SWISS launches Bombardier C series service to and from London City

Swiss International Air Lines (SWISS), the national airline of Switzerland, has become the world’s first airline to offer commercial flights with the Bombardier C Series aircraft to and from London City Airport.

The sophisticated short- and medium-haul Bombardier CS100 will operate SWISS’s scheduled services to and from London City. Accordingly, the first commercial SWISS Bombardier CS100 flight to London City Airport arrived from Zurich at 17:47 (local time London) on August 8. SWISS will also use its Bombardier C Series aircraft on its Geneva-London City route starting next summer.

Commenting on the new service, Richard Hill, Chief Commercial Officer, London City Airport, said: ‘The inaugural commercial flight of the Bombardier C Series by Swiss International Air Lines is a landmark moment for London City Airport, and it is a pleasure to welcome the first passengers and crew from Zurich, following five years of preparation.’

‘This next-generation aircraft is one of the quietest in operation, with greater fuel efficiency and longer range, setting a new standard for SWISS operations and London City,’ he added.

With its short runway and its steep landing approach, pilots are required to undergo additional training for such operations at London City Airport. In addition, the aircraft itself is to be certificated to perform the steep landing approach at London City. The aircraft’s manufacturer, Bombardier of Montreal, Canada, obtained this in April of this year.

‘We have prepared our pilots down to the finest detail to perform our new scheduled Bombardier C Series flights to London City,’ said Peter Koch, SWISS’s C Series Fleet Chief. ‘And we’re delighted that we can now offer all the many attractions of the C Series, in inflight comfort and more, on this important route.’

SWISS is shifting to its C Series aircraft mainly to replace its Avro RJs, which were used to commence scheduled services to and from London City 25 years ago. The last commercial SWISS Avro RJ100 flight will be from Zurich to London City and back on Monday, August 14, the airline said.

New powdair airline to commence new routes from UK to Swiss Alps this winter

New airline powdair has launched a new winter schedule that connects eight destinations in the UK, Germany and Belgium with Sion Airport in Switzerland.

As part of its winter 2017 schedule, the new airline will offer skiers and snowboarders across the UK, Northern Germany and the Benelux Countries an opportunity to reach the heart of Switzerland’s winter sport region, the Valais, quickly and efficiently. The eight airports that will be served by powdair are – London Luton, London Southend, Southampton, Bristol, Manchester and Edinburgh as well as Antwerp and Hamburg. Flight times are typically between 1 hour 25 minutes and two hours from the UK airports.

The new services, which will commence from December 14, 2017, will reduce transfer times to some of Switzerland’s most popular ski resorts for winter sports enthusiasts including Zermatt, Verbier, Saas Fee, Crans Montana and Nendaz. A wide range of transfer options from Sion Airport to onward destinations are available to book at the point of ticket purchase, including shared and private journeys to the major resorts in the region. Tickets are now available to book through its website, powdair.ski.

Aline Bovier-Gantzer from Sion Airport said: ‘We are really excited to welcome powdair into Sion and fly to new destinations in the UK, Germany and Belgium. The chance to bring in winter sports tourists into Sion Airport is a great opportunity for the region and we are looking forward to welcoming our new guests here. Our airport is ideally located to easily reach the well-known ski resorts in the Valais and we hope that it will also provide a link from Sion to destinations such as London and Edinburgh as well.’

Zoë Ombler, Head of Commercial for powdair, said: ‘It’s not every day that we get to launch an airline and especially one that opens up a completely new route into an airport that is so close to some of the world’s best ski resorts. The response we have already seen on social media shows the kind of interest people have in the area and regular, scheduled flights into Sion are long overdue. Every winter sports enthusiast knows about the sheer quality of ski resorts in the Valais region and we are proud to be able to help our customers reach those resorts faster than any other available option.’

A single class airline registered in Dublin, Ireland, powdair will operate two aircraft from its base in Sion, Switzerland with average fare prices around £140. The ticket price includes baggage allowances of up to 23 kg luggage and skis/snowboard.

London Heathrow gets new Sion service from SWISS, Egyptair restarts Luxor service

Swiss International Air Lines (SWISS) is planning to launch a new seasonal service between London Heathrow and Sion in February 2017, according to an online report by ITCM.

