|Swiss speaks to EX-YU Aviation News on upcoming expansion in the region|
Swiss International Air Lines will undertake an aggressive expansion in the former Yugoslavia this summer with new flights from Zurich to Ljubljana (daily), Zagreb (daily) and Sarajevo (three per week). Furthermore, it will introduce two weekly services from Geneva to Skopje and Sarajevo and seasonal flights from Zurich to Podgorica, which will be operated through its subsidiary Edelweiss Air. Speaking to EX-YU Aviation News, the Swiss carrier says the expansion is not in response to increased competition in the region from the likes of Air Serbia, but rather, comes as a result of increased demand for flights to Switzerland from the former Yugoslavia. “We focus on our customer’s needs from and to Switzerland. The growth is based on our market analysis that identified a great demand for the Balkan area”, Swiss spokeswoman, Karin Muller, tells EX-YU Aviation. She adds, “The former Yugoslav market is very interesting for Swiss, as there is a big community from the Balkan area living in Switzerland. Therefore, there is a high demand for flights to these countries”.
Swiss International will shake up the market and bring direct competition to the national carriers of Croatia, Slovenia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. The airline will resume flights to Zagreb for the first time in years and go head to head against its Star Alliance partner Croatia Airlines, which will lose its monopoly on the route. The Croatian carrier offers double daily flights between the two cities with both a morning and afternoon departure on its 76-seat turboprop aircraft. It will compete against Swiss’ morning and afternoon service, depending on the day of departure, operated by a 97-seat Avro RJ100 jet, which will be progressively replaced by the 121-seat Bombardier CS100 aircraft starting this year. Adria Airways faces a similar scenario on the route, with its double daily service competing against its Star Alliance partner. In 2013, Adria carried 85.000 passengers between Ljubljana and Zurich, making it the fourth busiest route from the Slovenian capital. Meanwhile, in Sarajevo, B&H Airlines' Zurich service, operated with a turboprop ATR 72 via Banja Luka, will compete against three weekly nonstop flights run with a jet engine aircraft. In addition to these flights, Swiss will also offer swift connections for transit passengers to the United States and Canada.
Swiss says it is too soon to assess the success of its new routes based on early bookings. “In general, we do not comment on our booking figures in detail. Though for the summer season, it is still too early to give a first estimate”, Ms. Muller says. She adds, “The Balkan area is an important and big market for Swiss. The expansion is part of our ‘HUB+’ initiative which is based on 24 new destinations within Europe in a point-to-point system together with our sister-carrier Edelweiss”. During the upcoming summer season, Swiss will maintain double daily flights from Zurich to Belgrade and continue operating flights from Geneva to the Serbian capital. In addition, it will operate flights from Geneva to Pristina and run seasonal services to Split. Finally, Edelweiss will maintain flights from Zurich to both Skopje and Pristina next summer season.
|Zurich - Ljubljana||MAR 29||Click here|
|Geneva - Skopje||APR 04||Click here|
|Geneva -Sarajevo||APR 04||Click here|
|Zurich - Zagreb||APR 15||Click here|
|Zurich - Sarajevo||MAY 01||Click here|
|Zurich - Podgorica||JUL 05||Click here|