Coronavirus updates

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12.02.21 Media Information: SWISS to extend minimal Geneva flight operations until 27 March

In view of the still low current booking levels, which have further declined as a result of Switzerland’s recently tightened travel restrictions, Swiss International Air Lines (SWISS) is to extend its present minimal operations from and to Geneva Airport until 27 March.

SWISS will continue to offer services between Geneva and the Lufthansa Group hubs of Zurich (with 13 weekly flights) and Frankfurt (with seven weekly flights) and thereby ensure that Western Switzerland remains connected as well as possible with SWISS’s global Zurich-based network. A further weekly flight is also planned between Geneva and Pristina.

SWISS remains fully committed to its Geneva business and operations in the longer term. Travellers affected by flight cancellations can rebook free of charge or have the price of their ticket refunded.

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10.02.21 Media Information: All SWISS fares can be rebooked free of charge until the end of May

All fares of Swiss International Air Lines (SWISS) – including the lowest Light fares with carry-on baggage only – can be rebooked free of charge as often as desired. The flexible provisions, which were introduced at the end of August 2020, were originally applicable to (re)bookings up to the end of February 2021. The offer to the customer is now being extended: all SWISS fares with tickets issued up to 31 May 2021 can be rebooked free of charge as often as desired if the rebooking is also made by then. After that, another rebooking is possible free of charge.

The abolition of the rebooking fee applies worldwide for all new bookings in all fares on short, medium and long-haul routes. However, customers may incur additional costs if, for example, the original booking class is no longer available when rebooking to a different date or to a different destination. Any difference will be compensated for by means of additional payment.

This extended regulation also applies to all tickets issued until the end of August 2020.

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08.02.21 Media Information: SWISS temporarily modifies its online check-in process in view of new PCR test requirement

Under new provisions for entering Switzerland introduced by the Swiss authorities from today (Monday 8 February), all travelers 12 years of age and older arriving in or transiting through the country must present a valid negative COVID-19 PCR test result. The result concerned must also not be more than 72 hours old at the time of departure for Switzerland, and will be verified by ground personnel at the departure airport at check-in or the gate. All travellers to Switzerland – including those transiting through the country – must also complete the Swiss authorities’ electronic form for incoming travellers (https://swissplf.admin.ch/home) before starting their journey. [1]

In the light of these new provisions, SWISS is making temporary modifications to its online check-in process. With immediate effect, customers checking in for their flight to Switzerland will not be sent their boarding pass but will receive a confirmation instead. Upon presentation of this confirmation to the check-in agent at their departure airport, they will be issued with their boarding pass, provided they meet all of Switzerland’s new entry requirements. 

The new procedure may result in longer check-in waiting times. In view of this, travellers are urged to arrive at their departure airport in good time, and also to inform themselves fully about the latest entry provisions. Further details of these for the various countries served by SWISS will be found at https://swiss.travel-regulations.com/.[2]

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15.01.21 Media Information: SWISS launches new cargo flights to Seoul and Lima

SWISS is adding two new destinations exclusively for freight shipments to the regular route network of its airfreight division Swiss WorldCargo: Seoul, South Korea, and Lima, Peru.

The first cargo flight to Seoul in South Korea will take off today, 15 January. The flight, operated by a Boeing 777-300ER, connects Zurich and Switzerland with one of Asia’s largest economic centres. A variety of products will be transported, including general cargo, spare parts, car parts, electronics and other goods. This will be followed on 19 January by the start of cargo flights to Lima in Peru. This connection is also operated with a Boeing 777-300ER and offers additional cargo capacity between Switzerland and South America. The cargo transported will focus on pharmaceutical goods, machinery and spare parts as well as perishable goods from the region, among others.

“Thanks to our freight division, we are able to adapt continuously and very flexibly to the prevailing market conditions,” says Markus Binkert, Chief Financial Officer, SWISS. “In this way, we can make a continuous economic contribution and ensure the flow of goods between Switzerland, Europe and the world. »

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23.12.20 Media Information: SWISS to resume services to UK and South Africa

Passenger flights can resume from Zurich and Geneva to the United Kingdom and South Africa from 00:00 on Thursday 24 December, the Swiss Federal Office of Civil Aviation has ruled. But the corresponding return flights to Switzerland will only be available to Swiss and Liechtenstein nationals and the holders of certain resident statuses in Switzerland and Liechtenstein.

SWISS will remain in close contact with the Swiss federal authorities to ensure smooth flight operations over the next few days. SWISS is currently operating flights to London Heathrow, London Gatwick and Manchester in the UK and to Johannesburg in South Africa. Services to these countries will resume as planned from 24 December. For further information on the applicable travel and immigration provisions, customers are asked to contact the relevant authorities.

All SWISS travellers continue to enjoy flexible rebooking options. Full details of these and more will be found at https://www.swiss.com/ch/en/various/travel-safely[3]

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21.12.20 Media Information: SWISS suspends passenger flights to and from the UK and South Africa until further notice

Due to the new epidemiological situation, the Federal Office for Civil Aviation (FOCA) has decided that as of midnight, 21 December 2020 until further notice, all passenger flights to and from the United Kingdom as well as South Africa are to be suspended. Cargo-only flights are not affected by this measure. SWISS has therefore suspended all passenger flights to the respective countries with immediate effect and until further notice. SWISS most recently served London Heathrow, London Gatwick and Manchester airports in the UK and Johannesburg in South Africa.

