Swiss regional airline Baboo, based in Geneva, and Darwin Airline, headquartered at Lugano Airport in southern Switzerland, an-nounced in late November that they have decided to merge. In fact, the move looked more like a takeover by Darwin of a competitor plagued by a notorious lack of profits.
BA CityFlyer began flying its first Embraer E190 out of London City Airport last month, on a regular route to Edinburgh, Scotland. The E190 recently gained approval to fly the steep approach into the London Stolport, where Switzerland’s Baboo flew the type’s inaugural LCY service on February 10 from Geneva.
Barely 10 days after Embraer’s E190 gained certification to fly the steep approach into London City Airport, Switzerland’s Baboo became the first airline to take advantage of the new capability when it flew one of its three 100-seaters between Geneva and the single-runway Stolport on February 10. The airplane replaced one of Baboo’s pair of Bombardier Q400s for the landmark flight.
Switzerland’s regional scheduled airlines seem relatively well prepared to face a passenger slump expected to last through next year. After a frantic build-up period in the early years of the current decade, followed by a shakeout, the four majors appear entrenched in their respective markets.
Swiss regional airline Baboo is consolidating activities following a hectic 18 months in which the carrier appointed new management, adopted a new brand and introduced jet equipment while accommodating volatile fuel prices and the recession. As such, it provides an example of the flexibility a nimble-footed small airline can bring to the marketplace.
Major structural changes announced by Swiss International Airlines in June include a considerable reduction of the company’s regional network with the start of its winter timetable, in late October. But while Swiss frantically clutches for a financial lifeline, there appears no shortage of newcomers willing to fill the airline’s shoes.