Swiss Reveals Geneva Winter Network Growth

Swiss International Air Lines has outlined plans to expand its network from Geneva during the winter 2013/2014 schedule as part of a plan to align its local business product even more closely to the needs of customers in Western Switzerland and adjacent French border areas.  This will also see the introduction of a new fare structure from September 1, 2013 with new ‘Geneva Economy Flex’ and ‘Geneva Economy Light’ pricing options that introduces one-way ticket purchases.

The route growth will see Swiss add a further six markets to its network from Geneva this autumn with a four times weekly link to Stockholm Arlanda, three times weekly services to London Gatwick and Oslo and twice weekly flights to Belgrade, Gothenburg and Marrakech.  The airline will also turn its existing summer only flights to Malaga, Palma de Mallorca and Porto into year-round operations.

The additions will enlarge the Swiss Geneva-based network to 24 destinations, which will be served by a nine-aircraft fleet.  “Our expanded network with its attractive destinations will be even better tailored to the needs of our customers in the Geneva region,” said Rainer Hiltebrand, Chief Operating Officer, Swiss International Air Lines and the man who is in overall charge of the development of the company’s Geneva operations.

Swiss is also expanding its organisation in Geneva to further strengthen its local presence and profile.  Additional business development and marketing communications personnel have been recruited; and Swiss is further creating a local cabin crew base for 150 new flight attendants and training of these new crew members is due to begin in October, according to Hiltebrand with the Geneva expansion being supported from Zurich until the new crew base is up to full strength.

“We aim to continue to meet our customers’ wishes and demands to the very best of our abilities.  In adopting this fare concept for our Geneva services, we’re really taking an innovative new path in our pricing policy.  And by offering these tailored products, we should be able to align our services even more closely to the needs of our regional francophone market,” said Hiltebrand. 

The new Geneva services will be launched from mid-December, with the exception of the Marrakech service which begins on November 1, 2013.  Some of the flights are currently only available for winter operation, while others will see a reduction in capacity in summer 2014. 

Swiss will directly compete with easyJet on the routes to London (a market it already serves from Geneva with flights to Heathrow), Marrakech and Stockholm, while SAS Scandinavian Airlines and British Airways will add to the competition on the links to Stockholm and London Gatwick, respectively.  The Swiss national carrier will also face direct competition from low-cost carrier on the route to Oslo, but will be the sole provider of flights to Belgrade and Gothenburg.  Archive schedule data shows that the Serbian capital has not been served from Geneva for at least the last ten years, while Gothenburg was previously served by Malmö Aviation for limited winter schedules in 2007/2008, 2008/2009 and 2010/2011.

Swiss is currently the second largest carrier at its home market airport behind easyJet.  Looking at this month’s flight schedule the pan-European low-cost carrier accounts for 34.9 per cent of the capacity with available seats up 10.0 per cent on the same month last year.  Meanwhile, Swiss has a 17.1 per cent share of the total capacity with available seats down 6.7 per cent versus July 2012. 

In the table below we highlight the annual capacity of Swiss at Geneva Airport since 2005 and its overall share of the available seats from the airport.  Our analysis shows that Swiss has been clawing back marketshare at the airport over the past couple of years after increasing annual capacity by 29.3 per cent in 2011 and 11.1 per cent in 2012.  Although its share of the market has been on the rise it reached as low as 12.8 per cent in 2006, it is still below the figure of plus 20 per cent recorded in 2004.

SCHEDULED AIR CAPACITY OF SWISS INTERNATIONAL AIR LINES FROM GENEVA AIRPORT (non-stop departures)

Year

Available Seats

% Annual Change

Marketshare

Change in %age

2012

1,698,473

11.1 %

17.7

0.9 pp

2011

1,528,326

29.3 %

16.8

3.0 pp

2010

1,182,293

5.2 %

13.8

(-0.1) pp

2009

1,123,611

(-1.1) %

13.9

0.2 pp

2008

1,136,523

12.1 %

13.7

0.6 pp

2007

1,013,477

14.0 %

13.1

0.3 pp

2006

889,395

(-13.6) %

12.8

(-2.8) pp

2005

1,029,056

(-19.1) %

15.6

(-4.9) pp