SWISS reports improved load factors for 2004

1 November 2005

SWISS recorded a seat load factor for 2004 of 74.9%, an improvement of 2.5 percentage points on the previous year’s result. Seat load factor for intercontinental services rose 3.3 percentage points to 81.3%; and the 60.8% seat load factor reported for the European network was also a 1.2-percentage-point improvement on the previous year. SWISS carried some 9.2 million passengers in 2004. Seat load factor for the last quarter of the year amounted to 74.3%, a slight 0.7-percentage-point decline on the prior-year period. Cargo load factor for 2004 stood at 86.6%, a year-on-year improvement of 2.2 percentage points.

The modifications effected to the SWISS route network as part of the broader corporate restructuring in 2003 had a positive overall impact on the company’s 2004 load factors. Seat load factor for the year as a whole amounted to 74.9% – a 2.5-percentage-point improvement on the same figure for the previous year. The airline carried some 9.2 million passengers during the year. No meaningful comparison of absolute passenger figures can be made in view of the decrease in production resulting from adjustments to the route network. SWISS offered 17.9% fewer available seat kilometres (ASK) in 2004 than it had the previous year. But the associated year-on-year decline in revenue passenger kilometres (RPK) flown was limited to 15.0%. Seat load factor for the year improved accordingly. Seat load factor for December 2004 stood at 73.5%, a 1.1-percentage-point decline on the same month of the previous year.

Seat load factor for 2004 on intercontinental services amounted to 81.3%, up 3.3 percentage points on its prior-year equivalent. Available seat kilometre production was 18.1% down on 2003, while the decline in revenue seat kilometres flown was restricted to 14.7%. The positive load factor trend that had persisted since March 2004 on the intercontinental network was maintained until the end of the year: the 81.8% December seat load factor for intercontinental services was an 0.5-percentage-point increase on the prior-year period.

Seat load factor for 2004 on European services amounted to 60.8%, an improvement of 1.2 percentage points on the previous year. While available seat kilometre capacity was 17.4% lower than for 2003, the associated decline in revenue passenger kilometres flown was stemmed to 15.7%. The continuing strong pressure from competitors – especially from the low-cost carriers – had its impact on SWISS’s European load factor performance in December, too. Seat load factor for the month amounted to 55.5%, down 2.6 percentage points on the same period in 2003. The decline was slighter than those which had been sustained in the summer and autumn months; but SWISS has not yet achieved the desired reversal of the trend here. On a brighter note, additional passenger volume was generated among European connecting passengers in December compared to previous months.

Fourth-quarter results

SWISS carried a little over 2.1 million passengers in the fourth quarter of 2004 and posted a seat load factor for the period of 74.3%, a slight 0.7-percentage-point decline on the prior-year period. Seat load factor on European services amounted to 56.8%, 4.9 percentage points down on the last quarter of 2003, while the 82.4% seat load factor recorded for intercontinental services was a two-percentage-point improvement on the same period.

Swiss WorldCargo

The cargo business of Swiss WorldCargo also showed positive overall trends for 2004. Cargo load factor (by volume) for the year stood at 86.6%, a year-on-year increase of 2.2 percentage points. Swiss WorldCargo’s strategy of focusing consistently on niche product markets is clearly having a beneficial effect on business development and results.

Key SWISS scheduled services results for 2004
Total passengers carried 9‘187‘756
Total flights performed 143’650
Available seat-kilometres (million) 27’483
Revenue seat-kilometres (million) 20’596
Seat load factor 74.9%

For SWISS’s full traffic statistics and further comments, please visit the www.swiss.com website (“About SWISS” > “Investor Relations” > “Traffic Reports”).