• 24-MAR-2020

Coronavirus updates

Coronavirus updates

06.04.20 Media information: SWISS to perform more than ten cargo flights for Swiss healthcare institutions
SWISS is to perform a series of flights bringing vital protective medical equipment from China to Switzerland. The operation, which is extensively supported by the company’s Swiss WorldCargo airfreight division, is being conducted on behalf of the Zurich Cantonal Pharmacy and in collaboration with knechtcare / Welti-Furrer (the Knecht Group) and Männedorf Hospital. 

Under the operation, more than ten cargo-only SWISS Airbus A340 flights will be performed this month from Mainland China, bringing over 35 million personal protection items for the use of healthcare personnel including protective suits, medical gloves, safety goggles and breathing masks. All in all, the transports will amount to over 200 tonnes.

No passengers will be transported on these flights. They will only carry cargo, loaded in both the hold and the passenger cabin. The first such flight arrived from Shanghai in Zurich at 17:54 on Sunday 5 April.

SWISS is also working with further partners to transport cargo from Switzerland to China which is of key importance to the Swiss export sector and to global goods flows.

SWISS operated two cargo-only flights to Zurich from Hong Kong and Shanghai as well as one such flight from Beijing so far. Further SWISS cargo flights to and from China are being planned, to continue to maintain the supply chains between Switzerland and the world.

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03.04.20 Media information: SWISS gives its customers even more booking flexibility
SWISS is making a major change to its ticket fare provisions. With immediate effect, all SWISS tickets are now rebookable in all fare classes, including Light fares with only carry-on baggage. The new provisions apply to new bookings on all services systemwide. For tickets purchased in the USA and Canada, they will apply from Wednesday 8 April. In adopting the new provisions, SWISS is seeking to offer its customers as much flexibility as possible in their future travel plans, given the exceptional circumstances of the current coronavirus situation.

Independently of these new fare provisions, customers who have their SWISS flight cancelled or are otherwise unable to take it can keep their original booking, provided this was made on or before 19 April 2020. In such cases, the customer need not yet commit to a new travel date: their ticket will remain fully valid, and can be used at a later date to book a new flight with a departure date up to and including 30 April 2021. If they do so by the end of 2020, they will also enjoy a rebooking discount of CHF 50.

Rebookings can be made via SWISS Customer Services, on swiss.com or through a travel agent. Tickets may also be exchanged for SWISS flight vouchers online at swiss.com. An automated online voucher redemption function is also being developed and should be available soon.

If the price of the rebooked flight is higher than that of the original booking – owing to a change of destination (e.g. short-haul to long-haul), a change of seating class or similar – an additional amount may still be payable, despite the discount offered.

SWISS’s Customer Services are still receiving exceptionally high volumes of inquiries in view of the current situation. SWISS continues to work to increase its capacities here. But long waits may still be experienced in both call answering and inquiry processing terms. We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience.

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26.03.20 Media information: SWISS to perform first repatriation flight from Santiago (Chile) on FDFA’s behalf
SWISS is to operate its first flight to Santiago (Chile), as part of SWISS and Edelweiss’s support of the unprecedented repatriation programme that has been initiated by the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA).
The outbound Boeing 777 flight is expected to depart from Zurich on Friday 27 March. The return flight from Santiago will arrive on Sunday 29 March with up to 330 passengers on board. The aim of the flight is to bring Swiss travelers blocked abroad back to Switzerland. Further repatriation flights by SWISS and Edelweiss on the FDFA’s behalf are being planned, with a particular focus on destinations in Latin America, Asia, Oceania and Africa.
Any persons who are interested in taking such a repatriation flight because they have been unable, despite their best efforts, to arrange their own transport home should contact their local Swiss diplomatic representation. The FDFA also urges all Swiss nationals abroad seeking to return home to Switzerland to register their contact details and desired travel as soon as possible on the corresponding FDFA Travel Admin app.
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23.03.20 Media information: SWISS supports the FDFA's unprecedented repatriation operation and is also offering cargo-only flights
SWISS is supporting the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA) in its current unprecedented repatriation operation. As The Airline of Switzerland, SWISS will be providing long-haul aircraft and their crews to bring Swiss nationals and residents home. How many and which destinations worldwide will be flown to for such purposes in the next few weeks is still being clarified with the FDFA. 
The FDFA’s media release on this action will be found here.
SwissWorld Cargo, SWISS’s airfreight division, is also helping to maintain global cargo flows and existing delivery chains. With immediate effect, SWISS will also be using its passenger aircraft to perform pure cargo flights. Two aircraft will depart for Hong Kong this week transporting only freight, and further such flights are currently being planned.
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19.03.20 Media information: SWISS extends free rebooking period and offers 50 euros discount
In view of the exceptional circumstances caused by the spread of the coronavirus SWISS is meeting customers' needs even more closely.
As already announced on 13 March, customers who have tickets for cancelled and existing SWISS flights can keep these tickets without having to commit to a new flight date straight away. Existing bookings will initially be cancelled, but the ticket and ticket value will remain unchanged and can be extended to a new departure date up to and including 31 December 2020. Customers can also rebook to another destination.
Previously, customers were asked to notify the airlines of their desired rebooking date by June 1, however this period has been extended by twelve weeks until 31 August 2020. With this policy extention, SWISS and the other Lufthansa Group Airlines are responding to the wish of many customers to help make their travel plans more flexible under the exceptional circumstances caused by the spread of the coronavirus.
  
