He is surprised by the force and speed with which the virus paralyzes the whole world, says Swiss CEO Thomas Klühr in an interview that he gave to Edelweiss Air boss Bernd Bauer, the “Swiss magazine”.
“Three quarters of the world’s fleet are currently on the ground,” says Klühr. The current biggest aviation crisis is causing problems for the airlines, especially because its end is not predictable. Klühr: “The big unknown is time.”
The figures delivered by the two CEOs are impressive: at Swiss, the flight schedules were reduced by 95%, while the load factor on the flights was just 50%, said Klühr. According to Bauer, Edelweiss is currently still flying from Zurich to Cancún in Mexico. The rest are charter flights.
“The force, the speed at which this virus paralyzes the whole world – I didn’t expect that.”
How long can the two airlines last? “A few weeks to a few months,” admits the Swiss boss. And: “As with all airlines, we will not be able to do without long-term government aid in the form of federal guarantees or bridging loans.”
«We are a Swiss company»
In response to the criticism that the owner, who jumped into the breach, the two managing directors replied that their companies were primarily anchored in Switzerland and also aimed at Swiss consumers. Bauer: “We are an original Swiss company.”
“We have confidence in our home market, Switzerland.”
The Swiss CEO does not want to understand this as public sector restructuring contributions that are no longer repaid: “Swiss and Edelweiss are healthy companies that were very well positioned before the crisis. And we have confidence in our home market, Switzerland. This will recover faster than others. »
Klühr is much more worried about the competition: “But I’m worried that many countries in Europe are taking part in their previously hit home carriers, that Italy, for example, has nationalized Alitalia. This is the wrong way and only distorts the competition. »
Combination of business and vacation trips
Edelweiss CEO Bauer remains optimistic thanks to the cooperation between Swiss and Edelweiss: «Our business model – Swiss especially for business trips, Edelweiss for holiday travel – is unique in Europe. We cover almost all needs, combined with a very high product quality, »he says.
Will travel behavior change due to the Corona crisis? “I think so. The world is becoming more digital, »replies Swiss boss Klühr. Nevertheless, he is convinced that “the desire to travel and exchange personal information remains”. And Bauer adds: “July and August are the most important months for us. I hope that in July we will be able to re-establish one or the other connection and the passengers will fly with us on vacation.