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A Sample Feature From Aviation News

Swiss Names and Planes

A YEAR on from the official start of operations, Swiss is fighting to regain the position left by the collapse of Swissair in the wake of September 11, 2001. The new chapter in Switzerland’s civil aviation history began on March 31 last year and its first 12 months have not been easy.

A striking view of a Swiss MD-11 against an Alpine background

Above: A striking view of a Swiss MD-11 against an Alpine background. Swissair acquired 16 of these tri-jets between March 1991 and December 1997 plus a further four ex-LTU aircraft. The fleet will gradually be withdrawn as the A340s arrive. (All photos, Swiss).

Like many of the world’s airlines, Swiss has had to contend with weak markets and disappointing yields with the result that in November it announced a modest reduction in personnel of 300 people with a freeze on recruitment, the phasing out of service of five aircraft and a rescheduling of its 30 Embraer 170 deliveries to begin in August/September this year (the Brazilian manufacturer is already behind in the test programme for this aircraft and a delivery date delay is probably a welcome move, given that Crossair, ala Swiss, is the launch customer for the type). These decisions are all aimed at turning round a loss of £192m in its first six months, although this included a one-off, start-up cost.

However, it was never going to be easy to establish a ‘new’ airline in such difficult times and if it hadn’t been for the business acumen of the regional airline, Crossair, which formed the nucleus of the new company, its existence might have been despairingly short. As it is, under former Crossair CEO, André Dosé, the new airline is fighting to achieve profitability by the end of 2003 and on recent performance, it just might achieve it.

Currently in the later stages of flight-test prior to certification, the Embraer 170 was launched in June 1999 with an order from Crossair for up to 160 aircraft.

Above: Currently in the later stages of flight-test prior to certification, the Embraer 170 was launched in June 1999 with an order from Crossair for up to 160 aircraft. First delivery is expected during the summer to Swiss.

Swissair to Swiss

Swissair, the country’s national carrier and leader of the Qualiflier alliance, ceased all operations on October 2, 2001, having run out of money to pay for fuel. Urgently needing some form of a replacement carrier, Swissair subsidiary Crossair was brought in to serve the suspended European routes, adding these to its own network. Following long and detailed discussions with a number of Swiss companies, the Government managed to secure Swissair’s operations to the end of March 2002, with a £1.7bn aid package. Under the terms of a restructuring plan, 52 ex-Swissair aircraft (13 MD-11s, 20 A320s, six A321s and 13 A330s) were to join Crossair’s 81, the company becoming Swiss Air Lines and to fly under the brand name, Swiss. The official corporate title became Swiss International Air Lines on July 1, 2002.

The new company commenced operations with services to 120 destinations in 60 countries from its main international base at Zürich and from EuroAirport Basel Mulhouse Freiburg, traditional home of Crossair. Incorporating Swissair’s international routes and adding some to Crossair’s existing European network, today the new airline has only marginally reduced the number of destinations to 117 in 59 countries. They are served with a fleet of 132 aircraft – 13 Boeing MD-11s, 13 Airbus A330s, nine McDonnell Douglas MD-83s, 15 Avro RJ100s, four RJ85s, 29 Saab 2000s, 26 Airbus A319/320/321s, and 25 Embraer ERJ-145s. Current plans call for the MD-11s, which have a capacity for up to 241 passengers, to be replaced by 228-seat A340-300s, for which an order for 13 was signed on May 28, 2002, with the first due for delivery in June 2003. Despite fewer seats, the A340s are expected to be more profitable in the longer term with reduced noise and emissions producing a more environmentally friendly aircraft.

Route development has seen a number of changes as Swiss tries to maximise on its more profitable services. The average load factor over the first six months of operations was 66%, but only 55% on the UK routes. Despite this disappointing figure, over the winter period the airline has been offering 43 daily flights between the UK and Switzerland with additional ski flights on Saturdays from London Heathrow to Sion. On the international front, the airline has switched its Zürich-Johannesburg service to a night flight to appeal to those who want an extra day in South Africa and its flights to Cairo have increased from five per week to six. Swiss has formed a partnership with American Airlines and plans to become a member of the oneworld alliance towards the end of 2003.

Unusual among the world’s airlines, Swiss has issued a complete listing of all its aircraft, including those on order such as the A340s and Embraer 170s. Each aircraft carries the name of a mountain in Switzerland on the nose and the details are included here with, for interest, the height of each mountain.

The Embraer ERJ-145 has been a success story for Crossair and now Swiss, providing jet comfort and speed over routes formerly flown by turboprop Saab 340s.

Above: The Embraer ERJ-145 has been a success story for Crossair and now Swiss, providing jet comfort and speed over routes formerly flown by turboprop Saab 340s. The aircraft in the picture is the 600th 135/145 to be built and was delivered to Swiss in June 2002.

Swiss Fleet List

Aircraft carry names of mountains in Switzerland (the heights are noted on the right).