SWISS offers its customers a discount of 50 euros on every rebooking. Of course rebooking fees will still not be charged, regardless of which fare was booked. Should the rebooked fare be more expensive due to a change of destination (e.g. rebooking from short-haul to long-haul), change of class of travel or similar, an additional payment may be necessary despite the discount. 
This regulation applies to tickets booked up to and including 31 March 2020 and with a confirmed travel date up to and including 31 December 2020. 
Currently SWISS Service Centers are experiencing an extraordinary high number of customer requests. SWISS is constantly working on increasing the capacity, to cope with the demand. However, there are currently long waiting times, which means that unfortunately processing customer requests can be delayed. It is important to note that customers do not need to contact SWISS Customer Service before the original flight date. Rebooking is also possible after the planned flight date has passed. Rebookings can be made via Customer Service or travel agencies. The rebooking possibility with discount on swiss.com is currently under development. In parallel, the online rebooking functions without discount are available for short-term rebooking. 
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19.03.20 Media information: SWISS to reduce flight operations to a minimum from 23 March
In view of the numerous new travel restrictions both in Europe and farther afield, and of economic considerations, SWISS is compelled to limit its flight operations to a minimum from early next week. From Monday, 23 March to Sunday, 19 April, the only long-haul destination served by SWISS will be Newark (EWR) and, from Zurich, the eight following European cities: London (LHR), Amsterdam, Berlin, Hamburg, Brussels, Dublin, Lisbon and Stockholm. For the time being, flights from Geneva to London (LHR), Athens, Lisbon and Porto will continue. Provisionally, there will be no further long-haul services from Geneva.
In total, we expect to be operating some 40 flights a week to these European destinations, along with three weekly flights to Newark. The remaining SWISS flight programme will be operated with one long-haul and five short-haul aircraft.
As the airline of Switzerland, SWISS attaches the highest importance to keeping Switzerland linked with the world as far as possible in an exceptional situation fraught with increasingly difficult challenges.
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18.03.20 Media Information: SWISS temporarily relocates aircraft to Dübendorf airport
In view of the substantial reduction in its flight schedules, SWISS will today temporarily relocate its first Airbus A320 family aircraft to Dübendorf airport in consultation with the Swiss Confederation and the Swiss Air Force, respectively. Up to 24 of these short- and medium-haul aircraft will be parked in Dübendorf in the next few days and until further notice.
Other aircraft, particularly those of the long-haul fleet, will be parked at Zurich Airport. Additional aircraft relocations to other airports are also being considered.
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13.03.20 Media Information: SWISS extends rebooking options for customers
SWISS is expanding its existing, comprehensive rebooking options in the interests of its customers due to the exceptional circumstances caused by the spread of the coronavirus.
Customers who have tickets for cancelled and also existing SWISS flights can keep this ticket without having to commit to a new flight date directly. Existing bookings will be cancelled for the time being, but the ticket and ticket value will remain unchanged and can be rebooked to a new departure date up to and including 31 December 2020.