 

As per the plan, SWISS will operate three round trip flights to Sion Airport to serve skiers during the busy holiday period in February. Sion Airport is located near the largest Swiss ski resorts of Verbier, Les 4 Vallees, Crans-Montana, Saas Fee and Zermatt, and SWISS offers a shorter transfer time to the resorts, between 1 and 1.5 hours.

SWISS’ Director for UK and Ireland, Felix Rodel, said: ‘We are delighted to be offering a new seasonal service in the Swiss Valais region that transports our passengers directly into the Swiss mountains and popular ski destinations. We hope the introduction of this service will provide our customers with a convenient and affordable way to visit the many beautiful regions of Switzerland during the peak winter season.’

Currently, SWISS operates up to 59 flights per week from London to Geneva during the winter period. The airline transports the first set of ski or snowboard equipment and boots free of charge in addition to the standard free baggage allowance for passengers. SWISS will likely add Sion to its UK to Switzerland network in the future, the report said.

Separately, Travel weekly has reported that Egyptair has restarted its direct air link between London Heathrow-Luxor, following a suspension since May this year.

Direct air links between the UK and the Red Sea resort have been suspended since the terrorist attack of a Russian charter flight killing all 224 people on board following its departure from the airport at Sharm el Sheikh. Following a travel advice by the UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office in November 2015, all UK airlines suspended their flights to Sharm el Sheikh.

Operated using a 144-seat Boeing 737-800 in a two class configuration, the Luxor service from Heathrow is available for booking with return fares starting at £380, the report noted.

easyJet continues expansion of services from Bristol Airport

easyJet, one of UK’s leading airlines and the largest at Bristol Airport, is expanding its services from Bristol and announced the introduction of an additional aircraft to its Bristol operations next year.

According to a release by the airport, starting summer 2016, the airline will have up to 13 easyJet aircraft based at the airport to serve extra demand from its passengers across the South West and Wales, while flying to more destinations.

Earlier this month the airline celebrated the launch of two of its new routes from Bristol Airport – to Basel in Switzerland and Vienna in Austria. The new routes were Bristol Airport’s first ever scheduled services to the two destinations and are expected to carry around 78,000 passengers annually. easyJet’s new routes to Basel and Vienna took to the skies on November 6.

Shaun Browne, Aviation Director, Bristol Airport, said: ‘We are delighted with the continued expansion of easyJet and the additional Airbus aircraft based at Bristol Airport. Not only does this expansion bring additional routes to the region but the growth supports job creation for both the Airport and the thriving aerospace industry in the city.’

Since the start of this year, the airline has commenced or announced the launch of 12 new destinations, offering its customers in the South-West a choice of over 58 destinations in total. In addition to its Basel and Vienna inaugurals earlier this month, easyJet’s first flights to Bilbao, Catania, Gibraltar, Isle of Man, Lanzarote, Porto and Zante also took off this year. Another three have been announced for 2016: Dubrovnik, Nantes and Venice.

Ali Gayward, easyJet’s UK Commercial Manager, said: ‘2015 has been an impressive year for easyJet in Bristol and our customers in the South West now have an incredible 58 destinations to choose from. As such we are putting a 13th aircraft into our Bristol operations to accommodate for the extra routes we have put on sale and the extra demand. We’re looking forward to welcoming more of our customers onboard in the future.’

easyJet to operate new flights from Bristol to Vienna and Basel

easyJet, one of the UK’s leading airlines, has announced the introduction of two new routes from Bristol Airport to Vienna in Austria and Basel in Switzerland, as part of efforts to enhance inbound tourism for the South West, the airport said in a release.

The two new services are expected to carry around 78,000 passengers annually, and take the total number of destinations served by easyJet from Bristol to 55. The two new routes, set to start in November, are available for booking at www.easyjet.com.

With prices starting from £23.49 one-way, Bristol to Basel is a year-round service flying four times a week from November 6 2015. Bristol to Vienna is a year-round service flying twice a week, also from November 6, 2015 with prices starting from £23.99 one-way. The prices are based on two people travelling on the same booking.

