On Monday, 6 October 2014 Swiss International Air Lines gave a press conference to announce some ‘major product enhancements’. The carrier will be introducing a new meal concept on European flights and squeezing yet more seats into its short-haul fleet by reducing galley size in the back of the bus and by using a new type of seat.
Of course all of this is not really quite as earth shattering as SWISS will have us believe. Probably the more important announcement that was made at the press conference regards the introduction of what SWISS refers to as its ‘Next Generation of Switzerland’ strategy, which foresees the introduction of 22 new routes starting with the summer schedule of 2015. According to the press release, the new strategy and routes will supplement the carrier’s traditional hub concept.
22 New destinations is quite substantial, particularly given that SWISS has been gradually downsizing capacity on its short-haul network by taking out of service some of the Airbus A 319s and replacing them, partly, with smaller aircraft. So in the sum of all things, the carrier’s new point-to-point strategy may not necessarily supplement but eventually replace the hub concept.
Is this a smart move? Admittedly, there’s hardly any money to be made with connecting passengers these days. Particularly for a carrier like Swiss International Air Lines, which only has a very limited long-haul network. On the other hand, in the long run it is highly questionable if SWISS will be able to fill its wide-bodies with passengers travelling to and from Zürich only.