Swiss eyes codeshares as Aussies embrace new route

Swiss eyes codeshares as Aussies embrace new route
By admin

Swiss International Air Lines has reiterated its commitment to striking codeshare deals into Australia, but stated it will first focus on bedding down its new service between Zurich and Singapore.

The carrier reported strong forward bookings for the daily non-stop A340 services which will launch on May 12, four years after the carrier last served Singapore, via Bangkok.

Anil Rodricks, Swiss Australia manager, told Travel Today the "first priority" is to establish the new product in the market.

"You first have to start operating," he said. "They [codeshares] are still very much a part of our development plan, but for the past 10 years we've run a very successful business without codeshares."

He confirmed any eventual agreements would be forged with Star Alliance partners.

Meanwhile, Australia is in the top three markets for the new route, with demand from a number of global Swiss businesses with an Australian presence a major driver for the route's reintroduction.

While business travellers currently account for only 10% of the airline's Australian sales, Rodricks revealed it hopes to grow that to 25% by the end of next year.

"Singapore is an important APAC office for a number of Swiss companies," he said. "And Singapore is an attractive hassle free hub with a high level of appeal for corporate traffic."

Meanwhile, Arved Von Zur Muehlen, the airline's new managing director intercontinental markets, confirmed the carrier would make an announcement in the coming weeks regarding a new order for its long-haul fleet.

It is weighing up A340-600s, B777s and A350-1000s.

"Whatever aircraft we invest in means we have an increase in capacity on the long haul sector and that is the sector where we are very profitable," he said.

Swiss saw growth of 15% from the Australian market in 2012, with Muehlen attributing much of the increase to combined efforts with Swiss Tourism.

"We are clearly somewhere below the big players, being offline in this market, but we are very happy with last year's performance," he said.

Muehlen insisted the airline continues to operate independently of owner Lufthansa, although it also benefits from the economies of scale through its ownership by the German flag carrier. He stressed no merger of the Lufthansa brands is on the cards.

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