Customers affected by the suspended flights will be informed by SWISS. SWISS is in close contact with the responsible federal authorities on the further course of action and currently looking for solutions to transport the affected passengers to their destination as quickly as possible. Flexible rebooking options continue to apply for all SWISS passengers. They may find the respective information at https://www.swiss.com/ch/en/various/travel-safely[4]

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18.12.20 Media Information: Swiss WorldCargo successfully transports over fourteen tons of COVID-19 vaccines to São Paulo

On December 18, a SWISS aircraft arrived in São Paulo, carrying over 14 tons of finished COVID-19 vaccines. Flight LX 96 from Zurich to São Paulo had departed Zurich on the evening of December 17. Previously, the shipment had been transported from Beijing to Zurich.

The special cargo was carried in ten Envirotainer RAP-e2 containers, which kept the temperature consistently cooled within a range of 2-8 degrees Celsius. 

Together with forwarding partner PGL Brazil, Swiss WorldCargo carried out the shipment on behalf of the Brazilian Butantan institute. Upon arrival, the aircraft was welcomed by several prominent government officials, including the Governor of São Paulo, Mr. João Doria. The total shipment carried close to 2 million doses of finished COVID-19 vaccines.
 

This successful collaboration and transport further underlines Swiss WorldCargo’s long-standing expertise in complex pharmaceutical transportation.

Swiss WorldCargo

Swiss WorldCargo is the airfreight division of Swiss International Air Lines (SWISS). Headquartered at Zurich Airport, Swiss WorldCargo offers a comprehensive range of logistics solutions for transporting high-value and care-intensive consignments to some 130 destinations in over 84 countries. The extensive Swiss WorldCargo network of airfreight services is further supplemented by daily truck connections between key business centers. As a reliable and innovative service provider within the Lufthansa Group, Swiss WorldCargo is consistently committed to delivering Swiss quality to its airfreight customers, and makes a substantial contribution to SWISS’s overall profitability.

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01.12.20 Media Information: All SWISS fares rebookable free of charge until the end of February

All the fares of Swiss International Air Lines (SWISS) – including the lowest Light fares with carry-on baggage only – can currently be rebooked free of charge as much as the holder desires. The flexible provisions, which were introduced at the end of August, were originally applicable to (re)bookings up to the end of 2020. But the offer is now being extended: all SWISS fares with tickets issued up to and including 28 February 2021 can be rebooked free of charge as many times as the customer wishes between now and the end of February; and one further such free rebooking will be permitted thereafter.

The extended free-rebooking offer applies to all new bookings for short-, medium- or long-haul travel systemwide. The only additional costs that the customer may have to pay are if the original lower fare is no longer available for the new date selected, or if a new destination is chosen for which a higher fare applies. Only the difference between the two fares will then become due.

SWISS introduced a one-time free rebooking option last spring in response to the present pandemic. The new provisions offer customers optimum flexibility for their air travel plans.

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12.11.20 Media Information: SWISS operates more than 1,000 cargo-only flights since March

Since the beginning of the Coronavirus crisis in March, Swiss International Air Lines (SWISS) has operated more than 1,000 cargo-only flights, carried out by its airfreight division, Swiss WorldCargo. Over 23,000 tonnes of goods have been transported. During the months of April and May, the major commodities transported were medicines and medical supplies supporting the Swiss population and economy. Since then the focus has been on the transportation of commercial cargo. 

A number of these cargo-only flights have been charter flights in which goods are mainly transported in the cargo hold. SWISS also uses the Economy Class cabin area on its three converted Boeing 777-300 to transport cargo. Since July, however, SWISS has also transported commercial cargo items within its cabins, following the approval received from the Swiss authorities. Previously this space was limited to protective medical gear and related humanitarian goods.

SWISS currently operates regularly scheduled cargo-only flights between Zurich and Beijing, Buenos Aires, Delhi, Dubai, Johannesburg, Mumbai and Shanghai. Cargo-only flight operations between Zürich and Santiago de Chile (via Sao Paulo) will also begin shortly. Within Europe, Swiss WorldCargo continues to offer service through regularly scheduled flights and its trucking network.

In addition to its charter flights, SWISS also continues to transports cargo in the belly of its regular passenger flights which has traditionally been the main business focus for its airfreight division, Swiss WorldCargo. The long-haul network for passenger flights currently includes destinations such as Bangkok, Boston, Dubai, Chicago, Hong Kong, Johannesburg, Montreal, Newark, New York, San Francisco, Sao Paulo, Shanghai, Singapore Tel Aviv and Tokyo.

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09.11.20 Media Information: SWISS expands its insurance packages to include COVID-19 coverage with immediate effect

In addition to offering flexible rebooking options and eliminating rebooking fees, Swiss International Air Lines (SWISS) is now providing its customers with further security for their travel plans. As of now, additional Covid-19 services are included in the existing insurance packages offered by AIG. Customers can choose between two options here: “Travel Care” and “Travel Care Plus”.

The Travel Care package provides the holder with a compensatory payment if they are required to self-quarantine at their destination as a result of COVID-19 infection. The package also includes coverage if they are unable to travel or have to curtail a trip that has already begun. In addition to all these benefits, the Travel Care Plus package further covers the medical costs in the event of the holder contracting COVID-19. Any emergency medical repatriation is covered, too. All benefits are subject to the terms and conditions of the insurance policy.

These insurance options are available with immediate effect to any SWISS traveller resident in Switzerland, and may be booked with SWISS’s existing insurance partner AIG Europe S.A. via direct distribution channels. This makes SWISS one of the first airlines to offer its customers travel insurance with Covid-19 coverage as a supplement travel product.

