Swiss International Airlines (formerly Crossair) on May 28 took delivery of the final Embraer ERJ-145 of a firm order for 25, thus completing the first phase of a fleet-renewal program scheduled to introduce the first production 70-seat Embraer 170 next spring. Also the 600th Embraer regional jet delivered, the 50-seat jet flew from São José dos Campos, Brazil, to Basel, Switzerland, via Natal, Brazil, the Cap Verde Islands and Casablanca.
Since taking its first ERJ-145 in March 2000, Swiss has logged 69,000 flight hours and 55,000 cycles on its Brazilian regional jet fleet. In the meantime, it retired the last 14 of its Saab 340 turboprops and laid plans to begin discarding its 28 Saab 2000s, four of which it expects to return to the manufacturer this year. Next year the airline plans to take delivery of 14 of the 30 Embraer 170s it ordered, followed by the first six of thirty 108-seat Embraer 190s in 2004, 16 in 2005 and the final eight in 2006. The first Embraer 190 deliveries will mark the start of its plan to replace its Avro RJ fleet, which now consists of four RJ85s and 15 RJ100s.
Some six months after accepting flag-carrier duties from the bankrupt Swissair, Swiss has seen better than expected financial progress, thanks largely to the performance of its regional business. During this year’s first fiscal quarter, Swiss logged a loss of SFr190 million ($122 million)–some $64 million less than projected in its December business plan. Although yields for the quarter ended lower than the previous year’s levels, they registered 5 percent higher than budgeted predictions.