Faced with “a lasting 20% decline in customer demand in the medium term” due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Swiss Airlines announced it would reduce its fleet of 90 aircraft and of its subsidiary Helvetic Airways by 15%. 

The downsize comprises a reduction of five long-haul aircraft, A330s or A340s, and ten short-haul Embraer 190 aircraft operated by its subsidiary Helvetic Airways. The airline has not decided as of yet which A330s or A340s would be retired.

“In the future SWISS will be smaller. But it will also be more focused, more digital, more efficient and more sustainable,” commented SWISS CEO Dieter Vranckx. “The transformation planned will be conducted over the next three years through our ‘reach’ strategic programme, with which we aim to realign our company to the changed market situation and achieve sustainable cost savings of some CHF 500 million [$555 million].”

Affected by the “structural changes” of its industry, SWISS was also forced to reduce its workforce by 550 positions. “The 550 dismissals include 58 employees who will simultaneously be offered revised employment terms such as a reduction in their degree of employment or a change to their function, who will thus have the option of remaining with the company under the new terms,” the airline explained. 

SWISS expects its capacity to reach around 50-55% of 2019 levels by high summer 2021, with a yearly result forecasted at 40% of the pre-pandemic result.