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30.10.20 Media Information: SWISS to temporarily return Niš (Serbia) to its network

As part of its ongoing endeavours to meet the demand for air travel despite the various travel restrictions that are currently in place, SWISS is to temporarily restore service between Zurich and Niš in Southern Serbia for the Christmas and New Year season. These flights are primarily aimed at travellers wishing to visit friends and relatives over the year-end period.

Service will be provided to and from Niš on Saturday 19 December, Sunday 27 December and Saturday 2 January. The flights will be operated on SWISS’s behalf by Helvetic Airways under a wet-lease agreement. The aircraft used will be an Embraer E190-E2, which seats 110 passengers.

The flights are now available for booking.

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25.08.20 Media Information: No more rebooking fees for SWISS flights

Swiss International Air Lines (SWISS) is generally changing its ticket fare structure until the end of December. With immediate effect, all fares can be rebooked several times free of charge – including, for example, the lowest light fare without checked baggage. In response to the pandemic, SWISS had already made a one-off free of charge rebooking possible in spring. The new regulation applies worldwide to all new bookings on short, medium and long-haul routes for SWISS. SWISS is thus meeting its customers’ needs for flexible travel arrangements to an even greater extent. However, customers may incur additional costs if, for example, the original booking class is no longer available when rebooking to a different date or destination. Any difference will be compensated for by means of additional payment.

SWISS is also responding to the special needs of customers during the corona crisis and continues to offer a return flight promise on all European routes and, together with AXA Partners, a travel insurance policy for protection in the country of travel. On-site cover applies in the event of a travel warning or a significant spread of the pandemic. Travelers will be flown back to Switzerland with SWISS. The Economy Classic, Business Saver, Economy Flex and Business Flex fares include an “all-inclusive carefree package” that covers, among other things, the costs of quarantine, travel interruption, a telephone consultation before and during the trip or medical repatriation. In the “Bring me Home NOW” fare, customers are carried on the next bookable SWISS or Lufthansa Group flight if desired. These fare extensions are free of charge and have now been extended until the end of September.

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20.08.20 Media Information: SWISS commits to EASA standards for safe air travel under pandemic conditions
Swiss International Air Lines (SWISS) is firmly committed to maintaining the most rigorous standards of protection against infection worldwide. The Lufthansa Group has now signed the European Union Aviation Safety Agency’s COVID-19 Aviation Health Safety Protocol to ensure safe air travel under pandemic conditions on behalf of all its member airlines, SWISS included. In voluntarily adopting the protocol and its standards, The Airline of Switzerland is further underlining that in these pandemic times, too, it is the safety of its passengers and employees that is its paramount priority.

The COVID-19 Aviation Health Safety Protocol is a set of guidelines that have been jointly developed by the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC). Working with all the former’s member states, EASA and the ECDC have devised the strictest regulations on the COVID-19 issue of any international association worldwide. The protocol establishes unified standards that reduce complexity, ensure reliability and provide additional health safety.

“We have continuously expanded our health safety precautions for our guests and our employees, in the air and on the ground, over the past few months,” says SWISS CEO Thomas Klühr. “With the support of the EASA protocol, we are now further committing ourselves to the most rigorous aviation health safety standards. And we are convinced that, in doing so, we are helping to make air travel even safer in these challenging times.”

As a member of the Lufthansa Group, SWISS has been closely involved in the creation of the new EASA protocol together with the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and Airlines for Europe (A4E), and has made a particular contribution from a practical flight operations perspective. Many of the protocol’s key standards – such as on the wearing of facemasks, cabin air filtering, enhanced cabin air circulation (in the air and on the ground), intensified cabin cleaning, personal protection measures, promoting digital contact tracing and physical distancing on the ground and when embarking and deplaning – have been extensively based on input from SWISS and the Lufthansa Group. Further protective measures are also being adopted, such as the distribution to all passengers of disinfectant wipes. These actions are further complemented by generous rebooking options. SWISS is also in a close and constructive dialogue with all the relevant authorities in all its activities on these various fronts.

To strengthen customer confidence in flying as a safe mode of transport, SWISS and the Lufthansa Group will now be working to ensure that further states, airlines and airports around the world adopt the EASA protocol and its provisions, to help standardize aviation health safety precautions as much as possible and make a successful contribution to tackling the present pandemic.

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17.08.20 Media Information: SWISS’s response to today’s Economic Stabilisation Fund approval of a Swiss loan facility
SWISS and Edelweiss welcome today’s decision by the Economic Stabilisation Fund of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy to approve the CHF 1.5 billion bank loan facility for SWISS and Edelweiss, 85% of which is guaranteed by the Swiss Confederation.

“We are very grateful that the financial support which we have been assured of by the Swiss Confederation will now be provided in the form of these loans,” says Thomas Klühr, CEO of SWISS. “This support will enable SWISS and Edelweiss to negotiate the present crisis, which has been caused by factors beyond our industry’s control, and to continue to gradually resume our flight operations as we have been doing since 15 June.”

All such loan amounts will be subject to interest at market rates, and should be repaid as swiftly as possible.

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23.07.20 Media Information: SWISS to reactivate the refund functionalities in all reservation systems for travel agencies
On 27 July 2020 SWISS will reactivate the refund functionalities in all reservation systems (GDS) for travel agencies. The underlying reason for this is that a considerable part of the older refund applications from our travel agency partners and individual customers has already been paid out. Furthermore, the mechanisms for automated refunds have been adapted to avoid possible fraud. «With the reactivation of the refund functionalities we will be able to further increase the speed at which refunds are being processed», says SWISS CCO Tamur Goudarzi Pour. This means that the more recent refund applications, including those of our individual customers, will be processed with further reduced waiting times. The aim is to process all refund requests received in June by the end of August.

