CHF 5,033 million in 2012, a 2% increase on the previous year (2011: CHF 4,927
million). But with the market environment still difficult, operating profit for the year
fell 31% to CHF 212 million (2011: CHF 306 million). The CHF 27 million operating
profit for the fourth quarter of 2012 was, however, an improvement on the CHF 18
million of the prior-year period. SWISS has also announced that its Airbus A340
fleet will be phased out from 2016 onwards. To this end, orders have been placed
with Boeing for six Boeing B777-300ER aircraft.
Swiss International Air Lines generated total income from operating activities of CHF
5,033 million for 2012, a 2% increase on the CHF 4,927 million of the previous year.
Annual operating profit declined 31%, however, to CHF 212 million. SWISS achieved an
operating profit of CHF 27 million for the 2012 fourth-quarter period, a CHF 9 million
improvement on the CHF 18 million of October-to-December 2011. “We continue to face
strong business headwinds,” said CEO Harry Hohmeister commenting on the results.
“But we did take a number of actions in the course of last year to improve our earnings
In response to the trends, SWISS has defined various future-oriented initiatives (SCORE)
companywide to effect long-term structural improvements to its earnings capability. Some
64 of more than 120 actions defined so far made a significant contribution to SWISS’s
earnings in 2012, and further such improvements are expected to have an impact of
similar dimensions on 2013 earnings results. “Given the recent changes we have seen in
our business and operating parameters, we must make these additional efforts if we are
to retain our ability to fund our future investments,” Hohmeister emphasizes.
Airbus A340 fleet to be replaced with six Boeing B777-300ERs
SWISS will begin replacing its present long-haul aircraft fleet from 2016 onwards. To this
end, orders have been placed for six Boeing B777-300ER aircraft. The decision to opt for
Boeing’s successful 777 was taken after extensive evaluations. The six firm orders
represent a total investment of more than CHF 1.5 billion.
The new Boeing twinjets will be deployed on SWISS’s ultra-long-range routes to
destinations such as San Francisco, Los Angeles, São Paulo, Bangkok, Hong Kong,
Shanghai, Beijing, Johannesburg and Singapore.
The Boeing B777-300ER incorporates proven sophisticated technology. The aircraft is
extremely reliable, offers high cabin comfort levels and seats over 330. It also boasts perseat fuel and CO2 savings of 23% over the A340.
“The Boeing B777-300ER has the ideal size and range to meet our Swiss market needs,”
says CEO Harry Hohmeister. “And with many of our competitors already operating aircraft
with over 300 seats on the routes concerned, this further investment in an advanced
aircraft fleet is a landmark decision that is crucial to retaining our competitive edge.” The
777 is already in service elsewhere within the Lufthansa Group, too – at Austrian Airlines
and, as of autumn 2013, it will be in use at Lufthansa Cargo.
Higher fourth-quarter earnings
SWISS’s total income from operating activities for the fourth quarter of 2012 amounted to
CHF 1,219 million – virtually unchanged from the CHF 1,220 million of the prior-year
period. Operating profit for the period rose 50%, from the CHF 18 million of the previous
year to CHF 27 million. The fourth quarter of 2011 was, however, SWISS’s weakest in
financial performance terms since its corporate restructuring of 2006.
Overall fourth-quarter capacity was 4% up on the prior-year period (down 0.4% in Europe
and up 6.3% on the intercontinental network). SWISS operated a total of 36,757 flights,
1.2% fewer than a year before. Despite this, passenger numbers rose 0.2%, from 3.75
million to 3.76 million. Systemwide seat load factor amounted to 81.2%, an improvement
of 0.3 percentage points. Seat load factor was unchanged for Europe at 72.5% and saw a
slight 0.2-point increase to 85.4% for intercontinental routes. Capacity at Swiss
WorldCargo was raised by a full 18.5% for the quarter. Cargo load factor (by volume)
stood at 80.9%, an improvement of 1.6 percentage points.
Further records in passenger volumes and seat load factor
Once again, SWISS set a new Swiss aviation record in 2012 for the annual number of
passengers carried. Some 15,816,469 customers travelled with the airline, 3.3% more
than the previous year (2011: 15,317,275 passengers). Annual capacity was increased
4.7% in available-seat-kilometre (ASK) terms, while total traffic volume in revenue
passenger-kilometres (RPK) was raised 6.1%. Seat load factor rose accordingly by 1.1
percentage points to 82.9%, another record value. A total of 150,860 flights were
operated systemwide, a slight 0.5% increase on the previous year (2011: 150,131 flights).
On the intercontinental network ASK capacity was increased 5.8%, while RPK traffic
volume rose 7.5%. The seat load factor of 87.1% was a 1.4-percentage-point
improvement on the previous year. ASK capacity on SWISS’s European network was
raised 2.4% for the year, while RPK traffic volume increased by 3%. Seat load factor rose
0.4 percentage points to 74.7%.
On the airfreight front, Swiss WorldCargo raised its total cargo tonne-kilometres for the
year by 3%. Cargo load factor (by volume) stood at 79.3%, a 0.8-percentage-point
improvement on 2011.
Product and service enhancements
As a quality airline, SWISS is constantly reappraising and further expanding its range of
products and services. Activities here in 2012 included the introduction of a new baggage
collection service under which – for a fee – departing travellers can have their bags
picked up from their home. In response to the growing popularity of booking online,
SWISS also expanded the range of functions and facilities on its swiss.com website in the
course of the year. As a result, online customers can now reserve their flight at a
guaranteed fare for up to 72 hours. A new seat selection option is now also available to
customers booking online. And in addition to the “classic” out-and-back journey,
customers can now use swiss.com to book “open-jaw” flights or itineraries with stopovers
More jobs created in 2012 and new Singapore service for 2013
A total of 8,067 persons were employed by SWISS at the end of 2012 (2011: 7,644), or
6,790 in full-time-equivalent terms (2011: 6,326 FTEs). SWISS thus created around 460
new full-time positions in the course of the year. The company will continue to make
securing jobs one of its prime priorities. The opening of the new Zurich-Singapore route
alone in May 2013 will add some 150 positions to SWISS’s cockpit and cabin crew corps,
along with further ground personnel. The new route will be operated daily from 12 May
with an Airbus A340-300 seating 219 passengers in a three-class cabin configuration.
The new non-stop service offers sizeable potential for both business and leisure travel
and for cargo business, too. Advance bookings have been encouraging to date and in
line with expectations. In adding its eighth destination in Asia, SWISS is continuing its
long-term investment in the region.
SWISS expects to see further high passenger volumes in 2013, and for the first two
months these have been above expectations. The competitive environment remains
tough, however; and, given the current global economic uncertainties, the company’s
management anticipates another challenging business year. In view of the above, the
company will continue to systematically devise actions companywide to generate
additional revenues and further optimize costs. If business parameters remain constant
the operating result for 2013 is likely to be similar to that of the previous year.
Swiss Media Release