This rule applies to tickets booked up to and including 12 March 2020 and having a confirmed travel date up to and including 30 April 2020. Customers are requested to inform us of their desired rebooking by 1 June 2020. No rebooking fees will be charged. If the original fare is no longer available, the corresponding difference must be paid when the rebooking is made. In addition, customers can also rebook to another destination.
With this extended goodwill arrangement, SWISS and the other Lufthansa Group Airlines are responding to the wish of many customers to be able to have more flexibility regarding their travel plans given the current exceptional circumstances.
Last week, SWISS already introduced flexible rebooking options for its customers with regard to existing and future bookings. More information is available at swiss.com.
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13.03.20 Media release: SWISS takes further action to safeguard liquidity
Aviation is particularly hard hit by the impact of the corona crisis. To compensate for the sharp fall in demand and resultant lost revenue, SWISS has decided to take immediate further precautionary action to secure liquidity. SWISS will also apply for the introduction of short-time working hours for flying personnel, other areas on the ground are under consideration.
Swiss International Air Lines (SWISS) has had to make substantial reductions to its flight schedules due to the worldwide impact of the coronavirus crisis. Around half of the aircraft making up the short-haul and long-haul fleets have been provisionally taken out of service. This will save further costs. To compensate for the revenue lost as a result of international restrictions and the sharp fall in demand, SWISS will take further precautionary action to safeguard liquidity and revenues over the coming months.
Further action to safeguard liquidity
For the time being, the measures will concern the postponement of variable salary components to the end of this year. The flying personnel will contribute to these measures in line with agreements with our social partners. The management board and senior management will also make an appropriate contribution. All further recruitment will be halted. Apprentice training places and internships are the only exceptions. Employment agreements which have already been issued will be honoured. All projects not essential to ordinary business activities will be halted or postponed.
Short-time work for flying personnel
SWISS is in close contact with the authorities and will initially apply for short-time working hours for cockpit and cabin staff. Further areas on the ground are under consideration. The extent of such short-time work is the subject of current reflection. SWISS CEO Thomas Klühr: “SWISS is a robust business; together with the Lufthansa Group, it occupies a strong position. In the light of the very dynamic and unforeseeable impact of the coronavirus we will be taking further immediate action to safeguard liquidity.” All measures have been agreed in close consultation with the social partners representing the flying personnel and ground personnel. “I would like to thank our social partners for their uncomplicated, constructive cooperation and our employees for their solidarity”, commented Klühr further.
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12.03.20 Media information: SWISS maintains flights to the USA
Despite the ban on entry announced by the US authorities for passengers from the European Union, Switzerland and other states, SWISS and the other Lufthansa Group Airlines have decided to maintain flights to the USA from Switzerland, Germany, Austria and Belgium.
With effect from 14 March, SWISS will serve two destinations in the USA only: Chicago and Newark (New York). SWISS is currently drafting a special flight timetable for the USA. Passengers not affected by the stricter entry rules may reach all destinations in the USA with a connecting flight operated by our partner airline, United Airlines, via these two hubs.
 