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06.07.20 Media Information: SWISS makes face masks compulsory on board with immediate effect
The Swiss authorities have now made the wearing of face masks compulsory on all public transport. In view of this, and although Swiss aircraft are not explicitly mentioned in the new rules, SWISS has decided to make it compulsory to wear face masks aboard its aircraft with immediate effect and until further notice. Specifically, passengers are required to wear a face mask during boarding, while in the air and until fully disembarked. SWISS recommends the use of general fabric masks or medical-grade protective masks. Children under 6 years of age are not required to wear a mask, nor are persons who cannot wear a mask on medical grounds. Passengers are requested to bring their own masks: a small number of masks are available on board for emergencies.

The strong recommendation to wear a mask in effect since 4 May has already been well received and extensively followed by SWISS passengers.

The obligation to wear a face mask will be incorporated in the General Terms & Conditions. 

The risk of contracting COVID-19 aboard an aircraft remains low. Not a single case of such infection has been recorded on any SWISS flight since the pandemic began. All SWISS aircraft are equipped with sophisticated air filters which ensure that the quality of the air in the cabin is comparable to that of a hospital operating theatre. Aircraft cabin air is also circulated vertically instead of the length of the cabin. The air in the cabin is completely renewed every 2 to 3 minutes.

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29.06.20 Media Information: SWISS publishes its schedules to 24 October
SWISS today published its flight schedules up until 24 October, the end of the summer timetable period. The Airline of Switzerland will continue to steadily expand its range of services from both Zurich and Geneva over the next few weeks and months. As well as resuming service to more network destinations, the airline will be intensifying its frequencies on routes already restored in both its short-haul and its long-haul networks.

SWISS aims to return its production to 40 per cent of the volume envisaged in its originally published schedules by the end of October. This amounts to some 1,400 weekly departures, which should serve around 85 per cent of the previous SWISS worldwide route network to offer customers a wide range of air travel options. 

Twelve further European destinations will be returned to SWISS’s Zurich-based network in July, including Bilbao and Alicante (Spain), Venice (Italy), Cork (Ireland) and Oslo (Norway). Services will also be substantially increased on routes that were restored in June between Zurich and Germany (Berlin, Hamburg and Sylt/Westerland), Portugal (Lisbon and Porto), France (Nice), Serbia (Belgrade), Ireland (Dublin) and Austria (Vienna).

SWISS’s Geneva-based network will see the restoration of 24 further points in Europe that include several attractive Southern European tourist destinations: Corfu, Heraklion, Kalamata, Kos, Mykonos, Thessaloniki and Zakynthos in Greece; Brindisi, Catania, Florence and Olbia in Italy; and Alicante, Menorca and Valencia in Spain. Frequencies will also be added to the already-restored services between Geneva and Athens (Greece), Faro, Lisbon and Porto (Portugal), Frankfurt (Germany) and Pristina (Kosovo).

Services will also resume on the Zurich-Geneva route. Twelve weekly frequencies are planned here for July and August, rising to 21 in September and October. The services will give Geneva-based travellers seamless connections in Zurich to numerous intercontinental destinations. SWISS is also reinstating its services to São Paulo (Brazil), Shanghai (China), Montreal (Canada) and Tel Aviv (Israel) from July onwards. The SWISS Zurich long-haul network will thus comprise 13 destinations in July, which is set to rise to 18 by October.

All the restored destinations and additional flights are already available in SWISS’s booking systems. SWISS will continue to closely monitor all further developments in immigration provisions around the world, and will make any adjustments needed to its schedules in the light thereof.

Flexible rebooking option

Anyone booking a flight in the next few weeks can do so without any worries. Passengers who wish to change their travel date can make a one-time, toll-free rebooking for the same route and the same class of travel. This rule applies to tickets booked up to and including 31 August 2020 and with a confirmed travel date up to and including 30 April 2021. The rebooking must be made before the originally planned start of travel.

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25.06.20 Media Information: SWISS’s response to today’s decision of the Lufthansa Extraordinary General Meeting
SWISS and Edelweiss welcome the decision by Lufthansa’s shareholders at today’s Extraordinary General Meeting to approve the corporate actions proposed and required. The company’s liquidity has thereby been secured. The next steps will now be coordinated with the Lufthansa Group and the relevant bodies and authorities. And following this, the first loans will be issued to SWISS. Says SWISS CEO Thomas Klühr: “Today’s decision by Lufthansa’s shareholders gives us the sound planning foundation we need to continue to resume our flight operations and ensure Switzerland’s connections with the world.”

SWISS will decline from further comment on the above at the present time.

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17.06.20 Media Information: SWISS offers customers guaranteed return travel 
In addition to its existing flexible rebooking options, Swiss International Air Lines (SWISS) is to give its customers the further security of a guaranteed return flight on all its European routes. The return flight guarantee, which will be offered to all customers regardless of their fare or seating class, means that customers will be flown back to Switzerland, Germany or Austria by the airlines of the Lufthansa Group.

In addition, the Economy Classic and Business Saver fares on European routes will be extended in cooperation with the AXA Partners insurance by additional attractive guarantee components free of charge to form an «all-round carefree package». In case, travelers are not allowed to enter the country of destination, due to high temperatures for example, or if a quarantine at the destination becomes necessary after a coronavirus test, the insurance will cover the costs of the quarantine or medical return transport. In addition, in cooperation with AXA, the fare offers the opportunity to make use of a medical consultation by telephone and to talk to a doctor via video call. Additional hotel costs due to possible quarantine or transport costs are also covered, for example if the return flight departs from another airport in the holiday country. Even cancellation costs for unused hotel stays and excursions are reimbursed.

