SWISS set to soar with new upgrades


The airline industry is on the precipice of transformation. With the advent of new technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), change in demographics and bourgeoning demand for experiential treatments in flight, it needs an overhaul and a rethinking about how to do business.

SWISS International Air Lines Chief Commercial Officer, Tamur Goudarzi Pour, tells TTN Middle East in an interview that the airline is already taking steps to meet the new needs of the market.

The airline, part of The Lufthansa Group, is planning a major refurbishment of its fleet – both by adding new aircraft and new experiences to its existing offerings. The centrepiece of the new customer product, ‘SWISS Senses’, is an entirely redesigned cabin for the airline’s long-haul aircraft fleet.


Very often, when airlines start a fleet-wide refurbishment programme, how long does it take from start to finish? We want to keep that time as short as possible – that is the way to achieve product consistency.
– Tamur Goudarzi Pour

SWISS has already pumped more than CHF2 billion ($2.313 billion) into its new fleet programme.

“Very often, when airlines start a fleet-wide refurbishment programme, how long does it take from start to finish? We want to keep that time as short as possible - that is the way to achieve product consistency.”

“We are refurbishing our entire fleet – all of our First Class, Business Class, Economy Class seats, including our Premium Economy seats,” he explains.

The airline’s new Airbus A350-900s on order will be delivered with their new cabins already installed. The other planes will include a redesigned SWISS First, Business and Economy class, confirms Pour and the pioneering SWISS Premium Economy Class with its greater seat comfort and superior cabin service will remain an integral feature within the new air travel experience.

“You will see it in total beauty in 2025. We will see first proof points in 2024,” he adds.



The new concept, unveiled in May 2023, extends to SWISS’s first-ever suites, which will be offered in the First and Business class sections. Also on the cards is a human-centric lighting system, which aims to curb the effects of jet lag. In addition to these, a state-of-the-art inflight entertainment system with bigger screens will be in place, as will be free Wi-Fi for flyers in all classes.

There are fewer seats to look forward to in the upcoming overhaul, but this is good news as this means more room for travellers. In the Premium Economy section, for example, the shell seats are 48-cm in width and almost a metre in pitch. The regular economy section will also see an increase in seat pitch.

There is a caveat to the clear skies the carrier has been flying; there have been supply side constraints, including delayed aircraft deliveries and engine issues, acknowledges Pour. And there are still some logistics that need to be worked out.

“We have to secure the brick-and-mortar business for next summer. We are very stable: we have 99 per cent stability; that means in the last 12 weeks we have (had) no cancellations, which is basically important in a critical situation like in the summer, but we are not as punctual as we want to be. And that for a Swiss company is, of course, very important. It’s part of the quality promise, that’s something we have to get better at,” he concedes.

The airline has had a profitable year in 2023. By the end of 2023, it was at 87 per cent capacity. For the first nine months of 2023, SWISS generated an operating profit or Adjusted EBIT of CHF615.9 million ($709.31 million), an improvement of around 114 per cent on the prior-year period and the most robust nine-month result in the airline’s more than 20-year history. Total revenues for the nine months increased 26.4 per cent to CHF4 billion.



In the meantime, SWISS is focused on growing its operations. “We are expanding our network with new destinations. So, there’s the Toronto flight coming from Zurich. There is the Washington flight from Zurich. We will possibly open a third destination. And we will also bring those destinations that we’re not on daily yet to daily operations in 2024,” he says.

He admits that the airline has a premium price point but says there’s a structural change in what people want from their plane experiences. People are willing to spend money for what they value and what they value is a superior experience.