. “Having been a pilot with Swissair for 31 years,” he said. “So it was a particular pleasure for me to escort the latest arrival for its successor SWISS to its new Zurich home.” For a short video of the arrival of HB-JBA see below.
Customised for the SWISS short haul network
As launch customer and first operator of the C Series, SWISS has been closely involved in its development from scratch, with manufacturer Bombardier. With its state-of-the-art technologies, the C Series sets new benchmarks in terms of its inflight comfort, operating economics and environmental credentials: it consumes up to 25% less fuel and is half as loud to the human ear as comparable aircraft types. With 30 on order, five more CS100’s, HB-JBB/F (c/n 50011/5), are on the final assembly line at Bombardier’s Mirabel plant, although none of these have yet flown. The first of these, HB-JBB, is scheduled for delivery in early July.
SWISS has also worked with Bombardier to create a roomier and more relaxed cabin environment for short-haul flights. One particularly striking aspect of the new C Series cabin is its generously-sized and closely-arranged windows. The airlines Cabin Crew, Cabin Engineering, Food & Beverage Product Development and Catering Operations units have also been closely involved. The aircraft’s seats, produced by ZIM of Markdorf, near Lake Constance, are truly pioneering, as they do away with the usual two-support mechanism for the folding table, in favour of a single central support. This, too, creates more space – this time for the passenger’s knees.
The new Bombardier C Series will also offer passengers with reduced mobility the best possible inflight comfort. The toilets have been made as accessible as possible, and stretcher passengers can also be accommodated on board. The galleys boast extensive SWISS input, too. The rear galley in particular, bears a close resemblance to that of the airlines Airbus A320Ps, an example of commonality, which is a further plus for cabin crew.
Other fleet news
SWISS continues to take delivery of its fleet of nine new Boeing 777-3DE (ER)s, with the fifth aircraft HB-JNE, (c/n 44586), having been delivered on 22nd June. Delivery dates for the other four were, HB-JNA (28th January), HB-JNB (29th March), HB-JNC (28th April) and HB-JND (30th May). See promotional video below. With the arrival of the new Boeing 777s, SWISS are retiring their Airbus A340-313s, the most recent being that of HB-JMN, which was ferried to Lourdes/Tarbes, on 30th June. Two other aircraft were previously ferried there, HB-JML on 31st May and HB-JMO on 30th April. Earlier this year, SWISS took delivery of its ninth Airbus A321. The model 212, which first flew on 23rd February, was delivered as HB-IOO (c/n 7007), on 4th March.
Further key personnel changes
On 16th June, SWISS announced that Christoph Ulrich (41), currently Head of Compensation & Labour Agreements, had been appointed Head of Human Resources at Swiss International Air Lines (SWISS). He assumed his new duties on 1st July. Mr. Ulrich succeeds Reto Schmid, who moves on the same date to become the new Head of Cabin Crew.
Mr. Ulrich is a proven HR specialist who is thoroughly familiar with both SWISS and its people and can draw on extensive experience in both business administration and the airline field. He joined the company in 2008 as the leader of a project to develop a new corporate health management organisation. Just under two years later, he was appointed Head of HR Shared Services & Central Functions; and in 2013 he moved again within Human Resources to become Head of Compensation & Labour Agreements, where his duties have included negotiating and formulating the company’s collective labour agreements, with its various personnel groups. Prior to joining SWISS, Christoph Ulrich spent several years in the financial and risk management sectors, with AXA Winterthur and Kessler/Marsh and with the Aeropers pilots’ staff association.
The previous day, SWISS announced personnel changes on its Board of Directors, following its General Meeting. Reto Francioni has succeeded Bruno Gehrig as Chairman of the Board and he and Christoph Franz have stepped down while Doris Russi Schurter has been newly appointed. Mr. Gehrig joined the Board in November 2010 and served as its Chairman for just under six years. Prior to this, he had been Chairman of the Swiss Air Transport Foundation for a five-year period. Mr. Francioni has served as CEO of Deutsche Börse AG Frankfurt/Germany from 2005 until May 2015. He has also been Professor of Applied Capital Markets Theory at the University of Basel since 2006. His previous positions include various further executive functions, such as Chairman of the Swiss Exchange in Zurich, Co-CEO & Management Spokesman of Consors AG, Nuremberg and a member of Corporate Finance Divisional Management at Hofmann-La Roche, Basel. He has also worked for Credit Suisse, including service in New York; and he began his professional career with UBS in Zurich.
Mr Franz has stepped down after almost seven years as a member and as Deputy Chairman thereof. He was elected to the Board in October 2009, having served as SWISS’s Chief Executive Officer from 2004 to 2009. Doris Russi Schurter, who has been appointed as Mr. Franz’s successor, is a native of Lucerne, an attorney-at-law and a former partner at auditing and accountancy company KPMG. She already sits on the boards of directors of several major corporations. She is also President of the VSUD, the Association of Swiss Companies in Germany. Finally, Harry Hohmeister, Montie Brewer and Jacques Aigrain remain as the further members of the SWISS Board of Directors.
SWISS named best employer brand for 2016
SWISS has been 2016 Employer Brand of the Year for the Germany, Austria and Switzerland region. The distinction was bestowed at this year’s Employer Branding Awards in Salzburg. SWISS beat off challenges from over 78 further candidates in the ‘Internal Branding – Global Players’ category. SWISS also secured two second places in these latest Employer Branding Awards, in the ‘Employer Positioning’ and the ‘Personnel Marketing’ categories. The distinctions are a tribute to SWISS’s new employer value proposition of being ‘Truly SWISS…where people matter’, a claim which was developed with the close involvement of all the company’s personnel groups. Reflecting this new employer value proposition SWISS has dedicated its first Boeing 777-3DE (ER) to its employees adorning HB-JNA with the faces of 2,500 SWISS personnel. And it was this gesture, along with the “Truly SWISS…where people matter” communications campaign, the accompanying ‘The people behind SWISS’ film (see below), the in-house Boeing 777 Welcome Party and a range of further actions, that convinced the Employer Brand Managers Club, to bestow this prestigious award.
SWISS to take over part of SR Technics’ vocational training
SWISS has announced that it is to assume responsibility for the training of future polymechanics and automation engineers, from SR Technics in Zurich, with effect from 1st August. The move was prompted by a greater need at SWISS for specialists in these fields, as a result of the expansion of its aircraft maintenance activities at Zurich Airport. As a result, SWISS will in future conduct its own training of apprentice polymechanics and automation engineers.
The two companies have a long history of sharing the Vocational Training department, and the move is also advantageous for SR Technics, as the company continues benefitting from the future training programmes, while strengthening its global presence. SR Technics’ vocational training is one of the biggest such operations in the Zurich region, with 127 apprentices currently pursuing 11 different occupations. With its extensive infrastructure and its instructors’ skills and experience, SR Technics offers unique training facilities, and its services have been utilised by SWISS and its apprentices for many years now.