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SWISS further improves operating result in the first half-year

Zurich Airport – WEBWIRE

SWISS maintained its positive first-quarter development in 2023 in the second quarter of the year. Switzerland’s biggest airline improved its first-half operating result to CHF 338.3 million. Total revenues for the first six months amounted to CHF 2.5 billion. The results reflect an extremely strong financial performance for the first-half period. SWISS was assisted in achieving them by the restructuring it had conducted in 2021, which helped cushion the impact of the cost increases with which the entire airline sector was confronted. The company also benefited from the continuation of the exceptionally strong demand for air travel at a time of still-reduced industrywide capacity. SWISS transported some 7.5 million passengers in the first six months of 2023. The company expects to see a continuation of the positive second-quarter trends.

The positive business development seen in the first quarter of 2023 was maintained in the second three months of the year and enabled Swiss International Air Lines (SWISS) to report an extremely strong operating result for the first-half period. SWISS achieved an operating result for the first six months of 2023 of CHF 338.3 million, an improvement of some CHF 270 million on the prior-year period (H1 2022: CHF 67 million). Total first-half revenues were raised 37.8 per cent to CHF 2.5 billion (H1 2022: CHF 1.8 billion).

“After the extremely challenging years of the corona pandemic, the stars are now aligned for us more favourably than ever,” says SWISS CFO Markus Binkert on the first-half results. “Like the rest of the airline sector, we benefited from the fact that people’s desire to fly remained substantially higher than the capacities currently available.”

As a result of this market constellation, fewer tickets were available at low fares, and this in turn raised yields in the first-half period. In addition, the restructuring which SWISS had conducted in 2021 helped cushion the company against the rising costs with which the airline industry is presently confronted. Such increases include higher energy costs, along with general inflation.

The demand for air cargo services has weakened significantly from its prior-year levels. But SWISS’s Swiss WorldCargo division still made an important contribution to the company’s first-half operating result.

“This first-half operating result is one of the strongest we have ever achieved,” CFO Binkert continues. “And it confirms to us that we now have the corona pandemic firmly behind us and have laid ourselves a sound financial foundation from which we can meet and master the uncertainties ahead. Because our environment is still volatile, and the risks are still numerous.”

Upward trend accelerated in the second-quarter period

The positive business trends seen in the first three months of the year grew stronger in the second-quarter period. SWISS’s April-to-June operating result of just under CHF 260 million was an improvement of some 127 per cent on the same period last year (Q2 2022: CHF 114.4 million). Total second-quarter revenues were raised around 27 per cent to CHF 1.4 billion (Q2 2022: CHF 1.1 billion).

“We have set ourselves the goal of being one of Europe’s leading airlines,” says SWISS CEO Dieter Vranckx. “In achieving a first-half operating result that is five times higher than last year’s, we have shown that we’re well on track in financial terms. At the same time, we will continue to invest extensively in making our flight operations more sustainable, in further enhancing our customers’ air travel experience and in our employees.”

Substantial increases in passenger numbers

SWISS registered strong growth in its passenger volumes in the 2023 first-half period. A total of 7.5 million travellers were carried in the first six months of the year, a 41-per-cent increase on the first half of 2022. SWISS operated over 61,000 flights in the period, some 30 per cent more than a year ago. Systemwide first-half capacity, measured in industry-standard available seat-kilometres or ASK, was raised 36 per cent, while total first-half traffic volume, measured in revenue passenger-kilometres or RPK, rose by just under 54 per cent. Systemwide first-half seat load factor amounted to 83.3 per cent, a 9.6-percentage-point improvement on the prior-year period. SWISS still expects its total ASK production for 2023 to be at some 85 per cent of its 2019 level, and to raise this still further in 2024. Systemwide ASK production in 2023 to date was at 85 per cent of its 2019 level for the first-half period, and at some 87 per cent thereof for the second quarter.

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