Lufthansa subsidiary Swiss explained the reasons behind its new logo and livery at a “brand experience day” this week at Zurich airport’s new Dock B.
The airline has been rolling out its new branding since October, which features the Switzerland cross inside a tailfin alongside the tagline “Our sign is a promise”.
At the event, chief commercial officer Holger Hatty said the logo was intended to emphasise the carrier’s status as the airline of Switzerland.
“‘Our sign is a promise’ is an ambition for ourselves [and an indication] of what our customers can expect from us,” he said.
Felix Rodel, Swiss’s director for UK and Ireland, added: “The old start-up cube [logo] was a household brand in Switzerland but when you ventured out, was not automatically associated with an airline. The change makes it easier to understand.”
Rodel said the new look was also intended to bring to mind characteristics traditionally attributed to Switzerland, such as reliability and attention to detail.
The rebrand has received a mixed reaction from Business Traveller readers. Hatty said: “Before the Facebook revolution, people usually talked in a limited environment. Now we have a worldwide discussion of everything, and if I make a decision I’m pretty sure someone in Indonesia will have his opinion on it and put it on the internet. If a company lets the World Wide Web decide on a strategy then I guarantee it will soon be broke.”
He added that the logo was part of Swiss’s overall strategy to focus on product quality and customer care to differentiate itself from competitors, in particular the Middle East airlines.
On February 10 the airline will start a five-times weekly service to Beijing, moving to daily in May. The route will be served by a three-class A340 aircraft. The airline will also deploy an A340 on its New York Newark route at the end of March (see online news July 28, 2011).
As for whether the airline will introduce any more routes, Hatty said Swiss was expecting two new A330-300 aircraft next year and he “wouldn’t be surprised” if one was deployed westward and one eastward.
Swiss has rolled out its new fully-flat business seat – introduced in 2009 with its first A330-300 aircraft, of which it now has 11 – across all of its long-haul fleet of A330s and A340s. Its new first class product appears only on the A330s.
Hatty said there were no plans to upgrade the older product on the A340s: “We are examining [what we will replace] our A340s with. If you know in two years’ time that you may replace the aircraft, you will not [install] the new product.” He said 2015-17 was a realistic date for the replacement of the A340 fleet.
As part of its mission to emphasis its “Swissness”, next month the carrier is launching a new “Swiss Traditions” in-flight culinary offering for business class passengers on European flights. It promises “classic and popular Swiss delights together with dishes that have their roots in famous national and cultural events”.
The day also included a look at Zurich airport’s new Dock B. Open since December, the terminal has been designed to accommodate both Schengen and non-Schengen flights and speed up the transfer process for passengers changing from one type of flight to the other.
The upper floor is dedicated to Schengen flights and the lower to non-Schengen ones. Flexible handling of both types of flights via airbridge is possible at up to nine docking bays. All gates are also equipped with self-boarding turnstiles, though they will continue to be manned.
Hatty said: “It is a great environment, modern but not too [large] – it’s just the right size and perfectly fits our onboard design. It makes transfers much easier.”
Swiss has also added a lounge in Dock B near the non-Schengen gates – for more information, click here.
At the same time, Zurich airport has opened a new centralised security building with a separate priority area for premium passengers.
Report by Michelle Mannion