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SWISS - Switzerland's New Airline

Switzerland has its new airline. The first plane in the new livery and the brand concept were unveiled at the 31st of January on a media conference in Basle, Switzerland. We have collected the most important facts and pictures for you.


Celebrate Swissness

The new company will be called "Swiss Air Lines Ltd.", but will use SWISS as its trade mark. André Dosé, Chief Executive Officer of Crossair and of the new airline, said that there were two decisive factors in the choice of name. “The new airline is a unique instance in Swiss post-war history, of a collective alliance of politics, industry and the people of Switzerland. It will be the qualities, which have made our country great, on which we are banking in the building up of our new airline”. These are reliability, friendliness, safety, elegance and perfect service characterised by innovation, coupled with a multi-cultural cosmopolitan attitude.

The new brand concept and its visual appearance has been created by Tyler Brûlé's Wink Media. Wink Media of London won the contract in an international competition to create the brand of the new Swiss inter-continental airline. “A brand is more than a logo”, Brûlé said, at the media briefing in Basel it is a set of distinct traits built on a solid foundation. The brand shows who we are, what we do, how we think, what our traditions are and where we want to go”. For the Canadian, resident in London and Switzerland, who has been a Swissair fan for years and who can regularly be seen here, it was evident from the start that the new airline should inscribe “Swissness” on its banner. “Swiss quality values were not attributed solely to Crossair and Swissair. They are accepted shorthand for excellence around the world. “It is on these values”, said Brûlé, “that we are building what will be the most respected airline in the world”.

The livery of the aircrafts will look as following. The word swiss will be painted on the fuselage, followed by "schweiz, suisse, svizzera, svizra", what means Switzerland in the four official Swiss languages. Furthermore, the planes will have two red squares on the engines, with the word "swiss" in one and "Swiss Air Lines Ltd." in the other one. The tail will be painted with the Swiss cross - as it was at Swissair. But the red area will be smaller, with white strips on top and on the bottom of the tail. One the MD-11, the third engine on top of the fuselage will be complete white. The winglets will also be painted with the Swiss cross.

Some people say, that the aircraft are looking like ambulance jets. A lot of people - including me awaited a bit more colours. But overall, the livery is very clear, clean and also noble. And much more important than the livery is the product of the new airline.

Create the world’s most respected airline

Swiss Air Lines Ltd. wants to become the world's top airline in terms of passenger service. Both, Swissair and Crossair were already well known as top-service carriers. And SWISS will even improve the products of the former companies. To reach that goal, the airline will make massive investments into the improvements of the First-, Business- and even Economy class. The company will launch its new brand and products by the end of march and implement them until end of December 2002.

To create the world’s most respected airline will not be that easy. Companies like Emirates, Singapore, Cathay Pacific and others are today's carriers with the best service - according passenger enquiries. To beat them, the new Swiss airline has a lot of work to do - but it will become very interesting to see what innovative new services they will offer to win the customers!

A strong fleet as a backbone

The new airline is taking over 52 medium- and long-haul aircraft from Swissair to its existing fleet what makes a total of 128 planes. Crossair's fleet includes 28 Saab 2000, 19 Avro RJ (85/100), 22 Embraer 145 and 7 MD-83 for charter service. The airline will additionally get 26 aircraft of the Airbus A320 Family (A319/320/321), 13 Airbus A330 and 13 MD-11 to serve the intercontinental destinations. Starting this year, the airline will also take delivery of its first Embraer 170, the new backbone of the short-haul fleet for small airports.

The MD-11 will only have a short play in the SWISS fleet. 13 Airbus A340-300 are on order, with deliveries start as early as 2003. The A340 will become the new backbone of the long haul fleet. The airline was evaluating the factory-new A340s as well as other options, like the Boeing 777 or the purchase of used A340s, which had been used by Singapore Airlines.

Timetable & Alliances

SWISS will start services to 123 destinations in 60 countries, with the start of the Summer timetable on March 31. The Summer timetable shows few changes from the current Winter timetable. In Europe, 86 destinations will be served in 34 countries. The international route network covers 37 destinations in 26 countries, including Switzerland. Compared with last year’s Crossair and Swissair Summer timetables, the offer has been reduced by about 30%, in line with the business plan. The optimisation of flight operations led to a reduced joint route network in early October 2001, whereby services to ten intercontinental and twelve European destinations were discontinued. The Crossair route network had previously been reduced in the 2001 Summer timetable.

The own network is an important issue. But the company cannot survive with strong partners - worldwide. A strong alliance with American Airlines has already been announced, with the goal to become a full member of the oneworld-alliance, which is also including British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Qantas, Aer Lingus, Finnair, American Airlines and other airlines.

Most analysts think, that Oneworld would almost be the perfect alliance for Swiss Air Lines Ltd. Especially American Airlines (AA) could have a strong interest in a new European member after their joint venture plan with British Airways has been cancelled. Swissair did already code share with AA on North Atlantic routes and Switzerland does already have an open-sky agreement with the USA, what is an important base for a strong partnership between two carriers. The decision about the alliance strategy of the new airline should be published within the next weeks, according to earlier statements of the airline's management.

Michael Meier

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