SWISS’s Economy and Business Flex fares for European routes are also being enhanced through the provision of a «Bring me Home Now» option under which customers will be will be guaranteed to be flown home as quickly as possible with the airlines of the Lufthansa Group. On request, they will be carried on the next bookable Lufthansa Group flight and returned to Switzerland, Germany or Austria. The associated rebooking onto an earlier flight will be entirely free of charge, with no rebooking fee and no fare difference to pay.

These further additions to the current fare provisions will be available from 25 June 2020 to the end of August 2020 via all SWISS direct distribution channels, and will be applicable to all trips with a return date up to and including 31 January 2021. The associated fares will also remain unchanged. The additional benefits and guarantees are being offered at no additional costs for the customer.

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04.06.20 Media Information: SWISS to further expand its flight schedules
SWISS will be gradually expanding its route network over the coming weeks and months. In accordance with the entry requirements of the countries concerned, around one third of the present flight volume and around 85% of all destinations served before the Corona crisis should be offered again this autumn.

As the airline of Switzerland, SWISS is committed to offering the widest possible range of services during this ramp-up phase. The initial focus will be on connections to various European destinations from Zurich and Geneva. These include all major European cities such as Amsterdam (Netherlands), Brussels (Belgium), London (UK), Madrid (Spain), Milan (Italy), Paris (France), Rome (Italy), Stockholm (Sweden), Warsaw (Poland), Vienna (Austria) and attractive tourist destinations including Bilbao (Spain), Brindisi (Italy), Cork (Ireland), Malta (Malta), Porto (Portugal), Palermo (Italy), Palma de Mallorca (Spain), Sylt (Germany), Valencia (Spain), Venice (Italy) and many more.

Further destinations are also being added to the intercontinental route network. Changes and additions to the flight schedule will be published in the booking systems as soon as possible. The further expansion of the flight schedules will take place step by step, following the needs of the customers.

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28.05.20 Joint media release Zurich Airport and SWISS: Zurich Airport partners adopt joint measures to ensure safe travel 
Today, Zurich Airport and its partners adopt joint measures to ensure safe travel and have presented these at a joint press conference.

Please find the press release from Zurich Airport here: Link.[5]

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18.05.20 Media Information: SWISS extends free rebooking period
SWISS is even more responsive to their customers when it comes to rebooking. Anyone booking a flight in the next few weeks can do so without any worries.

Passengers who wish to change their travel date can make a one-time, toll-free rebooking for the same route and the same class of travel.

The trip can also be postponed to the second half of 2021, so that nothing stands in the way of a relaxing summer holiday or attending an event on the new date next year. The new travel date must be before 31 December 2021.

This rule applies to tickets booked up to and including 30 June 2020 and with a confirmed travel date up to and including 30 April 2021. The rebooking must be made before the originally planned start of travel.

Previously, if a rebooking was made, the new trip had to start by 30 April 2021. This period has now been extended. SWISS is thus responding to the wish of many customers to be able to make their travel plans more flexible due to the current exceptional circumstances.

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15.05.20 Media Information: SWISS to add new intercontinental destinations to its cargo-only network
Since the end of March, SWISS and its Swiss WorldCargo division have operated more than 200 cargo-only flights, transporting over 4,000 tonnes of cargo between Asia and Switzerland. Most of the goods transported included medicines and medical supplies to support Switzerland and its population.

By including further intercontinental destinations to the SWISS route network, the company’s airfreight division, Swiss WorldCargo, can expand its services and, as of 15 May, will also offer frequent flights to Hong Kong (twice weekly), New York JFK (four times weekly) Johannesburg (weekly, performed initially by Edelweiss as cargo-only flight and from June by SWISS) and Mumbai (thrice weekly). At the end of June, another 160 cargo flights are expected to be carried out on behalf of various private companies and public institutions. These will include the first-ever services to destinations such as Toronto and Shenzhen. The first of four such flights from Zurich to Toronto was conducted on 12 May, and ten cargo-only flights will be operated to Shenzhen from 22 May onwards. All these services will be performed with Boeing 777-300ER aircraft.

In addition, preparatory work is underway for the conversion of 4 Boeing 777-300ER. The Economy Class seats would be removed in order to increase the cargo volume on the aircraft.

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14.05.20 Media Information: SWISS publishes June timetable
SWISS will partially restart its flight operations in June and plans to operate up to 190 flights from Zurich and Geneva to 41 European destinations. The ramp-up will follow in stages, and the range of flights available will gradually be increased over the weeks ahead.

SWISS will resume services to various Mediterranean destinations, including Malaga, Barcelona, Madrid and Valencia in Spain and Brindisi, Florence, Naples and Rome in Italy. Connections to Scandinavia are also being increased with flights to Gothenburg in Sweden and Copenhagen in Denmark. SWISS will also be adding further major European destinations to its programme, such as Paris (France), Brussels (Belgium) and Moscow (Russia). The existing services to Amsterdam (Netherlands), Athens (Greece), Berlin (Germany), Lisbon (Portugal), London (UK), Porto (Portugal) and Stockholm (Sweden) will be expanded.