Airbus A319-112
HB-IPR Clariden 3267m
HB-IPS Piz Morteratsch 3751m
HB-IPT Les Ordons 995m
HB-IPU Schrattenflue 2092m
HB-IPV Mont Racine 1439m
HB-IPX Rotsandnollen 2700m
HB-IPY Schafnase 2011m

Airbus A320-214
HB-IJI Crez du Van 1463m
HB-IJJ Ruchstock 2812m
HB-IJK Wissigstock 2887m
HB-IJL Pizol 2844m
HB-IJM Randen 900m
HB-IJN Hasenmatt 1445m
HB-IJO Grisset 2721m
HB-IJP Nollen 733m
HB-IJQ Basòdino 3274m
HB-IJR Dammastock 3630m
HB-IJS Les Diablerets 3210m
HB-IJU Bietschhorn 3934m
HB-IJV Wildspitz 1580m
HB-IJW Bachtel 1115m
HB-IJX Heitersberg 787m
HB-IJY Lisengrat 2346m
HB-IJZ Grenzchopf 2193m
Charter 2003 Agassizhorn 3953m
Charter 2003 Vanil Noir 2389m

Airbus A321-111
HB-IOA Eiger 3970m
HB-IOB Blauen 837m
HB-IOC St Chrischona 522m
HB-IOH Kaiseregg 2185m
HB-IOI Bifertenstock 3421m
HB-IOJ Piz Palü 3901m
HB-IOK Les Sommêtres 1079m
HB-IOL Brätterstock 2115m

Airbus A330-223
HB-IQA Aletschhorn 4195m
HB-IQB Strahlhorn 4190m
HB-IQC Breithorn 4164m
HB-IQD Jungfrau 4158m
HB-IQE Bishorn 4153m
HB-IQF Mönch 4099m
HB-IQG Pollux 4092m
HB-IQH Obergabelhorn 4063m
HB-IQI Piz Bernina 4049m
HB-IQJ Lauteraarhorn 4042m
HB-IQK Allalinhorn 4027m
HB-1QO Weissmies 4023m
HB-IQP Lagginhorn 4010m

Airbus A340-300 (Delivery 2003 to 2004)
HB-JMA Matterhorn 4477m
HB-JMB Dufourspitze 4634m
HB-JMC Zumsteinspitze 4563m
HB-JMD Signalkuppe 4554m
HB-JME Dom 4545m
HB-JMF Liskamm 4527m
HB-JMG Weisshorn 4506m
HB-JMH Parrotspitze 4432m
HB-JMI Dent Blanche 4357m
HB-JMJ Nadelhorn 4327m
HB-JMK Lenzspitze 4294m
HB-JML Finsteraahorn 4274m
HB-JMM Castor 4228m

Avro RJ85
HB-IXF Kärpf 2794m
HB-IXG Piz Julier 3380m
HB-IXH Montchaibeux 627m
HB-IXK Lindenberg 878m

Avro RJ100
HB-IYW Brisen 2404m
HB-IYX Titlis 3238m
HB-IYY Spitzmeilen 2501m
HB-IYZ Hohe Winde 1204m
HB-IXN Silberen 2319m
HB-IXO Ottenberg 681m
HB-IXP Corno Gries 2969m
HB-IXQ Stucklistock 3308m
HB-IXR Tour d’Aï 2331m
HB-IXS Mont Vélan 3731m
HB-IXT Pfannenstie l853m
HB-IXU Chestenberg 647m
HB-IXV Saxer First 2151m
HB-IXW Balmhorn 3699m
HB-IXX Schafarnisch 2107m

Boeing MD-11
HB-IWA Zinalrothorn 4221m
HB-IWB Castor 4228m
HB-IWC Finsteraahorn 4274m
HB-IWD Lenzspitze 4294m
HB-IWE Nadelhorn 4327m
HB-IWI Dent Blanche 4357m
HB-IWK Parrotspitze 4432m
HB-IWL Weisshorn 4506m
HB-IWM Liskamm 4527m
HB-IWN Dom 4545m
HB-IWO Signalkuppe 4554m
HB-IWP Zumsteinspitze 4563m
HB-IWQ Dufourspitze 4634m

Embraer ERJ-145
HB-JAA Nünalphorn 2385m
HB-JAB Hochstollen 2481m
HB-JAC Hochfinsler 2421m
HB-JAD Belchenflue 1099m
HB-JAE Druesberg 2282m
HB-JAF Cristallina 2912m
HB-JAG Furkahorn 3169m
HB-JAH Châtillon 2478m
HB-JAI Corbassière 3716m
HB-JAJ Albishorn 909m
HB-JAK Staffelegg 621m
HB-JAL Nadlenspitz 2030m
HB-JAM Silberhorn 3695m
HB-JAN Schopfenspitz 2104m
HB-JAO Zwölfihorn 2744m
HB-JAP Piz d’Err 3378m
HB-JAQ Mont Renaud 506m
HB-JAR Schibengütsch 2037m
HB-JAS Ochsenhorn 2343m
HB-JAT Arnihaaggen 2207m
HB-JAU Rotrüfner 2462m
HB-JAV Geissflue 1102m
HB-JAW Märenspitz 2280m
HB-JAX Pizzo del Sole 2773m
HB-JAY Gemsstock 2961m