Due to the restrictions imposed by the US administration, all other US flights will be provisionally suspended from 14 March, including the daily flight between Geneva and New York (JFK). SWISS and the Lufthansa Group continue to serve all destinations in Canada for the time being.
 
The impact on the SWISS flight programme of the recent changes to rules on entry for India is currently under evaluation.
 
SWISS passengers with flights in the next few weeks are advised to check the latest flight status at swiss.com before travel. Passengers who have registered their contact information with SWISS will be proactively notified if their flight is cancelled.
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12.03.20 Media information: SWISS announces special timetable for USA routes and considers impact of changes to entry regulations for India
In the wake of the announcement by the US Department of Homeland Security regarding the suspension of all travel from the 26 Schengen Area states with effect from 13.3., SWISS is preparing a special timetable for its USA routes, due for publication this afternoon. SWISS is also considering the impact of changes to entry regulations for India. SWISS regrets the inconvenience caused to its passengers. The safety and comfort of our customers and crews are our highest priority. SWISS passengers should check the status of their flight at www.swiss.com before travel. Changes will be actively notified by SMS or email to passengers who have registered contact data. Passengers affected by flight cancellations may rebook or request reimbursement of flight tickets.
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11.03.20 Media information: SWISS makes further service adjustments for commercial reasons
In view of the impact of the coronavirus on its booking levels, SWISS is making further modifications to its European and intercontinental services for commercial reasons.
All services to and from Italy are suspended until the beginning of April. The move affects around 90 weekly flights between Zurich and Milan, Rome, Venice, Florence, Naples and Brindisi. SWISS’s frequencies to and from Italy were already reduced last week. Services are also being suspended for further European destinations including Stuttgart, Nuremberg and Bordeaux. On the intercontinental front, in addition to the existing suspensions of services to Beijing, Shanghai and Tel Aviv, SWISS is also suspending its four weekly services to and from Cairo until 24 April. The first flight to the new US destination of Washington, DC, originally planned for 29 March, has also been postponed.
The corresponding flight cancellations are being gradually entered into the reservation systems. Customers whose flights are cancelled may rebook free of charge or have the price of their ticket refunded.
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06.03.20 Media information: SWISS makes further capacity adjustments
SWISS is making further modifications to its route network in response to the reduced demand caused by the coronavirus. Capacity reductions of up to 50% are planned in March and April. These measures are designed to reduce the financial consequences of the decline in demand. SWISS is examining various cost-cutting measures. There are no plans to introduce short-time working at present.
It is impossible at present to determine the impact of the current developments on revenue and earnings results. SWISS will have more to say on this at its 2019 Annual Results Media Conference on Thursday 19 March.
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06.03.20 Media information: SWISS introduces more flexible rebooking options
SWISS is introducing more flexible rebooking options with immediate effect. The new far-reaching waiver policy for rebooking applies to both existing and future bookings worldwide.
SWISS will waive its rebooking fees for all newly booked flights worldwide with immediate effect and until March 31 and offer a one-off free rebooking. For existing bookings, the new waiver policy will apply worldwide to all flights booked by March 5 with a departure date up to April 30, 2020. Passengers will thus be able to rebook their flight ticket once to a new date up to December 31, 2020 without incurring any rebooking fee.
This new waiver policy applies regardless of the booking fare conditions. The departure and destination airports must be identical. If the original fare is no longer available, the corresponding difference must be paid. The rebooking must be made before the original travel date.
With this new waiver policy, SWISS is responding to the wish of many customers to flexibilize their travel plans under the exceptional circumstances caused by the spread of the coronavirus.
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05.03.20 Media information: SWISS to suspend Tel Aviv services until 28 March
SWISS will be suspending all its services to and from Tel Aviv from this Sunday (8 March) until the end of the winter schedules on 28 March. The last SWISS flight to and from Tel Aviv prior to this suspension – LX 252/3 – will operate on Saturday 7 March.
The action is being taken in view of a new requirement by the Israeli health authorities which will come into effect on Friday 6 March. Under the new provision, travellers from Switzerland will be refused entry to Israel unless they can prove that they have private quarantine arranged within the country for a compulsory 14-day period.
SWISS is compelled to take this action for economic reasons, as many of its customers would find it considerably more difficult to travel to Israel under the new provisions. Passengers whose flight has been cancelled can rebook free of charge or receive a refund of their ticket price.
It is impossible at present to determine the impact of the current developments on revenue and earnings results. SWISS will have more to say on this at its 2019 Annual Results Media Conference on Thursday 19 March.
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04.03.20 Media information: SWISS to make further service adjustments