SWISS will also be offering its long-haul customers new intercontinental direct connections in June, in addition to its three weekly services to New York / Newark (USA). The airline of Switzerland plans to offer flights from Zurich to New York JFK (4 times weekly), Chicago (twice weekly), Singapore (once weekly), Bangkok (once weekly), Tokyo (twice weekly), Mumbai (three times weekly), Hong Kong (twice weekly) and Johannesburg (once weekly). Swiss WorldCargo, SWISS’s air cargo division, will carry additional cargo on these flights to support the global supply chains. The flight times of the intercontinental connections have thus been adjusted to ensure that passengers with connecting flights enjoy optimised connection possibilities.

SWISS plans to further expand its services over the summer months, and will do so closely in line with the travel needs and preferences of the Swiss population. SWISS will continue to monitor closely the development of travel restrictions worldwide.

The timetable for June is published on www.swiss.com[6].

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08.05.20 Media Information: SWISS to increase its capacity in June
In the coming days and weeks, entry requirements of various European countries will be gradually open. This leads to an increased demand for air travel. SWISS therefore plans to substantially expand its services with the June timetable, in line with the respective entry requirements. “We plan to resume around 15-20% of our original services in June, and are very pleased to be able to offer Switzerland greater connections to the world,” says SWISS CEO Thomas Klühr. SWISS plans to operate approximately 140 weekly flights from Zurich to 30 destinations in Europe, and approximately 40 weekly flights from Geneva to 14 destinations in Europe. The airline will still serve the three weekly long-haul flights to Newark in the USA, further intercontinental destinations will be added in June. In addition, SWISS and its Swiss WorldCargo division will continue to operate their cargo-only flights to various destinations globally.

The changes and additions to the June timetable will be published shortly in all the booking systems. The expansion of the flight schedules is taking place step by step, following the needs of the customers. 

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06.05.20 Media Information: SWISS and Edelweiss welcome Swiss parliament’s support
Swiss International Air Lines (SWISS) and Edelweiss are pleased and thankful that both chambers of the Swiss Federal Assembly – the National Council and the Council of States – have approved by clear majorities the guarantee credit to help Swiss air transport cope with the consequences of the current coronavirus crisis. “We see this support from the Swiss Federal Assembly as a confirmation that the majority of the people of Switzerland are also behind us and believe in us,” says Reto Francioni, Chairman of the SWISS Board of Directors. “Which makes it all the more of a commitment for us to secure our company’s future.”

The two airlines will meet the requirements of the Federal Council’s climate protection goals and the measures in the event of any workforce resizing for restructuring reasons. SWISS and Edelweiss welcome the clear distinction that the Swiss parliament has made between the actions required for Swiss aviation to master the current crisis and Switzerland’s broader climate policy. If there is no European solution to the issue of reimbursement, SWISS and Edelweiss will fulfil the condition and reimburse the travel agencies after September 30, 2020 for the money the two airlines received for flights which did not take place because of the Corona crisis.

The two chambers of the Federal Assembly have also laid the legal foundation and approved the corresponding credit facilities for supporting aviation-associated businesses in Switzerland if necessary. These businesses and their operations are also essential to the provision of safe and reliable Swiss air transport services. In taking these decisions, the Federal Assembly has underlined its appreciation of the importance of air transport to the Swiss economy and its desire to maintain this key systemic function beyond the present crisis. “SWISS and Edelweiss are grateful for this clear affirmation,” says Thomas Klühr, CEO of SWISS and Chairman of the Edelweiss Board of Directors. “And we view it as an impulse and an incentive to reconnect the Swiss economy, politics, society and the Swiss tourism sector with the world’s prime commercial centres and leisure destinations as promptly as we can.”

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05.05.20 Media InformationSWISS operates a charter flight between Porto and Geneva in support of Geneva’s wine growing industry
On behalf of Agri Genève, SWISS operated a charter flight between Porto and Geneva. The aircraft landed in Geneva on Monday, May 4 at 5:31pm. On board of the A220-300, 141 workers arrived as reinforcement to provide valuable assistance with the work in the vineyards due at this time of year.

Between June and July, three more flights are planned, this time as regular flights from Lisbon and Porto. Since April SWISS will then have operated a total of four scheduled flights and one charter flight, and will have carried 363 workers.

Lorenzo Stoll, SWISS’s Head of Western Switzerland, says: «This is the first charter flight SWISS has operated in support of Geneva’s wine-growers. In these exceptional times, it is essential for us to continue to connect Switzerland to the world within the bounds of our possibilities and to make our contribution to the local economy».

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29.04.20 Media Information: SWISS on today’s government decision
SWISS and Edelweiss are grateful for the Federal Council’s decision to provide Swiss aviation with the necessary liquidity to survive the impact of the corona crisis. With a bank loan of CHF 1.5 billion, 85% guaranteed by the government and subject to strict conditions, support from Lufthansa, the parent company, and drastic savings measures already adopted by SWISS and Edelweiss, the liquidity required for both airlines should be assured. SWISS and Edelweiss welcome the fact that the financial support negotiated at short notice with the Swiss government and the bank consortium can now be presented to the Federal Assembly for approval. The loan, which will also benefit airline-related operations, would allow the gradual restoration of vital passenger and cargo links between Switzerland and the rest of the world, so important in terms of the national economy.

SWISS will not be commenting further on this matter at the present time.

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29.04.20 Media Information: SWISS recommends wearing a mouth-nose face covering on board for protection against SARS CoV2 transmission
With effect from Monday, 4 May 2020, all SWISS passengers will be asked to bring their own mouth-nose face covering to wear on board all flights. The airline also advises use of a face covering at the airport before or after flights, whenever sufficient social distancing cannot be adequately observed. Despite adjustments to procedures, social distancing is not always possible, and this measure provides an additional layer of protection against SARS CoV2 transmission for everyone.