McDonnell Douglas MD-83
HB-ISX Ringelspitz 3247m
HB-ISZ Wannenberg 661m
HB-IUG Rigi 1798m
HB-IUH Seerücken 719m
HB-IUM Pizzo Rotondo 3192m
HB-IUN Schlossberg 3133m
HB-IUO Grand Muveran 3051m
HB-IUP Grande Lui 3509m

Above: One of the 13 Airbus A330-223s in Swiss service.

Embraer 170-100 (Phase-in mid-2003 to 2006)
HB-JCA Bettmerhorn 2857m
HB-JCB Wasserflue 844m
HB-JCC Hoher Kasten 1795m
HB-JCD Säntis 2503m
HB-JCE Gurten 858m
HB-JCF Schleifenberg 614m
HB-JCG Spalenberg 272m
HB-JCH La Berra 1719m
HB-JCI Mont Salève 1375m
HB-JCJ Tödi 3614m
HB-JCK Calanda 2806m
HB-JCL Le Béridier 687m
HB-JCM Pilatus 2120m
HB-JCN Chaumont 1180m
HB-JCO Stanserhorn 1899m
HB-JCP Glaubenberg 1543m
HB-JCQ Rosenberg 743m
HB-JCR Munot 430m
HB-JCS Weissenstein 1284m
HB-JCT Grosser Mythen 1899m
HB-JCU Stälibuck 653m
HB-JCV Castelgrande 277m
HB-JCW Uri-Rotstock 2928m
HB-JCX Tourbillon 658m
HB-JCY La Dôle 1677m
HB-JCZ Zugerberg 1039m
HB-JDA Uetliberg 871m
HB-JDB Herzberg 751m
HB-JDC Altmann 2436m
HB-JDD Hochalp 1530m

Embraer 195-200 (Phase-in spring 2003 to 2006)
HB-JGA Baarburg 683m
HB-JGB Hörnli 1133m
HB-JGC Homberg 782m
HB-JGD Fälentürm 2224m
HB-JGE Gäbris 1251m
HB-JGF Oberaarhorn 3637m
HB-JGG Dent de Lys 2014m
HB-JGH Piz Segnas 3099m
HB-JGI Piz Kesch 3418m
HB-JGJ Faux d’Enson 927m
HB-JGK Schafmatt 1979m
HB-JGL Huetstock 2676m
HB-JGM Schiben 2670m
HB-JGN Vättnerchopf 2618m
HB-JGO Grenchenberg 1405m
HB-JGP Chaiserstock 2515m
HB-JGQ Imenberg 707m
HB-JGR Pizzo Lucendro 2963m
HB-JGS Galenstock 3583m
HB-JGT Dent Favre 2917m
HB-JGU Blinnenhorn 3374m
HB-JGV Lägeren 866m
HB-JGW Gisliflue 774m
HB-JGX Hundstein 2156m
HB-JGY Wetterhorn 3701m
HB-JGZ Tsermon 2140m
HB-JHA Piz Sardona 3056m
HB-JHB Rheinwaldhorn 3402m
HB-JHC Mont Terri 804m
HB-JHD Widderfeld 2075m

Saab 2000
HB-IYA Le Moléson 2002m
HB-IYB Ruchen 2901m
HB-IYC Pizzo Badile 3308m
HB-IYD Stierenberg 872m
HB-IYE Tomlishorn 2129m
HB-IYF Astelhorn 2086m
HB-IYG Churfirsten 2306m
HB-IYH Born 719m
HB-IYZ Doldenhorn 3643m
HB-IZA L’Argentine 2422m
HB-IZB Rosablanche 3336m
HB-IZC Höhronen 1229m
HB-IZD Bözberg 569m
HB-IZE Rot Turm 2002m
HB-IZF Blüemlisalp 3663m
HB-IZG Chörblispitz 2102m
HB-IZH Vrenelisgärtli 2904m
HB-IZI Piz Buin 3312m
HB-IZJ Bürgenstock 1128m
HB-IZK Schwalmis 2246m
HB-IZL Bonistock 2169m
HB-IZM Alvier 2343m
HB-IZN Passwang 1204m
HB-IZO Fronalpstock 1922m
HB-IZR Pizzo Barone 2864m
HB-IZV Windgällen 3187m
HB-IZW Le Chamossaire 2113m
HB-IZX Monte Leone 3553m
HB-IZY Kronberg 1663m