SWISS and the Swiss Federal Railways (SBB) are to expand their ‘Flugzug’ (‘airtrain’) rail services, which currently operate between Zurich Airport and the SBB stations in Basel and Lugano, to further routes in the course of next year. The focus here will be on connecting other major Swiss cities and tourist destinations with the SWISS route network. In embarking on their strategic collaboration, the partners are responding to a growing demand among travellers for the seamless combinability of different transport modes.

Swiss International Air Lines (SWISS) and the Swiss Federal Railways (SBB) concluded a new strategic partnership to expand their intermodal travel products within Switzerland. In doing so, the two companies are responding to a growing demand among travellers for the seamless combinability of different transport modes.

The new partnership is intended to promote rail as an integrated transport mode to take air travellers to and from SWISS’s Zurich Airport hub. At the same time, the present ‘Flugzug’ product will be made more flexible, to give customers a greater choice of Flugzug services and align these as closely as possible with their air connections.

To these ends, the present Flugzug product between Zurich Airport and the SBB stations in Basel and Lugano will be expanded to further points in combination with a SWISS flight number, to offer travellers optimum rail connections to and from the SWISS route network. The initial focus here will be on Switzerland’s further major cities and tourist destinations such as Bern, Lucerne, Andermatt, Interlaken and Zermatt.

“This intensified collaboration between ourselves and SBB will enable travellers to make optimum use of both air and rail transport wherever it makes sense to do so in economic and ecological terms,” explains SWISS Chief Executive Officer Thomas Klühr. “By expanding these Flugzug services, we can provide our customers all over Switzerland with the best possible rail connections to and from our global route network. And at the same time, we can offer our international guests a smoother and simpler journey to their Swiss destination.”

Andreas Meyer, Chief Executive Officer of SBB, is equally convinced by the collaborative approach. “Switzerland and the tourism sector will both benefit from this strategic partnership,” he says. “We want to make it as easy as possible for the customer to buy their ticket from, say, Hong Kong to Interlaken in a single booking process. This will both simplify their planning and help protect the environment.”

Stronger links for Ticino
The connections will also be further strengthened between Italian-speaking Switzerland and SWISS’s Zurich Airport hub. Bellinzona and Locarno will all be added to the Flugzug portfolio. Intermodal travel to and from Ticino will also become attractive with the opening of the Ceneri Base Tunnel in December 2020, which will shorten rail journey times by some 30 minutes on the route concerned.

Continual further Flugzug enhancements planned
As well as expanding their range of Flugzug services, SWISS and SBB will be striving to steadily further enhance their intermodal travel product – by offering more direct trains, for instance, or in their handling of any operating irregularities. The partners also plan to integrate seat reservations for the rail journey into the ticket booking process, and are further considering the option to drop-off baggage at Swiss rail stations.The strategic partnership between SWISS and SBB to gradually expand their intermodal travel product in Switzerland is a long-term undertaking. But the first technical modifications are envisaged for early 2020.