Swiss International Air Lines (SWISS) (LX) and Boeing are celebrating the delivery of the airline’s first Boeing 777-300ER (Extended Range) on January 29, 2016.
Swiss International Air Lines (SWISS)
Experience The Skies first reported SWISS’ purchase of nine Boeing 777-300ERs back in July 2015 (news) as part of its fleet renewal program.
Aircraft HB-JNA was delivered from Boeing’s Everett Delivery Center located in Everett, USA (PAE) to Zurich Airport (ZRH). The flight number LX7771 was specifically used to commemorate the occasion.
The flight took 9 hours 54 minutes and travelled non-stop for 4,545 nautical miles (8,418 kilometers).
“The delivery of our first flagship marks a new era in Switzerland’s aviation history,” said Harry Hohmeister, CEO of SWISS. “As of today, our customers will enjoy a new dimension of air travel experience.”
“We are honored that a carrier as prestigious as SWISS is now our newest Boeing 777 operator,” said Boeing Commercial Airplanes President and CEO Ray Conner. “The 777-300ER will provide SWISS’ network with greatly improved efficiencies and it’s a great source of pride for everyone at Boeing that the carrier will utilize this outstanding airplane as its flagship.”
The 777-300ER plays an important role for both SWISS and Boeing. Formed in 2002, the airline has been an all Airbus carrier. When the airline was looking to replace the older A330-300s and A340-300s, the 777-300ER was the best option.
The new aircraft has a lower operating cost and a higher range than its replacements. The higher range allows SWISS to start operations to destinations not available previously.
Additionally, the new aircraft can carry upwards to 55% more passengers. This would be very useful for SWISS to expand market presence by upgauging on routes like ZRH to New York JFK International Airport (JFK) rather than increase frequency.
What about A380-800?
Some may ask why the airline did not consider the Airbus A380-800. The list price for this aircraft is higher than the 777-300ER. Although the unit cost may be lower per passenger, SWISS may not have the passenger demand to fill the aircraft on many routes. Additionally, the A380-800 does not have as much cargo capacity as the 777-300ER.
SWISS configured its 777-300ER in three classes (First, Business and Economy). All classes have the latest upgrades as shown in the video below. Food will continue to play an important role as part of the SWISS service tradition as
Aircrafts will be delivered between now to 2018 with the next two (HB-JNB and HB-JNC) already in production.
Wireless internet connectivity will be introduced for the first time onboard a SWISS flight.
Passengers who only want to check their e-mails or visit a few websites will be able to buy different data packages:
- 20 MB for 9CHF (approx. €8 or US$8.9).
- 50 MB for 19CHF (approx. €17 or US$18.8)
- 120 MB for 39CHF (approx. €35 or US$38.5)
- First class passengers will get 50MB of data for free.
The airline will monitor usage and adjust pricing in the future. It is also considering options to expand internet options for its older long haul fleet.
Passengers on its flights will also be able to make phone calls or send SMS messages via mobile phone roaming services. Usage would be restricted when the cabin lights are turned off for night flights.
The airline will use the aircraft on its first long haul mission with 4x weekly service from ZRH to JFK on February 21, 2016.[easy_countdowner name=”demo_countdowner” theme=”default” animation=”smooth” end_date=”2016-02-21″ end_time=”00:00:00″ day_label=”Days” hour_label=”Hours” minute_label=”Minutes” second_label=”Seconds” day_color=”#60686F” hour_color=”#60686F” minute_color=”#60686F” second_color=”#60686F” circle_bg_color=”#E2E2E2″]
The plane will switch over to the ZRH – Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport (YUL) route on March 27, 2016.
With delivery for more aircrafts in 2016 and beyond, the airline likely deploy them to Hong Kong (HKG), Bangkok (BKK), Los Angeles (LAX), San Francisco (SFO), São Paulo Guarulhos (GRU) and Tel Aviv (TLV).
In between its long haul flights, SWISS will use the 777-300ER on short haul European routes between February to August 2016 (check the updated schedule here).
If the Boeing 777-300ER is proven to be a good performer for SWISS, the airline will likely order more of the same or upgrade to the 777X.
Outgoing SWISS CEO Harry Hohmeister told Airport Transport World, “During 2016, we will decide the future for the remaining A340-300s. [We will decide] if we will renovate some aircraft, because they are relatively young, or replace them. I personally hope that we will order more 777s.”