SWISS is guided in this by the official positions adopted in numerous European countries where mouth-nose face coverings are now mandatory in public.

The recommended covering is a simple disposable mask (surgical mask), although any other type of covering such as reusable homemade fabric masks are also acceptable. SWISS will inform passengers of the new recommendation by SMS or email, and also via its company websites.

The recommendation will initially apply until 31 August 2020.

The current rule whereby every second seat in Economy Class is kept vacant will no longer apply as sufficient protection is afforded by mouth-nose face coverings. The likelihood of infection by the coronavirus while travelling by air remains low: there are no known cases of infection on board SWISS flights since the outbreak of the pandemic. All SWISS aircraft are equipped with high-performance air filters to guarantee air quality of the same standard as in an operating theatre and ensure vertical air circulation instead diffusion in the cabin.

SWISS is in close contact with the relevant authorities to ensure the best possible protection for passengers and crews.

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29.04.20 Media Information: SWISS’ minimum timetable remains in force until 31 May 2020
In view of the continuing travel restrictions, SWISS will initially extend its minimum timetable until May 31.

SWISS will continue to serve the European cities of London (LHR), Amsterdam, Berlin, Lisbon, Stockholm, Porto and Athens from Zurich, and will operate three weekly long-haul flights to New York / Newark (USA). SWISS will continue to serve London (LHR), Athens, Lisbon and Porto from Geneva.

SWISS will thus offer 28 weekly flights, which represents some 3 per cent of the originally planned flight programme. SWISS continues to do everything in its power to fulfil its mandate and maintain a minimum level of air transport connectivity between Switzerland and the world despite the challenging operating environment.

Passengers whose flight has been cancelled, or who were unable to travel, may keep their ticket and book a new departure date – latest 30 April 2021 – and possibly a new destination, before 31 August 2020. Passengers who book to fly before or on 31 December 2020 will also receive a discount of CHF 50 in the form of a flight voucher which can be downloaded online from swiss.com.

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28.04.20 Media Information: SWISS performs cargo flights for the Swiss Red Cross
SWISS has conducted a total of seven charter cargo flights from Shanghai (China) to Switzerland on behalf of the Swiss Red Cross. The flights, which brought medical equipment and testing materials to Switzerland, were performed with the close support of the company’s Swiss WorldCargo division.

In total, the flights brought in over 20 million protective facemasks and 300 000 protective overalls. The flights were performed with Airbus A340 and Boeing 777 aircraft. To make maximum use of the space available, the cargo was carried not only in the hold but also in the passenger cabin.

Markus Binkert, SWISS CFO and member of the Management Board responsible for the cargo division, comments: “On cargo flights operated on behalf of the Swiss Red Cross we brought urgently required medical supplies to Switzerland. We are delighted to be able to support Switzerland and the population in these times”.

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27.04.20 Media Information: SWISS to expand its cargo services and reconfigure three Boeing 777s into cargo aircraft
SWISS and its Swiss WorldCargo division have performed more than 80 cargo-only flights since the end of March, transporting over 1,300 tonnes of airfreight between Asia and Switzerland. The cargoes concerned have consisted mainly of medicines and medical supplies and equipment for the Swiss healthcare system.

SWISS plans to operate over 100 further cargo flights on behalf of various private and public entities between now and the end of May. The Airline of Switzerland will also introduce a new network of cargo-only services offering regular cargo flights between Zurich and Shanghai (up to three times daily), Beijing (up to twice daily), Chicago and Tokyo (twice weekly) as well as Bangkok and Singapore (weekly). Further destinations are expected to be added to the new network over the next few weeks.

In a further development, SWISS is considering to remove the Economy Class seating from three of its twelve Boeing 777-300ER aircraft to meet the growing demand for air cargo capacity. More than 800 seats would be deinstalled at Zurich airport for this purpose. The modifications would help ensure consistent and regular goods deliveries and thereby help keep Switzerland optimally connected with the world in the difficult present conditions – particularly for the provision of medical and humanitarian supplies to and from the country.

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22.04.20 Media Information: SWISS operates its first cargo-only flight from Shanghai to Geneva
On behalf of Geneva University Hospital (HUG) and the Canton of Geneva, SWISS transported medical supplies from China to Switzerland, supported by its Swiss WorldCargo airfreight division. This operation was conducted in collaboration with Swiss Centers China. It was SWISS’s first cargo-only flight to Geneva.

The Boeing 777 carried syringes and several million surgical masks. On this cargo-only flight no passengers were carried, the material was transported in the aircraft’s cargo hold and passenger cabin. The flight from Shanghai landed at Geneva airport at 7:45pm on 21 April.

Conversely, goods were transported from Switzerland to China on behalf of other partners in the interests of the Swiss export economy and the worldwide movement of goods.

To date, SWISS has already operated approximately 30 cargo flights from Shanghai, Beijing and Hong Kong to Switzerland. Further cargo flights to and from China and other countries are being planned to ensure the functioning of supply chains between Switzerland and the world.

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16.04.20 Media Information: SWISS extends minimum timetable to 17 May 2020
Due to continuing travel restrictions, SWISS has decided to extend its minimum timetable to 17 May for the time being. Besides a significantly reduced schedule for short and medium-haul routes serving selected European destinations from Zurich and Geneva, SWISS will continue to operate three long-haul flights per week to New York / Newark (USA).

