I would like to share with you the great experience some of our Italian customers had when they supported the Blu Moon sailing team at the Volvo Cup last weekend in Scarlino (GR).
Blu Moon is a Swiss sailing team that is ranked first worldwide in the second biggest sailing class: Melges 24. The Italian crew members are highly experienced sailors who have participated in the Louis Vuitton Cup, America’s Cup, Rolex Cup and Volvo Ocean Race. The partnership enabled us to invite some of our Italian customers who are passionate about sailing to take part. Together on an accompanying boat we supported the Swiss sailing team very close to the regatta, which provided many thrills.
If you thought that we had enough flights connecting the UK and Switzerland you would have been correct. We however would disagree.
Christian Apthorpe, Intern Marketing UK
Good news travellers, we have decided that 33 daily flights from the UK to Switzerland isn’t enough and as a result have recently announced the launch of yet another service – London City to Basel. The re-opening of the old London City to Basel route started on May 21st and is operated on a twice daily (12 times weekly) frequency.
This new route leaves you spoilt for choice when travelling with us between the UK and Switzerland. Whether you are travelling on business, flying between the business hubs of London and Basel, or a leisure traveller looking to discover another picturesque area of Switzerland, there is a flight to suit everyone.
Have you ever wondered why an airline flies to a particular destination? Asking this question with regard to SWISS is part of my job. Where to fly to? When? With which aircraft? Among others, these are the questions that my colleagues and I in Network Development grapple with. This has little to do with IT infrastructure, as some people outside the industry who see my business card erroneously think.
If you imagine an airline as a factory, then Network Development is responsible for managing production. For example, we determine the rate of production and whether we produce more of A and less of B. Other decisions that rest with us are whether to add a new product or do away with another. Back from the factory to the airline business: Our department’s product is the timetable.
There are many things to keep in mind when devising a schedule. Every market has its own individual needs which must be adequately taken into consideration when putting the timetable together. Achieving success takes a lot more than simply flying from A to B. For instance, a route which relies heavily on business travel must have at least one connection early and late in the day. That way, business travellers are able to fly out and back on the same day without having to stay overnight. Leisure destinations, on the other hand, are predominantly price-driven. Here, the schedule is less a quality factor than the price the customer is willing to pay for transport. Our commitment as a company to offer a good product is certainly reflected in the timetable as well. For this reason we constantly try to offer our customers, business and leisure alike, the best possible flight schedules.
Most of the airports that SWISS currently flies to, especially within Europe, are congested either at peak times or throughout the entire day. This congestion can be caused by a number of factors, any of which can be the critical factor. Because of this congestion, airports are bracketed into 3 distinct groups by IATA, using criteria that are accepted worldwide as the standard.
The groups reflect the level of congestion at the airport, ranging from no congestion at all, congestion during certain periods of the day, or congested throughout the day. This congestion can be caused by a number of factors, with these factors impacting each airport differently. For instance runway or apron availability can affect some airports, airspace above or around the airport at others, whilst lack of check-in counters or security checkpoints can affect others.
For airports where congestion is experienced, access is limited by airport slots which are issued to carriers to determine the timings that they can operate flights at. These airport slots are granted to enable a flight to operate at a specific time of the day taking into account the availability of all necessary infrastructure at the airport. This slot can then be extended, for example, to the same timings, every day of the week for the whole of the scheduling season, or every Friday between June and September, or as required for each individual flight.
Flying around the world as part of the SWISS airline crew makes you feel like Forrest Gump: You’re witnessing world history but unlike Gump you are well aware of it happening.
Late last autumn I had a couple of San Francisco flights. That was when the Occupy Movement was at its peak. We would see the hundreds of tents out on the streets and the protestors with their banners reading “We are the 99%”. The Occupy Oakland Movement was an especially big deal; it was taking place right across San Francisco and had kind of merged with the Occupy San Francisco Movement. It was really all over Market Street.
Speaking for myself, I kind of feel like that Athens dog Loukanikos, who would always stand and bark on the protesters' side. I just have sympathy for people who want to improve their society. Otherwise, I’m rather tame and diplomatic. Comes with flying, I guess.
So I spent that day off in San Francisco doing the usual: museum visits, shopping, Starbucks. On returning to our hotel downtown, a Starbucks drink in hand, I realized that our hotel had been occupied and was now under siege. Apparently the Occupy Movement had taken over our hotel. There were a lot of police officers and protesters but things were under control. There was shouting and protesting but no violence. As I tried to make my way through the crowd, an angry protestor told me that with my Starbucks beverage in hand and by entering this particular hotel I was one of the “one-percenters”, that I was endorsing corporate America and shame on me!