Ali Gayward, easyJet’s UK Commercial Manager, said: ‘These two new destinations are a fantastic addition to our offering from Bristol Airport and further highlight our commitment to serving the South West.

‘We’re proud to be Bristol’s largest airline and are confident that our ever-growing range of routes will prove popular with passengers and help to further enhance inbound tourism for the city.’

Shaun Browne, Aviation Director, Bristol Airport, said: ‘We’re delighted that easyJet has added Basel and Vienna to their network of over 50 destinations served from Bristol Airport.

‘Basel’s unique location on the Swiss, French and German borders makes it ideal gateway to a wide range of business and leisure destinations. Like the South West & Wales, the region is home to thriving banking, insurance and hi-tech sectors, so this new link will provide the business community with more convenient flights direct from their local airport.

‘The addition of Vienna links Bristol to yet another Capital city, taking the total number of European capitals served to 16. As one of the top ten most visited cities in Europe, this new year-round service will be a fantastic addition to easyJet’s growing network from Bristol Airport.’

Since the start of 2015, easyJet has launched flights to seven other new destinations, including Bilbao, Catania, Gibraltar, Isle of Man, Lanzarote, Porto and Zante. The airline also added a twelfth aircraft to its Bristol base this summer to accommodate the extra demand.

Norwich International Airport announces new Swiss ski programme this winter

Norwich International Airport has announced the launch of a new Swiss ski programme this winter, offering UK holidaymakers a VIP style ski holiday in Switzerland.

Offered by OSKA Travel in the trade name of TOPSKISWISS.COM, the first flight is scheduled for Saturday January 17, 2015 with six weekly departures running through to February 21, 2015 including a direct charter to Berne Airport in Switzerland, the gateway to the Swiss Alps mountain ranges.

Flights will be operated by InterSky airlines with the newly designed 70 seat ATR aircraft, which includes catering. Accommodation will be arranged in high class hostels to five- star hotels in Interlaken and Grindelwald, part of the Jungfrau ski region – a ski destination in Switzerland.

Offering some of the most spectacular scenery of the Alps, with over 214km of slopes, featuring the world famous downhill tracks – the Lauberhorn course – and two lakes, the region offers unique skiing experiences for both beginners and experienced skiers. For non-Skiers the region has over 100km of winter footpaths for visitors to explore.

Andreas F. Forsthuber, director of OSKA Travel, said, ‘with these new offers we give our UK clientele the once in a lifetime chance to experience a VIP style ski holiday in Switzerland at affordable costs – and this with all comfort, even free transfer between airport and hotel included and, of course, fully ATOL protected.’

Andrew Bell, chief executive of Norwich International Airport, said, ‘Our objective is to provide an ever increasing range of top quality destinations and product to the holidaymakers in our region. The addition of ski holidays in Switzerland this winter is fantastic news for local holidaymakers and provides further choice from their local airport.’

 

Boom in Swiss Bed and Breakfast Accommodation

Bookings for bed and Breakfast accommodation in Switzerland has increased by 9.5 percent in 2011, compared to the figure for 2010, indicating that visitors to the country are finding the option a favourable form of accommodation, while available hotel rooms have actually seen a decrease in recent times.

Bed and Breakfast Switzerland, a Swiss association of bed and breakfast accommodation owners and a part of Switzerland Tourism, the official tourism promoter in Switzerland, has recently launched its new guide, Bed and Breakfast Switzerland 2012.

The new guide features accommodation in a range of formats, from private homes, mountain chalets, manor houses, and privately owned lodges, many of which are located in extraordinary places, and all claiming to offer an authentic Swiss travel experience. The guide is inclusive of all-important information about the room facilities, as well as maps, photos and descriptions in four languages.

The newest edition of the guidebook includes 1,024 user-evaluated destinations, with 189 new entries added in 2012. The texts are available in German, French, Italian and English, and the guide is priced at CHF28 in Switzerland and Germany.

Around 46.8 percent of the total visitors to Switzerland stayed in bed and breakfast accommodation in 2011, with the maximum number of visitors coming from Germany (20 percent) France (6.2 percent), and from the UK (3 percent). The average duration of stay at the accommodation is 2.4 days, while the highest number of rooms is available in the country’s canton of Valais region, which has around 836 beds on offer.

