Swiss will be taking delivery of its first B777s by this time next year.
Initially, the airline ordered six B777-300ERs, but local media reports that Swiss will tomorrow order an additional three aircraft.
This development is newsworthy because Swiss will move from being a niche to a volume carrier.
The B777-300ER will accommodate many more passengers than do either of Swiss' current long-haul fleet of A340-300s and A330s. The new Boeings will allow Swiss to retire its older and less-efficient A340s.
But the extra capacity means that Swiss' sales people are going to have to work even harder to fill an increased number of seats — the strength of the Swiss franc obliges some canny Swiss to cross the borders into France, Germany or Italy and take advantage of lower Euro-priced long-distance tickets with rival carriers.
Swiss says it will operate its B777-300ERs on its busiest routes. From Zurich, these would include Los Angeles, Sao Paulo, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Beijing, Singapore and Johannesburg.
It is believed the airline will install a three-class layout (first, business and economy) on its B777-300ERs, but it is still unclear what configurations it will provide in the economy class cabin.
Almost all carriers who have ordered the B777-300ER have gone ten-abreast (see news, June 2013). And judging by the comments made by Swiss CEO Harry Hofmeister two years ago, that is the economy configuration it favours.