Volumes return at Swiss, but not revenue

CARGO load factors and volumes are back to pre-crisis levels at Swiss International Airlines, but revenues and yields are definitely not. In fact, the carrier is not even half way to recovering from a “dramatic” fall in rates during the downturn.

Oliver Evans, head of cargo, says yields are now moving upwards, but says it will take some time before they come back to levels seen in the first half of 2008. And while “relatively optimistic” he remains concerned, like many economists globally, about the strength of the recovery of Europe, where companies are still shedding jobs and governments bring to an end their fiscal stimulus packages.

Swiss at least has the advantage of having no freighters to fill. Being relatively constrained in its belly capacity, it has managed to return to 80-85 per cent load factors on its long-haul routes. And while Evans says Asia has driven this rebound, he also says routes across the Swiss network are achieving these levels.

The carrier’s focus on specialist products also helped it during the downturn. Evans says that these too suffered from yield erosion, but that volumes remained resilient, even growing slightly for pharmaceuticals on some routes.


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