LONDON – National Flag carrier Swiss Air Lines has announced that it will be introducing the Airbus A350 in 2025, with an order of five of the Airbus flagship widebody aircraft.
The new jets will replace the airline’s ageing four-engined A340-300s which have an average age of 19.2 years.
The A350 – a Logical Choice
When we look at the decision to order the A350 on the face of it, it is a logical choice of the carrier, given that Airbus operate a similar cockpit design philosophy across their entire family or aircraft.
This is also extended into the systems they use inside the cabins, allowing the airline to operate crew on mixed licences.
This can keep operating and training costs down for airlines which utilise multiple Airbus aircraft, easyJet and Air Carabies are two examples of such carriers which operate, A320 – A321 and A330 – A350 aircraft respectively.
Seeing as the order has not been announced in partnership with Airbus it would be fair to assume that these five A350-900s have had a long road map of integration into the airline, with the Lufthansa group likely dictating the delivery schedule of when they could expect these aircraft.
These will have been ordered by them some time ago.
The question now turns to what Swiss will do with the rest of its ageing fleet. Between their A320s, A321s and A330s, they have over Airbus aircraft in active service (this of course excluded the 25 A220s the airline has).
These aircraft have an average age of 13.2 years between them, with the Lufthansa group looking at Airbus to find a replacement for these in the coming years? And if so, what aircraft could likely be ordered?
It seems unlikely that we will see any A321XLRs placed on order for Swiss to operate. Given the airline’s current route network and market growth strategy, this aircraft doesn’t really fit the bill.
So as to what the future might look like, perhaps there is a debate to be made that the Lufthansa group is going to hold out with a domestic fleet overall until Boeing is able to get the issues with the MAX 7 and MAX 10 squared away.
It would be of no surprise if the group was to order additional 777X and 737 MAX7/8 aircraft for Swiss allowing it to complete overall its domestic and long-haul fleet.
This doesn’t mean we can completely rule out the group taking a look at the Airbus 330neo (most likely the 900) to also be a viable option for the Swiss fleet moving forward.
The potential purchase of some Dreamliners seems unlikely, given the fact that the Lufthansa group has never hinted or even moved towards Swiss operating such types of aircraft.
However, if the 777X continues to be plagued with delays and problems, then perhaps in a strange turn of events we might even see Swiss take delivery of some A350-1000’s when it comes time to replace the 777 or A330’s.