Swissair Fleet Plans

Fri Dec 10, 1999 9:04 am

This post is related to a similar one regarding the last days of SR's 743's also on this forum which got me thinking (not a very easy thing to do mind you  )

Swissair's jet fleet currently consists of the following:
A319--9 aircraft
A320--20 aircraft
A321--11 aircraft

A310 (gradually being replaced by A330)-- not sure how many are left
A330--12 aircraft

MD11--19 aircraft
B747-300--1 aircraft

Why are they getting rid of the 743? Didn't the 743's arrive sometime in the mid-1980's? It seems to me Swissair does not need the extra capacity and does not have a market large enough for the 743 anymore. I HIGHLY doubt they would be a customer for the A3XX...its simply too big. The MD11's are fairly new as well so I doubt they'll be replacing them anytime soon.

Anybody have any more information on this? What changes to you see for the fleet in the years ahead. My guess would be more Airbus planes since the majority of the fleet is now Airbus.

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RE: Swissair Fleet Plans

Fri Dec 10, 1999 10:00 am

Hi HZ-AKF!   Well as I said in the other forum, I suspect that Swissair is going totally for an all airbus fleet. I suspect that they might dump their MD11s for A340-300 or 600 series to achieve fleet uniformity. Their retired MD11 may go back to LTU which is partly owned by Swissair. Thats's my guess!  

SQ always my 1st choice
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RE: Swissair Fleet Plans

Fri Dec 10, 1999 12:11 pm

Yes, they are getting rid of their MD-11, they'll be gone bye   2002 when A340-600 arrive. In the Swissair article in Airways magazine president Jeffrey Katz stated flatly that they were going all-Airbus because they offer fleet commonality and common pilot rateings. Although being the cynic that I am, I suspect that this all Airbus trend (after many years of loyal McDonnell Douglas usage) is to warm up the the EU as they apply for exemption from the EU-only-airlines open skies agreement. You see, Switzerland is a non-aligned country, and therefore cannot take part in the open skies in the European Union that BA, Lufthansa, Air France, KLM, SABENA, Iberia, etc. can. But by 2002 they will be ALL-Airbus.


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RE: Swissair Fleet Plans

Fri Dec 10, 1999 12:24 pm

Yeah I knew about the whole EU--open skies contoversy but I did not know they will be dumping the MD11's by 2002! Do you mean deliveries on the 346 will start in 2002 because I don't think they can have all 19 gone by then.

Seems a shame these aircraft (B747 and MD11) are relatively young. I guess SR is placing a heavy reliance on fleet age. Is the whole order for 346 or are a few 345's being added as well?? What about 343's like SQ2 brings up above?

I don't see SR ordering the A3XX in the near future. Even ten years ago SR was an exclusively MD fleet and now almost all their a/c are new Airbus  

Thanks everyone!
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RE: Swissair Fleet Plans

Fri Dec 10, 1999 3:35 pm

You forgot the regional airline from swissair crossair.
They operate 95 Aircraft. So whole fleet consists of 170 Aircraft now.
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RE: Swissair Fleet Plans

Fri Dec 10, 1999 4:48 pm

Hi there,

More info on SR plans (Crossair is part of SAirGroup but is not SR).

All A310s have now departed the fleet, having been replaced by the A330-200s. Of 16 ordered A330s, 3 are now going to Novair (through an arrangement with the SAirGroup company Flightlease who own the aircraft).

As far as I know, 9 A330s are currently in service. Two more come on-line this month and 1 more is expected in each of 2000 and 2001.

9 A340-600s are ordered for delivery from 2002. The MD-11s will start to depart from that date too, but the last MD-11 is not schedule to leave until 2006. The final B747-300 leaves next month. All MD-11s are going to FedEx, the contract having already been signed.

I don't think A340-300s are an option as the size is too similar to the A330s already in service. And the long range of A340-500s is not really needed for SR.

As for the open-skies issue, Switzerland has already negotiated an agreement with the EU which comes into force soon (2001?) which effectively gives SR the same rights as any other EU airline to operate within the EU. And otherwise the all Airbus policy really makes sense in the operations side of things. SR already operate Mixed Fleet Flying A320-A330 and will also fly MFF A330-A340 (but not across all A320-A330-A340 simultaneously because the difference in size and handling between A319 and A340-600 is nevertheless considerable).

