Swiss has announced a new ‘Flugzug’ rail service between Lugano and Zurich.
It will replace the previous air link between these two cities.
But whether or not Swiss is embracing the ‘flight shame’ movement on this key feeder route by helping passengers take fewer flights is a moot point.
That’s because, as I reported recently, this Swiss domestic route had been operated under contract by Slovenia’s Adria Airways.
Last week the airline filed for bankruptcy, which is why there is no longer a Lugano-Zurich air link.
With Flugzug, Swiss will be providing 14 daily rail links in both directions, which is many times more than the number of air services previously provided.
However, although no decision has been made, an air link may reappear in the future.
Swiss says that Flugzug is to be a “pragmatic interim solution” and that it is working with rail operator SBB on optimising the service, which is bookable for travel from October 16.
Despite growing flight shame, this air service could resume in future for two reasons.
1) According to rail.ch the rail journey through the Alps takes upwards of two hours and 38 minutes and involves a change at Zurich Hbf.
2) Lugano and Ticino lie much closer to nearby Milan Malpensa than they do to the Swiss hub at Zurich across the Alps.
So would Swiss not be more concerned that some of its lucrative business market would use Malpensa instead?
As readers will know, Malpensa is Italy’s business gateway and is served by many long-haul international airlines in addition to Alitalia.
Already Emirates (which operates an A380 from Malpensa to New York JFK, Dubai and destinations beyond its Gulf hub) provides, according to one of our Forum contributors, a complimentary chauffeur-driven limo service for premium class travellers taking its flights from Malpensa.
Business Traveller will keep readers updated with developments.