Now its confirmed! The media release still not yet on their web, so I made a copy here
Zurich Airport, June 1, 2007
SWISS to introduce services to Delhi and Shanghai
SWISS is to add its first new long-haul destinations to its network, with the introduction of scheduled services to the key cities of Delhi (India) and Shanghai (China). The new routes can be operated thanks to the addition of five further aircraft to the SWISS long-haul fleet, enabling the carrier to both increase frequencies on existing routes and introduce service from Switzerland to new destinations. The addition of Delhi and Shanghai should both boost the Swiss economy and enhance Switzerlandâ€™s vacation appeal.
SWISS is growing, at a steady and sustainable pace. Since last November, Switzerlandâ€™s national airline has added five Airbus A320-family aircraft to its European fleet and has introduced two further Airbus A330s and (from July 20) an additional A340 on its intercontinental network. Two more Airbus A340 aircraft will also be added to the SWISS long-haul fleet by spring 2008.
As a result of this fleet expansion, SWISS will introduce service to Delhi (India) in its 2007/08 winter timetable, and will add Shanghai (China) to its network in the 2008 summer schedules. â€œIn extending our network to Delhi and Shanghai, we are both strengthening the Swiss economy and promoting Switzerland as a tourist destination,â€ says SWISS CEO Christoph Franz. Delhi will be served with Airbus A330 aircraft from November 25, 2007, while the service to Shanghai, which will begin on March 30, 2008, will be provided using Airbus A340 equipment.
India: a key growth market
Delhi will be SWISSâ€™s second destination (after Mumbai) in the emerging Indian market. â€œItâ€™s the rapid growth in this market, the strong business ties between the two countries and the high demand for air services from non-government and non-profit organisations, too, that have prompted us to add Delhi to our network as our second Indian destination,â€ says Harry Hohmeister, Chief Network & Distribution Officer at SWISS. The new route also offers sizeable potential for tourist traffic, from both the Swiss and the Indian source markets.
Swiss exports to India have more than doubled over the past three years, increasing 36% in 2006 alone. Imports of Indian products and services to Switzerland are also rising rapidly, and recorded 11% year-on-year growth last year.
First direct service between Zurich and Shanghai
With China now Switzerlandâ€™s second-most-important trading partner in Asia, the demand for business travel between Zurich and Shanghai has considerably increased. Calls have also been growing in the tourism sector for a direct Zurich-Shanghai connection.
Apart from flights to and from Hong Kong, no direct services currently exist between Switzerland and China. With Air China and Shanghai Airlines due to join Star Alliance next year, SWISS should also soon be able to collaborate with two well-established local airline partners to offer its customers attractive onward connections from Shanghai to other Chinese destinations.
Beijing is also set to appear in the SWISS timetable next spring, under a codeshare operation with Lufthansa via Munich. â€œOur new services should ensure that Switzerland enjoys attractive air connections with what is currently the worldâ€™s fastest-growing market,â€ CEO Christoph Franz continues.
Swiss exports to China have increased by more than 35% over the last three years. Imports of Chinese products and services to Switzerland are also seeing substantial growth, and rose 16% last year.
Schedules coordinated with Lufthansa for more customer choice
SWISS and Lufthansa will also be coordinating the schedules of their services to Delhi and Shanghai to offer valuable convenience benefits to all their customers. As a result, travellers will be able to fly from Zurich to Delhi or Shanghai either directly on SWISS or via Frankfurt or Munich with Lufthansa. The harmonised timetables will offer customers a choice of three different departure times, and a flexibility that will be particularly appreciated by business travellers. The collaboration is further confirmation of Lufthansaâ€™s multi-hub strategy centred on Zurich, Munich and Frankfurt airports.
SWISS generates jobs
Having successfully completed its corporate restructuring, SWISS has given itself the scope to invest in its fleet, its network and its product. The present fleet expansion is also creating new jobs â€“ around 600 of them among the companyâ€™s flying personnel alone, or an increase of some 10% on present workforce numbers.
SWISSâ€™s expansion is generating new jobs in related fields, too, such as technical services, catering and ground handling. â€œEvery long-haul aircraft we add to our fleet creates about as many jobs as will be found in a small or medium-sized enterprise in Switzerland,â€ Christoph Franz points out. â€œSo here, too, our fleet expansion is generating added value for the Swiss economy.â€
The new services:
146 12:30 00:35+ (daily)
147 02:00 06:25 (daily)
188 13:05 06:35+ (daily)
189 09:30 15:40 (daily)
+ = the following day