Freight flies First Class with Swiss WorldCargo

… soon also to Washington, Toronto, and Seoul. These three new international/long-haul destinations in Swiss WorldCargo’s network have now been announced to CargoForwarder Global (CFG) by Lorenzo Stoll, Head of Cargo at Swiss International Air Lines. Although very important from a passenger point of view, all three are very attractive for air freight, too. In addition to fine-tuning its product offering and solidifying high operational reliability, the air freight division of SWISS is stepping up its sustainability efforts, Stoll emphasized in a video conference with CFG.

Lorenzo Stoll heads Swiss World Cargo since 01APR21  –  courtesy: Swiss WorldCargo

Seoul, Toronto, Washington are new destinations
“Our Washington flights connect the two oldest democracies in the world, Switzerland and the USA,” the executive proudly emphasized. However, this politically noteworthy confession is more of a side note, because the focus is on commercial aspects. Mr. Stoll makes this clear straight away. The Washington metropolitan area is an interesting market for the pharmaceutical and high-tech industries, he says, indicating the manifold market opportunities for his freight division.
The Zurich-Washington route will be served by an A330 and will be operated daily from the end of March onwards.
A similar frequency applies to Toronto (daily flights except Mondays and Wednesdays), Canada’s economic and financial center. The city has also made a name for itself as a place with an attractive arts and cultural offering alongside a relevant pharma landscape for which the airline offers a matching premium product portfolio including SWISS Valuables, SWISS Vulnerables, and SWISS Pharma & Healthcare.
The Zurich-Toronto flights are operated by an Airbus A330, and will commence in MAY24.

MAY24 also applies to the upcoming Seoul flights, served with a passenger A340. From an air freight perspective, the transportation of high-tech products such as microchips, IT equipment and electronic components, is of particular interest there. Korea is a well-known territory for Swiss WorldCargo because “during the pandemic, we conducted 35 cargo-only flights between Incheon Airport and Zurich with our passenger fleet,” Lorenzo Stoll states.

Edelweiss adds to cargo sales
With regard to the global network, Stoll draws attention to leisure carrier Edelweiss, a subsidiary of Swiss International Air Lines. Its lower deck capacities are managed entirely by Swiss WorldCargo, as are all other freight related activities. Edelweiss serves more than 30 countries and 90 destinations, among them Vancouver, Mauritius, Punta Cana, and Tampa Bay. Others such as Cape Town, Bogotá, Denver, Cap Verde, or Kilimanjaro Airport, are seasonal.
The Edelweiss flights to Costa Rica are of particular interest from a cargo perspective. “There is a large chip factory, that is relevant for special care shipments through Edelweiss capacity,” explains Lorenzo Stoll.

Premium service
For all Edelweiss flights, the product promise to customers is that their shipments will be transported at premium conditions, which of course also applies to Swiss WorldCargo, adds the executive.
This said, Mr. Stoll indirectly confirms the headline to this article, according to which all Swiss WorldCargo shipments, without exception, belong to the Premium category. What initially may sound like a bold advertising slogan is reality when taking a closer look. Switzerland is a high-price country, leaving no niche space for cheap solutions in the aviation and air cargo industry. Meeting these self-imposed high standards at all times is also a matter of attitude from the management and the entire staff. “Our employees are simply outstanding; without their constant commitment and enormous willingness to innovate, we would not be able to maintain this high level of service we have achieved,” Stoll lauds the involvement of the freight division’s 310 employees worldwide.

High-value cargo share is continuously increasing
Touching on the new product offering introduced on 10JUL23, he reveals that it has gained a remarkable level of acceptance in the market. It is based on a modular structure and sub-divided into various layers from which the customers can choose the offers best fitting their specific needs. For instance, not every shipment is ultra-urgent, requiring high speed transportation, so shippers and forwarders can select different transportation solutions for the journey of their consignments, which translates into more options and flexibility for the customer. The new product structure also allows customers to book additional services where required, such as the re-icing of pharmaceutical shipments during transits. “From high-value goods to temperature-sensitive shipments and everything in between, we handle every commodity with expert care and precision. At Swiss WorldCargo, we extend the same level of quality and dedication to all types of shipments, ensuring excellence across our entire product pallet,” Lorenzo Stoll stated at the introduction of the new product structure in JUL23. Today, nine months later, he notes that “the ratio of high-value, care-intensive cargo is increasing continuously.”

Driving sustainability efforts forward
An increasingly important topic, given high priority in all decisions, is sustainability. Like the product philosophy, this is based on a multi-layered approach. It includes investments in modern aircraft such as the fuel saving Airbus A350, which burns 2.5 liters of kerosene per pax/100km, complemented by operational optimization whereby pilots are trained to operate aircraft as efficiently as possible, including when taxiing at airports. Powering the fleet with synthetic fuel produced by solar energy on an industrial scale is the next step in the airline’s journey to minimizing greenhouse gas emissions wherever and whenever possible. “It’s very promising technology but requires massive investment to deploy it on a larger scale,” says Lorenzo Stoll. “We will receive the first tranche of solar fuel by the end of 2024/beginning of 2025,” he announces. However, freight customers can already book SAF for the transportation of their shipments today, and thus contribute to lower greenhouse gas emissions. SWISS has set itself the goal of achieving 50% CO2 reductions by 2030, compared to 2019 levels.

Cooperation with booking portals will be intensified
Another task listed on the carrier’s agenda, is the endeavor to generate more freight shipments via electronic booking platforms. The carrier already collaborates with the booking platform, cargo.one, in three local markets (Switzerland, Germany, and USA), and this looks as though it may be expanded. The portal allows customers to book volume freight of up to one cubic meter or weight shipments below 300 kg. “The booking process via an online portal is attractive for those customers whose shipments don’t require as many additional details and conditions as other more complex consignments,” shares Mr. Stoll.

Management changes at SWISS
Of the 4 members of the Swiss International Air Lines’ Executive Board, two are leaving: These are CEO, Dieter Vranckx, and CFO, Markus Binkert. While Vranckx is moving to the Executive Board of Lufthansa Group, Binkert is leaving the Group altogether and will take over the position of CEO at SV group.
Oliver Buchhofer will become Chief Operating Officer (COO), and Dennis Weber will take over the role of Chief Financial Officer (CFO). Heike Birlenbach was named new CCO of SWISS earlier this year.
The question is still open as to who will take over Vranckx’ seat and head the Swiss carrier…

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