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SWISS cuts losses but remains in the red

Last year SWISS carried almost six million passengers, 22.6% more than in 2020 © Keystone / Gaetan Bally

Swiss International Air Lines (SWISS) has posted an operating loss of CHF427.7 million ($465 million) for 2021. However, this is a third less than the CHF653.8 million lost in 2020.

This content was published on March 3, 2022 - 10:01
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“The repercussions of the coronavirus pandemic substantially depressed the annual results […] for the 2021 business year, too,” the company said in a statementExternal link published on Thursday. “Despite this, SWISS was able to significantly reduce its operating loss from its prior-year level, thanks to the transformation it initiated and to comprehensive cost-saving measures.”

Operating income rose 13.7% to CHF2.1 billion, with a “substantial improvement” in the fourth quarter, which resulted in positive cash flow, However, revenue is still less than half of what it was in 2019.

Last year SWISS carried almost six million passengers, 22.6% more than in 2020, and operated more than 56,000 flights, an increase of 17.3% on the previous year. Demand picked up in the summer, while cargo business remains buoyant, it said.

Transformation

The company’s transformation process is continuing. By 2022, SWISS intends to increase its capacity to 80% of the 2019 level and “raise the flight schedule’s stability”, said CEO Dieter Vranckx.

In terms of liquidity, SWISS has used 85% of the CHF1.5 billion credit granted by the government in the context of the pandemic. The company reduced this amount at the end of the year. SWISS aims to be cash flow positive by 2022. CFO Markus Binkert said the restructuring should save CHF500 million per year.

In order to adapt to the coronavirus pandemic, SWISS launched a reorganisation in 2021 which involved reducing the fleet by 15% and eliminating 1,700 full-time positions by the end of last year.

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