Switzerland Looks To Reopen On June 28th For Vaccinated American

Switzerland is set to re-open to fully vaccinated travelers from the United States and Canada. The news comes…

Switzerland Looks To Reopen On June 28th For Vaccinated American

Switzerland is set to re-open to fully vaccinated travelers from the United States and Canada. The news comes just days after the United States relaxed entry requirements for travelers from Switzerland.

Switzerland will re-open its borders to travelers from the United States in late June. Photo: Getty Images

Swiss border re-opening for North American travelers in late June

Multiple media organizations report that pending final ratification by the Swiss Parliament on 23 June, Switzerland will lay out the welcome mat to fully vaccinated travelers from the United States and Canada on June 28.

“We are extremely happy,” says Switzerland Tourism director GCC Matthias Albrecht. “Now that borders will open, we can’t wait to welcome each one of you.”

Before the travel downturn, Switzerland was enjoying a surge in passenger arrivals from the United States. Across 2019, arrivals from the United States grew 10% to over 1.1 million, the third consecutive year of substantial growth. Off a much smaller population base, 126,198 Canadians also flew to Switzerland. Like their southern neighbors, Canadians were heading to Switzerland in increasing numbers each year.

A United Airlines Boeing 787 heading out off Zurich Airport in Switzerland. Photo: Getty Images

Welcome news for Switzerland’s biggest airport

For Zurich (ZRH) Airport, Switzerland’s biggest airport, the prospect of additional aircraft and passenger traffic from across the Atlantic is good news. The airport has been campaigning to ease travel restrictions, saying passenger numbers through Switzerland’s airports are down 75%, and thousands of jobs are at risk.

“The economic damage to the entire airport ecosystem is huge because international air travel has been severely restricted for more than a year now,” says Stephan Widrig, CEO of Flughafen Zürich AG, the operator of Zurich Airport.

In May, 450,00 passengers moved through ZRH. That is a big improvement on the May 2020 numbers but 83.4% lower than May 2019. There were 8,043 aircraft movements in May, down 67.1% on May 2019 aircraft movements.

“The desire to travel and the easing of travel restrictions by many countries are noticeable at Zurich Airport,” the airport said in a statement accompanying those recent figures.

Far from the 2019 heyday, flights into Zurich from across the North Atlantic are now scarce. United Airlines operates daily flights from both New York’s Newark (EWR) Airport and Washington Dulles (IAD). Air Canada is operating several flights a week between Toronto’s Pearson Airport (YYZ) and Zurich. SWISS is flying into Zurich from Miami International Airport (MIA), New York’s John F Kennedy Airport (JFK), and Newark.

SWISS aircraft at Zurich Airport. Photo: Zurich Airport

SWISS set to be a big winner

Switzerland’s largest airline, SWISS, is set to be a big beneficiary of the border re-opening. SWISS had already seen growing demand for services from North America (albeit off a very low base) on the back of growing vaccination rates.

“The rise that we have recently seen in our bookings for the summer months clearly shows us how keen people are to travel,” says SWISS Chief Commercial Officer Tamur Goudarzi Pour.

Over June and July, SWISS will fly or resume services to 49 destinations from its key Zurich and Geneva hubs. Over the summer, the airline will operate 85 routes from Zurich, eyeing the leisure and VFR markets. SWISS says this is an improvement on 12 months ago but still well below (50% to 55%) 2019 flying levels.

SWISS says they’ve been tailoring flights to meet market demand. With the borders about to open for vaccinated United States-based travelers, they should soon be bumping up the frequencies of their transatlantic flying.

Source : Simple Flying More   

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Power Play As Jetstar Plans Canberra Flights

Jetstar is bound for Canberra, with flights slated to begin in September. The flights between Brisbane and Canberra…

Power Play As Jetstar Plans Canberra Flights

Jetstar is bound for Canberra, with flights slated to begin in September. The flights between Brisbane and Canberra will mark the low-cost carriers’ first scheduled foray to Australia’s capital city. While being welcomed as an affordable alternative to usually sky-high fares seen on Canberra flights, Jetstar’s better late than never arrival into the capital may also be part of a competitive power play by owner Qantas to ward off rivals.

Jetstar is beginning flights to Canberra in September. Photo: Jetstar

After 17 years of avoiding Canberra, Jetstar sees potential in the national capital

Beginning September 2, Jetstar will fly five times a week between Brisbane and Canberra using an Airbus A320-200. On Monday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, JQ656 will push back from Brisbane (BNE) at 12:00 and arrive in Canberra (CBR) one hour and fifty minutes later at 13:50. The return service will operate on the same days, departing  Canberra at 14:30 and landing in Brisbane at 16:30.

After 17 years of avoiding the national capital, Jetstar’s imminent arrival on the apron at CBR has surprised many. Jetstar’s CEO, Gareth Evans, says Canberra offers opportunities for profitable growth. The ACT Government’s Chief Minister, Andrew Barr, says he’s been trying to lure Jetstar to town for years. Others say it is more about keeping rivals Virgin Australia and Rex at bay.

Having significant government, public service, and business traffic to the capital, Canberra is an expensive airport to fly in or out of. With many travelers through the airport not paying for their own tickets, that’s not necessarily a problem. For the airline with the biggest market share in Canberra, Qantas, it has been a sweet deal.

Virgin Australia has a smaller slice of the Canberra market, including flying BNE-CBR. Local upstart airline, Rex, doesn’t fly the route but does fly between Canberra and Sydney. Rex starts flying between Canberra and Melbourne later this month, and is aggressively expanding.

Qantas enjoys the lion’s share of the market in Canberra. Photo: Canberra Airport

Is this a competitive play to keep Rex at bay?

The long-held theory is that Jetstar stayed out of Canberra to avoid cannibalizing Qantas’ high-fare paying passengers, particularly those passengers paying for their own tickets, who had no choice but to pay a price premium, who might have been open to a low-cost alternative.

But with airlines rebuilding their networks after the travel downturn, the old rules no longer necessarily apply.

A lunchtime and mid-afternoon departure five days a week is unlikely to lure Qantas’ core government/public service/ business travelers who tend to fly at the start and finish of the day. These taxpayer-funded flyers also usually prefer full-service airlines with all the attendant bells and whistles.

But Jetstar’s new flights could well put the squeeze on Virgin Australia who now competes as a mid-market carrier and targets price-sensitive customers. As for Rex, if they are eyeing the BNE-CBR route, they may well decide four airlines on that route won’t fly financially.

Is Qantas playing a competitive game here? Is Qantas deploying its low-cost airline, risking a little marginal market cannibalization to keep Rex off a route?

Jetstar’s Canberra flights will bring some welcome price relief on a normally expensive route. Photo: Jetstar

Lower fares will be a win for passengers

In March, 32.700 passengers flew Jetstar’s new route on either Qantas or Virgin Australia. According to Australian Government statistics, 70,200 seats were available on the route in March. Average passenger loads were 54%.

Jetstar says it will add around 100,000 seats annually to the route, and fares will average between US$99 and US$138 – making the Jetstar product a compelling offer for travelers who pay for their own tickets. Launch sale fares are starting at US58. But in typical low-cost carrier fashion, you’ll need to add more for bags and seat selection.

Nonetheless, these are good prices for what is normally an expensive route to fly. But some questions remain outstanding, namely, what will Virgin Australia and Rex do in Canberra?

Source : Simple Flying More   

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