Passengers whose flight has been cancelled, or who were unable to travel, may keep their ticket and book a new departure date – latest 30 April 2021 – and possibly a new destination, before 31 August 2020. Passengers who book to fly before or on 31 December 2020 will also receive a discount of CHF 50 in the form of a flight voucher which can be downloaded online from swiss.com

In addition, SWISS is working with the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (EDA) to repatriate Swiss nationals from all over the world. Dedicated cargo flights are also in operation to ensure delivery of urgently required medical goods and continuing air transport for the highly networked international Swiss economy.

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08.04.20 Media information: SWISS’s response to the decision of the Swiss Federal Council
SWISS welcomes today’s decision by the Swiss Federal Council to provide Swiss aviation with liquidity if necessary to overcome the effects of the present coronavirus crisis. The decision ensures that SWISS can continue to keep Switzerland connected with the world with its advanced aircraft fleet in passenger and cargo terms. In doing so, SWISS will continue to align its flight services to the needs of Switzerland’s economy, politics, tourism and society.

SWISS shares the Federal Council’s view that the company must first do everything in its power to safeguard its liquidity. SWISS is being supported in these endeavours by its parent company Lufthansa, which is already providing financial resources. Since the length of the crisis and the corresponding financial needs cannot currently be foreseen, however, this subsidiary support from the Swiss Confederation gives SWISS the security of being able to survive even a lengthier crisis and the ability to gradually prepare for the resumption of its flight operations.

SWISS will not be commenting further on this matter at the present time.

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08.04.20 Media information: SWISS donates one tonne of Easter chocolates to healthcare providers
Hundreds of Easter bunnies and chocolate eggs which would normally have found their way to SWISS guests on board our aircraft – as in past years – will go to new homes this year.

In the wake of the corona situation, SWISS has decided to donate more than a tonne of Easter chocolates to various healthcare providers in the Zurich region and western Switzerland. The donation provides a way for Switzerland’s airline to thank healthcare staff for their invaluable efforts during the current crisis.

SWISS wishes everyone a happy Easter.

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06.04.20 Media information: SWISS to perform more than ten cargo flights for Swiss healthcare institutions
SWISS is to perform a series of flights bringing vital protective medical equipment from China to Switzerland. The operation, which is extensively supported by the company’s Swiss WorldCargo airfreight division, is being conducted on behalf of the Zurich Cantonal Pharmacy and in collaboration with knechtcare / Welti-Furrer (the Knecht Group) and Männedorf Hospital. 

Under the operation, more than ten cargo-only SWISS Airbus A340 flights will be performed this month from Mainland China, bringing over 35 million personal protection items for the use of healthcare personnel including protective suits, medical gloves, safety goggles and breathing masks. All in all, the transports will amount to over 200 tonnes.

No passengers will be transported on these flights. They will only carry cargo, loaded in both the hold and the passenger cabin. The first such flight arrived from Shanghai in Zurich at 17:54 on Sunday 5 April.

SWISS is also working with further partners to transport cargo from Switzerland to China which is of key importance to the Swiss export sector and to global goods flows.

SWISS operated two cargo-only flights to Zurich from Hong Kong and Shanghai as well as one such flight from Beijing so far. Further SWISS cargo flights to and from China are being planned, to continue to maintain the supply chains between Switzerland and the world.

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03.04.20 Media information: SWISS gives its customers even more booking flexibility
SWISS is making a major change to its ticket fare provisions. With immediate effect, all SWISS tickets are now rebookable in all fare classes, including Light fares with only carry-on baggage. The new provisions apply to new bookings on all services systemwide. For tickets purchased in the USA and Canada, they will apply from Wednesday 8 April. In adopting the new provisions, SWISS is seeking to offer its customers as much flexibility as possible in their future travel plans, given the exceptional circumstances of the current coronavirus situation.

Independently of these new fare provisions, customers who have their SWISS flight cancelled or are otherwise unable to take it can keep their original booking, provided this was made on or before 19 April 2020. In such cases, the customer need not yet commit to a new travel date: their ticket will remain fully valid, and can be used at a later date to book a new flight with a departure date up to and including 30 April 2021. If they do so by the end of 2020, they will also enjoy a rebooking discount of CHF 50.

Rebookings can be made via SWISS Customer Services, on swiss.com or through a travel agent. Tickets may also be exchanged for SWISS flight vouchers online at swiss.com. An automated online voucher redemption function is also being developed and should be available soon.

If the price of the rebooked flight is higher than that of the original booking – owing to a change of destination (e.g. short-haul to long-haul), a change of seating class or similar – an additional amount may still be payable, despite the discount offered.

SWISS’s Customer Services are still receiving exceptionally high volumes of inquiries in view of the current situation. SWISS continues to work to increase its capacities here. But long waits may still be experienced in both call answering and inquiry processing terms. We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience.

26.03.20 Media information: SWISS to perform first repatriation flight from Santiago (Chile) on FDFA’s behalf

SWISS is to operate its first flight to Santiago (Chile), as part of SWISS and Edelweiss’s support of the unprecedented repatriation programme that has been initiated by the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA).

The outbound Boeing 777 flight is expected to depart from Zurich on Friday 27 March. The return flight from Santiago will arrive on Sunday 29 March with up to 330 passengers on board. The aim of the flight is to bring Swiss travelers blocked abroad back to Switzerland. Further repatriation flights by SWISS and Edelweiss on the FDFA’s behalf are being planned, with a particular focus on destinations in Latin America, Asia, Oceania and Africa.

Any persons who are interested in taking such a repatriation flight because they have been unable, despite their best efforts, to arrange their own transport home should contact their local Swiss diplomatic representation. The FDFA also urges all Swiss nationals abroad seeking to return home to Switzerland to register their contact details and desired travel as soon as possible on the corresponding FDFA Travel Admin app.

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