Imagine if SWISS were to fly with an Airbus A340 to San Francisco and nobody knew anything about it. A scheduled flight with 219 seats and not a single passenger on board? Simply inconceivable. Our goal is to have passengers occupying as many seats as possible on our A340 to San Francisco – right from day one. Only in this way can this new service be a success. So it is essential that news of this destination be communicated as quickly as possible. A simple word-of-mouth promotion would be nowhere near adequate. Travel agencies also need to know about it as they are instrumental in delivering this new product to the market. Business travellers who regularly fly to the Bay Area also need to be informed, and so do travel buffs and people who are particularly enamoured with San Francisco, whether they live in Zurich, Milan, Paris or Moscow. Spreading the word is a central factor in this undertaking.
The communication process started long before the departure of the first LX 38 flight to San Francisco, kicking off the day it became possible for travellers to first book tickets to the new destination. The standard components included the distribution of a media release to the various media channels and the preparation of supporting documentation containing all of the information relevant to follow-up queries. In the case of LX38 a media conference was organised at which CEO Harry Hohmeister informed the assembled members of the media in person about the exciting new air transport opportunity.
For journalists in Switzerland, the communication effort involved more than simply letting them know about another new SWISS route. The news value was heightened by the new route’s importance to SWISS and Switzerland on several levels: as a new link between Switzerland and another famous world city, and as evidence of the strengthening of business relations between Switzerland and the USA and the investment power of SWISS as an important employer in Switzerland. More than one Airbus A340 will be deployed permanently on the Zürich – San Francisco route. An A340 generates directly and indirectly jobs for approximately 300 people, which makes it an SME in its own right. For media beyond Switzerland, the air transport service’s operational and economic significance are of lesser interest. They are primarily focused on the new route’s appeal as a travel option.