SWISS International Air Lines is the successor of the no longer existing Swissair. Swissair despite being the flag carrier of the small nation of Switzerland, had a good amount of success in the ’80s and ’90s. However in the latter years of the ’90s some poor strategic decisions brought to the beginning of the airline’s downfall. The last straw was September 11th and its aftermath. The airline wasn’t able to overcome the issues and hurdles of the new world and eventually went out of business. It was March 31st 2002 when the airline finally shut down all operations. Shortly afterwards SWISS International Air Lines was created and taken over by the Lufthansa Group. So with a bit of background set let’s take a deep dive into SWISS’s fleet and operations.
SWISS’s Role in The Lufthansa Group
Before analysing the SWISS fleet let’s lay down some more context. Among the Lufthansa controlled airlines SWISS is the one with the highest status and service level. You can picture the airline sitting one step below the main brand and carrier, Lufthansa.
Despite being the flag carrier of a small country as Switzerland it owns quite a large and well structured fleet. SWISS owns and operates an 85 aircraft fleet. Among these 85 planes there is a significant presence of long range capable jets, which all feature a first class cabin. Another signal of how the airline has been developed to provide an elite experience to premium travellers. Within the Lufthansa Group SWISS is the only carrier, Lufthansa aside, to offer first class.
In terms of operations SWISS works as a complementary airline to Lufthansa along with serving the extremely lucrative high finance sector of Switzerland.
With all of that out of the way we’re now ready to better understand how the SWISS fleet is structured and how the planes are utilised. As is the case with other fleet analyses I’ll split it in 2. First I’ll take a look at the short range fleet and then at the wide body long range fleet.
The LX Short Range Fleet
SWISS has an almost Airbus exclusive fleet. The only Boeing produced planes present are in the long range part of the operations. We’ll take a look at those further down in this post.
As for the short range fleet, the airline owns and operates 3 different aircraft types in 7 variants. All of these plane are configured with an all Economy Class cabin which is then split into two travel classes. Business class is nothing other than a regular seat with the central seat blocked. Specifically SWISS’s short range fleet is structured as follows:
- 4 A320neo
- 10 A320-200
- 3 A321neo
- 3 A321-100
- 3 A321-200
- 9 A220-100
- 22 A220-300
All these planes operate exclusively short range flights in Europe and neighbouring regions. The airline doesn’t own any LR capable or configured A321neo planes at the moment.
The SWISS Long Range Fleet
The long range fleet, is made up of only wide body planes. This part of the LX fleet also features Boeing planes. Currently 3 aircraft types are present and used by the airline with a fourth that will join in a couple of years time. Specifically the airline owns and operates:
All of these jets are premium cabin heavy. All of SWISS’s long range fleet features first class cabin along with Business and Economy. All planes, except the A340s, also feature premium economy. However soon the A340s will also feature this travel class as they are in the process of being retrofitted.
Soon the Swiss fleet will further evolve with the arrival of the Airbus A350-900. These planes will start joining the carrier’s fleet in 2025 and will progressively replace the A340-300. Currently the plan is for 5 A350s to join LX which would translate to a small expansion of the airline’s long range fleet.