Starbucks to Open on Swiss Railway Trains

Travellers on Switzerland’s railways will soon be able to purchase refreshments from the new Starbucks stores that are to open on intercity Swiss trains.

Swiss Federal Railways, or SBB, the national railway company of Switzerland, is partnering with Starbucks Corporation, a US-based coffee company, to provide travelling Starbucks stores onboard intercity express trains by the first half of 2013. The partnership will first offer Starbucks stores aboard two SBB Intercity trains between St Gallen and Geneva, in Switzerland.

The Starbucks stores on wheels will be adding to the restaurant services the Swiss rail company already provides to its passengers, with the intention of increasing the facilities and convenience of rail travel. The partnership’s pilot project includes the remodelling of the current onboard bistro and restaurant services of two ‘IC 2000’ double-decker trains into Starbucks stores. Starbucks and the rail company have jointly developed the new design for the stores.

The onboard Starbucks stores will be operated by a SBB subsidiary, Elvetino.

Jeannine Pilloud, the SBB director of passenger transportation, said, ‘Starbucks is a perfect complement for our own range of services. We would like to attract young guests and business travellers in particular.’

Rich Nelsen, the senior vice president for Starbucks EMEA, said, ‘Once again Switzerland is leading the way and planning a key role in innovating the Starbucks brand. It is here over ten years ago where we opened our first store in continental Europe, we purchase all of our coffee worldwide through our Lausanne trading centre and our coffee machines come from Switzerland.’

Switzerland: Higher, sunnier, and snowier

Ski closer to the sun. 

The sun meets the Alps in Switzerland. It’s home of the highest and most snow-sure pistes in Europe, with many above 2,000 and even 3,000 metres, magnificently ringed by Switzerland’s signature 4,000 metre peaks (52 of them, at last count). When it comes to skiing, boarding, sledging and all things snowing, grab your sunnies and head for the hills.

Meet you on the sun terrace – 450 of them.
Yes, we counted them. With nearly 500 picture-perfect sun terraces at our world-famous mountain
restaurants and huts located right on the piste, they make the perfect place to relax and enjoy the view. Check out the high-mountain outdoor hot tub at Davos’ Jatzhütte 2530m, slide down the 3km toboggan run after lunch outside at Berghotel Hahnenmoospass in Adelboden, or raise a glass of crisp white wine beneath the Matterhorn at Chez Vrony. Whichever terrace you choose, you can bank on high quality and top service. So rise up, lie back and think of Switzerland.

Franc-ly, we understand. And we’re doing something about it.
Apart from telling you that a Swiss holiday always represents top value for money (which it does) we are also delighted to announce that Swiss destinations are offering special franc-fighting offers to attract and retain their loyal guests. For example: in St. Moritz, 30% savings are to be made when booking for selected weeks outside the main holiday season. During Engelberg Ladies’ Week from 14–21 January, women who make reservations for four or more nights get a free lift pass. In Leukerbad, get a free lift pass on many dates in December, January and March. In Davos it’s ski for free until December 23. There are many deals from UK tour operators: Inghams and Crystal offer 2-1 on Swiss lift passes (as long as stock lasts). And from Crystal, 7 nights at Chalet Annie in Zermatt catered chalet board departs January 22 from LGW for £585pp online or 7 nights at Central Hotel Wolter in Grindelwald on HB basis departs March 17 from LGW is just £537pp online. Swiss International Air Lines is the skiers airline of choice as they will transport your first set of skis/snowboard and boots free of charge. Once on the ground, children under the age of 16
travel for free when accompanied by a full paying adult on the Swiss Family Card by the Swiss Travel System.

Come for the mountains, stay for the cities.
In such a small and tidy country, it’s easy to combine a city break with a ski holiday. Choose from a wide range of hotels — atmospheric, rustic, pampering, or classic luxury from “Typically Swiss Hotels”, “Swiss Historic Hotels”, “Design & Lifestyle hotels” and “Swiss Deluxe Hotels”. In November and December, tradition comes alive at Christmas markets in Zurich, Lucerne, Bern, Montreux and Basel. Schuss meets ho-ho-ho. www.MySwitzerland.com/winter