The CEO of Swiss International Air Lines has said that it is not impossible that the carrier’s Geneva operations be taken over by Eurowings, Lufthansa’s low-cost arm, in 2019.
In an interview published in the Agefi newspaper on Monday, Thomas Klühr said he remained “confident” that such a scenario would not come about, but that it depended on the Swiss airline making a profit on its Geneva operations through the course of 2018.
Currently, SWISS is the second-most important airline operating out of Geneva. It wants to consolidate its position in this “important” hub, Klühr said, by reducing the number of destinations it offers to 30, but by offering more frequent flights.
SWISS is part of the Lufthansa group, whose budget Eurowings affiliate already operates over 50 flights from Geneva airport, mostly to European destinations. However, Klühr said, SWISS remains one of “the most profitable” arms of the Lufthansa group.
More broadly, Klühr also bemoaned the current stagnation in airline infrastructure in Switzerland, including in Zurich, where the possibilities for further growth are limited.
This lack of infrastructure could become “a serious problem” in five to ten years, he said, with passengers being forced to change planes more often to take long-haul flights. For him, this means Switzerland might not be able to benefit as much from the global growth in flight travel as other countries.