On 6 May 2021, SWISS announced a plan to cut jobs and the size of its fleet.
Due to the continuing global coronavirus pandemic and structural changes in the market, the company expects a 20% structural decline in demand.
In response, the airline plans to cut the fleet it had in 2019 by 15% and bring its personnel numbers down by 1,700 – before the pandemic SWISS employed 9,500 people. The company described the cuts as unavoidable.
Much of this staff reduction will occur via voluntary departures and natural staff turnover, which has been underway since 2020. However, forced redundancies of up to 780 ground and air staff may be required, announced the company.
One year on from the outbreak of the global coronavirus pandemic, air transport activities remain very subdued. The impact of COVID-19 on aviation has been far more substantial than was the case with previous exogenous shocks, and has shaken the industry to an unprecedented extent, said the company.
“It has grown increasingly clear that our market is undergoing structural change, and that despite the actions which we were swift to take in response, a restructuring of our company now sadly seems unavoidable,” said SWISS CEO Dieter Vranckx.
The short- and medium-haul fleet will shrink from 69 to 59 aircraft through the withdrawal of Airbus A320s. On the long-haul front SWISS plans to reduce its fleet from 31 to 26 aircraft, by withdrawing five of its long-haul Airbuses.
SWISS said it will continue to pursue its premium positioning and maintain its operations from both Zurich and Geneva.
Consultations with employee groups and staff are underway and an evaluation is expected to be concluded by mid-June.