Swiss is considering a direct Zurich-Mexico flight

Swiss is considering a direct Zurich-Mexico flight
Swiss is considering a direct Zurich-Mexico flight

Will we be able to go to Mexico non-stop from Switzerland? The idea is launched.Image: KEYSTONE

Swiss is developing its long-haul network. The airline recently opened flights to Washington DC, Seoul and Toronto. Edelweiss, another subsidiary of the group, also wants to expand its offering. Additional destinations in North and South America may soon be served.

05/03/2024, 3:25 p.m.05/03/2024, 3:28 p.m.

Stefan Ehrbar / ch media

Last year, almost 37,000 people traveled from Zurich to Mexico City, according to Swiss airport data. Everyone had to make at least one stopover, because there is no direct flight. This could soon improve, Pietro Piffaretti, the Swiss ambassador for Mexico and Belize, recently announced on LinkedIn.

He would have met Carsten Spohr, director of Swiss’ parent company, Lufthansa. Both discussed the group’s plans to launch a connection between the Mexican capital and the Swiss city. This should come to fruition in 2026.

The demand for this route exists and it is strong – thanks to Swiss investors who travel to this North American country, but also thanks to the growing number of Mexicans who choose Switzerland for their vacations.

In fact, the number of passengers between Zurich and Mexico City increased by 35.6% between 2019 and 2023 alone. This route even ranks sixth in passenger volume among those currently not served from Zurich – to Kuala Lumpur , Taipei or Bali.

However, the quantity of passengers is not enough to guarantee the profitability of a route. Also decisive are the willingness to pay, the share of business travelers, who often generate higher revenues, or the freight volume, which also contributes to profitability.

Direct flights to Mexico City are therefore not yet a reality. A Swiss spokesperson says she cannot confirm such plans at this time. The airline constantly analyzes its network to know whether it needs to be modified or expanded. It will communicate possible changes “in due course” and explains that it never officially announces new connections two years in advance. However, it confirms its desire to expand the long-haul catalog.

Stopover in one case out of two

This year, Swiss launched direct flights to Washington DC, then to Seoul and Toronto starting next week. In 2025, five A350 aircraft are expected to replace four A340s. Enough to expand the offer. Furthermore, the airline still has capacity that has remained on hold since the Covid crisis, and whose operation has not resumed. They concern destinations like Nairobi, Beijing or Osaka. Recently, the airline’s director, Dieter Vrancks, told Blick that India now constituted a promising market.

Sister company of Swiss, Edelweiss is also replacing its five A340s with six A350s. The first of these new aircraft should join the fleet within a year. The director of Edelweiss, Bernd Bauer, recently expressed to the “Travelnews” portal the company’s interest in direct flights from Zurich to Brazil, Argentina, Indonesia, Peru or Vietnam.

A few months ago, there was also speculation about flights to Namibia – a destination that could also suit Edelweiss, which relies heavily on leisure travel.

L’South America underserved

Although Swiss operates a hub at Zurich airport, half of intercontinental passengers departing from Switzerland’s largest airport have to stop elsewhere, according to its data. This means, for example, a first journey to another hub such as London-Heathrow, Amsterdam or Istanbul, then a connection on a long-haul flight. There is the least direct traffic from Zurich to South America: 85% of travelers go there with a change – for example in Madrid, from where Iberia offers numerous connections.

The situation is the same for two thirds of passengers departing from Zurich who go to the Asia-Pacific region. Then comes North America, with stopovers in 43% of cases. Added to this are departures from Basel. Since Euroairport has practically no intercontinental connections, the share of transit passengers must be significantly higher there, especially since the airport is very well connected to hubs like Munich, Amsterdam or Paris. The clientele making a stopover must also be greater at Geneva-Cointrin than at Zurich, even though this airport offers more intercontinental flights than Basel.

(French adaptation: Valentine Zenker)

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