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1.7m SWISS Flyers Enjoy Summer Holidays, Despite Challenges

The summer travel season of this year presented numerous obstacles for the Swiss International Airlines (SWISS) team. Strikes, thunderstorms, and a shortage of air traffic controllers across Europe posed significant challenges to overcome.

During the summer holiday season of 2023, SWISS successfully served 1.7 million passengers. While the airline maintained a high level of reliability, with 99 percent of flights operating as planned, there were challenges in terms of delays. These delays were primarily caused by external factors like inclement weather and staff shortages at partner companies, impacting SWISS’s summer operations. Despite these challenges, SWISS remained committed to providing reliable transportation to its customers.

Swiss International Air Lines (SWISS) experienced significant challenges in maintaining smooth operations this summer. Factors such as unfavorable ‘bise’ wind conditions, strikes in various European countries, and a staff shortage, especially air traffic controllers, greatly impacted the airline’s flight schedules. SWISS operated at approximately 85 percent of its pre-pandemic capacity to ensure reliability. Despite these difficulties, the focus remained on providing stable flight services to passengers.

“We also built cushions into our system by rostering more reserve crews and providing reserve aircraft,” explains Oliver Buchhofer, SWISS’s Head of Operations. “And our actions paid off: our flight operations remained exceptionally stable throughout the summer holiday period. This had been our paramount objective, and it’s a goal we achieved.”

During the summer holiday season from mid-July to mid-August, SWISS achieved an impressive schedule stability rating of 98.9 percent. This high percentage indicates that the majority of the airline’s flights operated as planned. According to Oliver Buchhofer, SWISS was recognized as one of the most reliable airlines in Europe during this period.

1.7 million passengers carried

The summer travel season of this year presented numerous obstacles for the Swiss International Airlines (SWISS) team. Strikes, thunderstorms, and a shortage of air traffic controllers across Europe posed significant challenges to overcome.
The Swiss International Airlines (SWISS) team delivered reliable flight service despite trikes, thunderstorms, and a shortage of air traffic controllers across Europe. Source: SWISS

This year, the demand for air travel was very high throughout the summer holiday season. From mid-July to mid-August, SWISS operated 12,870 flights transporting a total of some 1.7 million passengers. The peak travel day was Friday, 28 July, with just under 60,000 SWISS travelers.

“We achieved our intermediate goal of offering our passengers flight services that were as reliable as possible,” concludes Oliver Buchhofer. “And I’m hugely grateful for the outstanding performance that our employees delivered over the past few weeks.” Buchhofer is not yet fully satisfied, however. “As a Swiss airline, we aspire to be punctual, too,” he continues. “And this is an aim that we didn’t achieve. We must improve here. And we’re already learning our lessons for summer 2024 and have already embarked on close consultations with our partners to this end.”

A positive punctuality trend

Despite its efforts to consistently provide a reliable air travel experience, SWISS experienced lower punctuality rates this summer. Slightly more than half, about 56.7 percent, of their flights arrived on time from mid-July to mid-August. Approximately 25.3 percent of the flights encountered delays exceeding 30 minutes. These delays primarily came from external factors such as adverse weather conditions, reduced capacities at Zurich Airport due to specific wind conditions, and staffing issues within European air traffic control. Nevertheless, SWISS has seen improvements in punctuality during the first weeks of August. The employees of SWISS ensure that passengers reach their destinations as scheduled. Decreased European strike actions and more stable weather conditions have helped.

SWISS encourages customers to use the SWISS App and the online SWISS Travel Briefing guide, which will help them prepare for their trip.

SWISS Key metrics for summer 2023

Metric15 July –15 August 2023 (summer holiday season)1 – 15 August 2023July 2023June 2023Definition
Passengers carried1.7 m0.8 m1.6 m1.5 mTotal number of passengers carried
Flights
operated
12,8706,04912,38911,394Total number of flights
Schedule stability98,9%99,3%98,7%98,5%Percentage of flights operated as scheduled three months before departure
Punctuality (Departure)48%53%45%54%Percentage of flights departing within 15 minutes of scheduled time of departure
Delays
(arrival)
25%22%28%22%Percentage of flights arriving more than 30 minutes after scheduled time of arrival
Connection rate96,2%97,4%95,4%96,7%Percentage of connecting passengers successfully making their connections
Baggage1.3 m0.6 m1.2 m1.0 mTotal number of checked-in pieces of baggage
Baggage regularity rate97,8%98,0%97,7%98,1%Percentage of registered baggage items carried as planned

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