Swiss stops partnership talks with InterSky

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Swiss International Air Lines has called off a planned co-operation with Austrian regional carrier InterSky for two feeder routes to Zurich.

The carriers had been in "deep" negotiations about an interline agreement for InterSky's routes from Zurich to Salzburg and Graz, says Swiss. But the mainline carrier then decided to pull out of the talks, because "various commercial aspects... in the current market environment" pointed against such a partnership.

InterSky responds that Swiss - which is a wholly owned Lufthansa subsidiary - terminated the negotiations because the interline agreement would not have been compatible with the German parent group network, which also includes Austrian Airlines.

InterSky says it will continue operating the Salzburg-Zurich route, which was opened in early April.

But it is not clear whether the service from Graz will be continued.

The Bregenz-headquartered carrier increased the frequency on the Graz-Zurich route from two to three flights per day in late March, and planned to station a 70-seat ATR 72-600 in the Austrian city from June.

Both measures together would have doubled the capacity on the Graz-Zurich route, after it has thus far been operated with 50-seat Bombardier Dash 8 Q300s.

The decision to call off the interline negotiations with InterSky is "no indicator for any fundamental change of our co-operation policy," says Swiss, which is partnering with a number of carriers, including Zurich-based wet-lease operator Helvetic Airways.

Parent Lufthansa has ended a number of regional partnerships in recent years - most notably with Augsburg Airways and defunct Contact Air - to consolidate its European network.