Swiss launches ‘hand luggage fares’; expands network

SWISS, Switzerland’s national airline, is set to offer reduced fares for passengers flying to or from Geneva with no checked baggage.

The move, which is in line with the offers by KLM and British Airways at Gatwick, will be effective from September 1, 2013. Starting September 1, SWISS will also be expanding its direct flights network from Geneva Airport to 24 destinations within Europe. The two actions are expected to align SWISS’ Geneva-based product more closely to the needs of customers in Western Switzerland and adjacent French border areas.

SWISS will offer a new two-tier tariff structure for its Geneva services: The ‘Geneva Economy Flex’ will allow one piece of checked baggage along with rebooking and cancellation, while ‘Geneva Economy Light’ is only for passengers with hand luggage. No rebooking or cancellation will be permitted for the latter. The new fares are bookable with immediate effect.

SWISS said: ‘Both tariffs will be available on a one-way or return option to offer greater choice and flexibility for customers.’ Being home for some low cost carriers as Easyjet (Suisse), SWISS faces the greatest low fare competition in Geneva.

Lead-in fares from London Heathrow to Geneva are £61 one-way and £84 return for Economy Light. For Economy Flex the rates are £86 and £124, while the fares from London City differ slightly. It means that passengers are paying a premium starting at £40 return for one piece of checked baggage and for the ability to change and cancel flight.

Network expansion

Under its network expansion plan, SWISS will add six further destinations to its Geneva-based network this autumn. The expansion would include Stockholm, served four times weekly; thrice weekly to Oslo and London Gatwick; twice weekly to Gothenburg, Belgrade and Marrakesh. SWISS will also convert its present summer-season services between Geneva and Malaga, Palma de Mallorca and Porto into year-round operations. The additions will enlarge Swiss’s Geneva-based network to 24 destinations and will be served by a nine-aircraft fleet.

‘Our expanded network with its attractive destinations will be even better tailored to the needs of our customers in the Geneva region,’ says SWISS chief operating officer Rainer Hiltebrand, responsible for the development of the company’s Geneva operations.