Hope that's informative

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RE: Swissair Fleet Plans

Fri Dec 10, 1999 11:51 pm

That's right.
Zurich based Swissair has always been a loyal customer to Mc Donnel Douglas in its history but the airline is going for an all-airbus fleet which will bring fleet commonality between all aircrafts.
Swissair, which is well known for its excellent service on board, was founded in 1933 and quicky introduced the Douglas DC-3. Then came the DC-4 which was introduced on transatlantic flights. At the dawn of the jet age, Swissair ordered the DC-8 which was competing against the Boeing 707. They also ordered the Convair 880/900 but those didn't fly long, I guess this was because they weren't as efficient to operate as other types in the fleet. The DC-9 was introduced on short to medium haul flights within Europe and in the beginning of the widebody era, the DC-10 was introduced on long haul international flights. It was not surprising that they were the launch customer of the MD-80 and that they helped Mc Donnel Douglas launch the MD-11 in the mid 1980's. Someone said that ten years ago, Swissair was exclusively a Mc Donnel Douglas customer, this is not true because they had already the Airbus A310. Swissair was the first airline, with Lufthansa, to put in service the A310 in the mid 1980's. It was also an early customer for the Fokker 100 but they recently removed the type from the fleet. Gone are the DC-9's and MD-80's, gone also are the DC-10's. A few A310's are still around but they will be phased out in favor of the A330. I beleive that Balair, also a Swiss airline, still flies A310's.
The last 747-300's, for which the airline was also the launch customer, are going to be removed anytime soon. Sabena just retired its last 747. The 747's (Swissair's only Boeing product) are going to be replaced with Airbus A340's like you said. The MD-11's, yes the one involved in the disaster of flight 111, are still young and they will soldier on the long range sector a few more years. Like I explained above, Swissair was an early customer for the MD-11 which was meant to be the DC-10's replacement. They will be gone in the mid-2000's as more A330's are on their way. It is now the only Mc Donnel Douglas type left in the fleet.
The MD-80's and Fokker 100's are all replaced with Airbus A319/A320/A321's and the 747's and MD-11's are going to be replaced with A330's and A340's. In the near future, Swissair's fleet will consist excusivley of Airbus types: the A319/A320/A321 on short to medium haul flights within Europe, the A330's and A340's on intercontinental flights. All these types have low noise emissions.

Ben Soriano
Ben Soriano

RE: Swissair Fleet Plans

Sat Dec 11, 1999 12:30 am

Just wanted to add that Swissair currently operates 11 A330-200s, i.e. HB-IQA till HB-IQK. There are two versions of them, as some of them have no first class.

The last B747-300 (HB-IGE) will serve its last service on january 9th operating as SR120/121 ZRH-ATL-ZRH.


RE: Swissair Fleet Plans

Sat Dec 11, 1999 2:41 am

THanks one and all for your great help with this topic!
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RE: Swissair Fleet Plans

Sat Dec 11, 1999 2:53 am

Just adding about the MD-11, although it's quite young, many airlines already consider it an outdated obsolete airliner, because operating economics are disappointing. American already disposes it off and buys 777s instead, Korean moved it to Freighter service... I know KLM hates their MD-11s and looks around for either the 777 or the A330/340-family to replace it. And of course, since Sept. 1998, there is a sour taste about SR MD-11s, which didn't help their popularity. It definitely is a goner as soon as the A-340s arrive.
nobody has ever died from hard work, but why take the risk?
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RE: Swissair Fleet Plans

Sat Dec 11, 1999 6:02 pm

Hi again,

Nick_aga is right, there are 11 A330s in service. Somehow I got my numbers mixed up. IQM and IQN come into service this month. IQL, IQP and IQQ go to Novair.

With operating costs, the question can be difficult as to what constitutes an economical aircraft. Swissair's desire to replace the MD-11s stems from their policy to sell off aircraft after approx 15 years of service (to keep the average age of the fleet low) and to further reduce the noise and pollution emissions of the aircraft it is using. I'm sure though that for their needs, the MD-11 has been a successful and profitable aircraft for SR. Older aircraft still make up the mainstay of many airline fleets (particularly in the USA) even when far more economical and modern planes are available.


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