Further adjustments are to be made to SWISS’s services as of 8 March. The changes affect SWISS’s entire Zurich- and Geneva-based short- and medium-haul network and its long-haul routes to Tokyo, Osaka and Singapore. Service to and from the three long-haul destinations will be reduced by two weekly frequencies each. So Tokyo and Singapore will now be served five times weekly, while Osaka will have three weekly flights. The adjustments to the short-haul and medium-haul network are valid until 28 March, those to the long-haul network until 24 April.
All in all, SWISS’s capacities have now been reduced from their previously planned levels as a result of the coronavirus by around 20% on the short-haul network and by around 10% on the long-haul network.
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02.03.20 Media information: Suspension of SWISS Beijing and Shanghai services extended to 24 April
After thoroughly evaluating all the latest information on the coronavirus situation, SWISS has decided, together with the Lufthansa Group, to extend the present suspension of its services on the Zurich-Beijing and Zurich-Shanghai routes up until and including Friday 24 April. Any customers whose flights have been cancelled by this action may rebook free of charge or have the price of their ticket refunded.
Customers are advised to check the status of any SWISS flight they have booked on the swiss.com website. Customers who provided their contact details when making their booking will be notified by SMS text message should their planned travel be affected by the current coronavirus-related flight cancellations.
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28.02.20 Media information: SWISS reduces frequencies on services to and from Italy
SWISS is reducing the frequencies on its services to and from Florence, Milan, Rome and Venice. The reductions are currently expected to remain in effect until the end of March.
In view of the changed booking situation as a consequence of the Covid-19 coronavirus, SWISS has decided, together with the Lufthansa Group, to reduce its frequencies to and from Italy until the end of March. Any customers whose flights are cancelled through the above actions may rebook free of charge or have the cost of their ticket refunded.
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14.02.20 Media information: SWISS extends suspension of all services to Mainland China to the end of the winter schedules
All flights to/from Beijing and Shanghai cancelled until 28 March; capacities reduced to/from Hong Kong
The safety of its passengers and employees is always paramount at SWISS. After extensive assessments of all the latest information currently available on the impact of the new coronavirus, SWISS has decided, together with the Lufthansa Group, that all its services to and from Beijing and Shanghai will be cancelled until the end of the winter timetable period on 28 March. Such services had previously been suspended up until 29 February.
SWISS will continue to monitor the situation carefully, and is in constant contact with the authorities concerned.
In view of the current demand on the route, SWISS is also adjusting the capacities on its services to and from Hong Kong. These flights will be operated with Airbus A340-300 equipment (seating 223 passengers) in March instead of the (340-seat) Boeing 777-300ER.
Passengers whose flight has been cancelled can rebook free of charge or receive a refund of their ticket price.
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03.20.20 Media information: SWISS extends flight suspensions to mainland China
After thoroughly evaluating all currently available information on the corona virus, SWISS has decided to suspend its flights to/from Beijing and Shanghai until February 29 with immediate effect. Initially the flights had been suspended until February 9. Flight operations to/from Hong Kong will continue as planned. Together with the Lufthansa Group, SWISS will continuously monitor the situation of the corona virus and is in contact with the responsible authorities.
Affected SWISS passengers, whose flights to/from mainland China have been cancelled, can rebook free of charge or get a refund. Passengers of Lufthansa, Swiss and Austrian Airlines whose flights to/from China have been cancelled can also rebook on flights with Air China and Cathay Pacific.
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03.02.20 Media information: Corona virus suspicion on SWISS flight LX15 has not been confirmed
In the meantime, the cabin crew of SWISS Flight LX15 has also been allowed to leave the aircraft. The aircraft will now be cleaned and then returned to flight operations.
Medical examinations at Zurich University hospital have shown that the non-serving cabin crew member suspected of being infected with the coronavirus is not infected with the virus. It was suspected that the crew member could have been infected on a rotation to Shanghai the week before.
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03.02.20 Media information: Suspected coronavirus infection on SWISS flight LX15
SWISS flight LX15 from New York (JFK) to Zurich (ZRH) (Airbus A330, HB-JHG) reported suspected coronavirus infection of Cabin Crew Member (not on duty). Zurich airport activated  its pandemic plan. There were 121 passengers (including the affected cabin crew member) and 13 crew members on board the aircraft. The respective cabin crew member with suspected coronavirus was isolated from the remaining passengers and crew members and transferred to a hospital for medical examinations after landing. Passengers sitting in the immediate vicinity are also being medically examined. The remaining passengers are allowed to enter Switzerland or transfer to their onward flights.

 

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29.01.20 Media information: SWISS to suspend services to Beijing and Shanghai until 9 February
Due to the Corona virus SWISS is to suspend its services to and from Beijing and Shanghai, China until Sunday 9 February. For operational reasons, the booking process will be closed for all such flights until the end of February. Hong Kong will continue to receive its usual SWISS service.
SWISS will be serving both Beijing and Shanghai one final time tomorrow before these services are suspended. This will permit customers on these flights to travel as planned, and will also enable SWISS to bring all its crew members back to Switzerland.

CONTACTS

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