Swiss to use bmi slots for Geneva-Heathrow return?

In the murky world of slot sales, trades or leases at London’s Heathrow Airport it is often tough to find out what really is going on.

That is currently the case for the announcement today that Swiss is returning to the Heathrow-Geneva market after a six year hiatus with a six-times-a-day schedule.

SwissA320_resized.jpg

Now my assumption is that these slots are coming from fellow Lufthansa Group partner struggling UK carrier bmi – that’s not a tough call really is it! And quite frankly using these slots on the profitable UK-Switzerland market makes sense from the group perspective.

The interesting background to this story is that Swiss pulled off Geneva and sold Heathrow slots to British Airways in 2003 as part of the price for entering the oneworld Alliance and securing some much-needed cash from BA.

Swiss UK country manager Gregor Koncilja (below) is careful not to say anything about the slot issue, but regardless he is clearly delighted to expand his Heathrow offering with the Geneva route.

Gregor Koncilja-003-sm_resized.JPGSwiss also operates six times a day to Zurich from Heathrow, as well as seven times a day from London City Airport to Zurich. Its six time daily service from City to Geneva will go down by two flights when Heathrow begins.

Rather uniquely Swiss can sell both airports on one ticket, with some travellers jetting off from City to Switzerland directly from the offices in downtown London, but returning to the west of London Heathrow for more convenient access to home.

The new route will be operated with one Swiss Airbus A319 and a bmi A320 and the two carriers will also forge a wider codeshare pact for UK-Switzerland flights.

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