Swiss is counting on a diver of many years because of the corona crisis. “We are unlikely to reach sales in 2019 until 2023,” said Swiss Head of Commerce Tamur Goudarzi Pour in an interview with the online portal “Travelnews”. «We are talking about a long way here. It is not a U and a V, but more like a Nike figurative mark: it goes down very quickly and then up slowly, »says the Swiss manager.
Tourism is lagging behind the economic recovery. He goes back first and comes up last. “We do not yet know whether it is at 60, 70 or 80 percent of the capacity,” says Goudarzi Pour when asked how he would assess the situation in a year.
In the crisis, Swiss maintained a minimal flight schedule with three percent of the offer. “In a next step, we will increase our flight offer to 15 to 20 percent in June. This is very difficult because different restrictions apply depending on the country and loosening per country is difficult to assess », says Goudarzi Pour.
90 percent in short-time work
“To do this, we have to choose the right, sometimes smaller, aircraft. At the same time, we have to keep an eye on the costs, »says the head of commerce. 90 percent of the pilots and flight attendants are on short-time work.
The Swiss hub business model represents a particular challenge. «To be able to build this up, we need transfer passengers. This is the only way we can offer the Swiss national economy such important intercontinental direct connections. »
“We want to gradually increase the offer and no longer just fly on sight.” The previous two-week rhythm of adjusting the flight plan has proven itself in the crisis. “Now we want to look ahead and announce in a few weeks time a flight plan that will develop towards 50 percent of the flight offer by the end of 2020,” said the Swiss Group Executive Board member.
Over 100 million in refunds
The Swiss manager says about the dispute with customers about the reimbursement of ticket prices for canceled flights: The topic affects not only Swiss, but the entire industry. “If the aviation industry had refunded everything immediately, many airlines would have run out of liquidity.”
«We do not question the demands at all, and we always abide by the applicable law. However, due to the high volume of claims, we were unable to meet the usual deadlines and asked for your understanding. However, we are constantly on the lookout for reimbursements. » This affects both private and corporate customers. “We have already made reimbursements in the low three-digit million range this year,” says Goudarzi Pour. This number is higher than that of the requested but not yet repaid claims.
Money for travel agencies
Swiss would reimburse the tour operators until September 30, 2020 for all claims that arose from corona cancellations. Swiss had discussed this point with the Swiss Travel Association (SRV). “We will continue to seek dialogue on this,” said the Swiss manager.
And Swiss extended the rebooking options until December 31, 2021, which helped customers and in turn provided Swiss with liquidity. For example, customers could already have a vacation booking for this summer changed to next year. «This regulation also gives travel agencies more flexibility to handle their customer bookings. These measures are steps to solve the issue together, »says Tamur Goudarzi Pour. (SDA / ise)