Air Transport World

Swissair studying long-haul fleet renewal.

Swissair studying long-haul fleet renewal

Swissair will be six months late introducing its fleet of new Fokker 100 airliners into service due to delays at the manufacturer, but continues to have "an excellent relationship' with Fokker, according to the airline's President, Robert Staubli. And Swissair executives are now turning their minds to an even bigger reequipment matter--the renewal of the long-haul fleet. The decision on this could come by the end of this year.

Staubli and his colleagues spelled out for ATW here the options which the airline considers it has in the long-haul equipment sector. They are: (1) the McDonnell Douglas MD-11; (2) to build up the Boeing 747 fleet and keep some McDonnell Douglas DC-10s; (3) the Airbus A340; (4) the "zero option'--to do nothing immediately, postponing the decision for a further one or two years.

Armin Kramer, general manager-flight equipment planning, outlined some of the current background thinking on the options. Swissair's requirement for an ideal new long-haul transport is, he said, 250 seats in three classes with a range with full payload of 5,500 nm to places such as Bangkok or Rio de Janeiro from Switzerland nonstop.

The Md-11 does not have the range which Swissair needs, "But we are used to making compromises; we have always had to make them in the past. But this lack of range is not something we could give up very easily.' Douglas is offering an extended range conversion, and Swissair is having a close look at this airplane. "The range is okay, but it has 215 passengers instead of 250. It is not an easy decision, because none of these conversions really meet our requirements. A study is under way to see how many MD-11s and MD-11ERs we might need.'

In the 747/DC-10 option, the 747 fleet could be built up, probably with series 400 aircraft, to replace DC-10s on routes where the traffic would require a bigger aircraft, and the remainder of the DC-10 fleet would be retained.

"We shall have a close look at the Airbus A340,' Kramer went on, "but the size of the 340 is not any bigger than the DC-10-30, so we won't get 250 seats in our configuration.'

The importance of this upcoming decision was underlined by Staubli who pointed out that the 11 DC-10s in the Swissair fleet produce 40% in tonne-kilometers of the airline's production. "We would like to have all three alternatives in being until the day we make the decision,' he said. "We do not want to be isolated too early.

"We really have a very modern fleet and with the introduction of the Fokker 100 in 1988 the whole fleet will be up to category three standard and will fulfill all FAR noise requirements. …

Log in to your account to read this article – and millions more.