In conversation with Oliver Evans, Swiss WorldCargo’s CCO Geneva and Boeing on our agenda
Swiss WorldCargo, the freight unit of Swiss, a subsidiary of the German national airline Lufthansa, remains on a solid growth path in its eleventh year of operations. The full-freighter operator’s chief pilot recently talked to the ITJ about the latest developments.
Mr Evans, can you tell us about Swiss WorldCargo’s latest financial and operative data?
We don’t publish divisional results (for Swiss WorldCargo, for example), and in any case are bound to non-disclosure until the announcement of the 2012 results of Lufthansa and Swiss are made (which will be in March – ed.).
However, our traffic figures for 2012 have been published. We increased our cargo load factor by 0.8% to 79.3% in 2012, while the load factor in December was more or less unchanged at 82.3%. The ftk figure, by contrast, was up by 8.9% for the full year, and rose by 10% for the month of December.
Swiss is set to commence operations on a new long-haul route to Singapore in May. Last year you spoke about launching a further destination in 2013. Where will it be – in Asia or in North America?
Singapore will be our only new long-haul destination in 2013.
Swiss strengthened its Geneva station at the end of last year. Might new long-haul services be in the pipeline there too?
Swiss WorldCargo has a small team at Geneva airport, which will continue to report to Adolfo Liguori, our senior director for Switzerland. French-speaking Switzerland is a very important catchment area for Swiss WorldCargo, with many producers of high value goods (watches, machinery, speciality chemicals, etc.). We’re delighted that Swiss has made a commitment to the Geneva base, so our customers can rely on daily long-haul flights to New York, many European connections and truck and flight links to the hub in Zurich and from there to our worldwide long-haul network. Long-haul operations can only be sustained from the Zurich hub, or be based on very strong point-to-point traffic, as is the case with Geneva–New York, with the UN, many banks and other institutions providing regular custom in terms of both passengers and cargo. Therefore Zurich will remain the focus of our future long-haul expansion plans.
Lufthansa Technik may be quitting Basel, and there are rumours that Lufthansa Cargo may also want to withdraw from Switzerland. What is your comment on these developments?
Switzerland is obviously a very important catchment area for Lufthansa Cargo and its teams, together with Swiss WorldCargo’s, help the group to maintain a very strong market leadership. Lufthansa Cargo is here to stay.
How happy are you, in the light of the Dreamliner disaster, that you don’t have any Boeing aircraft in your fleet?
I am happy that Swiss hasn’t ordered Dreamliners and is not living the nightmare which is currently engulfing those carriers. Boeing nevertheless remains a highly reputable manufacturer of first-class aircraft. Its products may feature in fleet expansion or replacement options we have.