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SWISS airline to make 80 changes in bid to avoid summer delays

SWISS airline to make 80 changes in bid to avoid summer delays
A Boeing 777 plane from Swiss airline takes off at the Zurich airport, on January 18, 2023. Photo: Sebastien Bozon / AFP

The airline Swiss has introduced over 80 new measures to avoid delays this summer, after a difficult 2023.

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The changes come after the airline admitted that only 57 percent of SWISS flights departed on time in May and June of 2023. 

Further embarrassment came when the Swiss carrier ranked 48 behind budget airlines Easyjet and Wiztair in the 2023 Airhelp Score.

Preparations for the summer holidays. include the hiring of more than 2,000 ground staff and customer service staff after shortfalls caused by the coronavirus pandemic, with many on hand to deal with complaints - an area that was highlighted in the Airhelp results. 

An improved baggage system at Zurich airport and new weather forecasting systems are further changes the airline hopes will avoid delays. 

In the future, passengers will also be able to use the SWISS mobile phone app to be notified about compensation and lost luggage. 

“We have made our preparations", Oliver Buchhofer, SWISS’s COO told Blick. 

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Unique challenges

Switzerland's position and geography make it a challenging space for airlines to operate. 

The alpine topography of the country and the associated weather patterns generated means flight corridors are highly trafficked and can be easily shut down by severe weather. 

READ MORE: SWISS airline expands its US-bound flights and ups frequency

Adverse conditions are not something to risk - there have been 29 air crashes causing 445 fatalities since records began, according to the Aviation Safety Network. 

The country's location also makes delays more likely. At the very heart of Europe, there are hundreds of flights crossing the country's airspace, with Zurich airport connected to 205 destinations worldwide. 

Changing fortunes

SWISS has experienced a decline in standing over the past two decades. 

As Swissair, it was considered one of the world's premier airlines in the decades following its founding in 1931. 

However, over-expansion in the 1990s caused the airline’s financial position to become more precarious. The 1998 crash of Swissair Flight 111 off Nova Scotia, coupled with the September 11 attacks in 2001, caused it to go bankrupt in 2002. 

The airline rebranded as SWISS, was then acquired by the Lufthansa group in 2005.

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