SWISS aircraft named “Luzern” takes off for Tokyo

24 April 2007

A SWISS Airbus A340 with registration HB-JMG was today named “Luzern” as part of the 50th anniversary of air transport service between Switzerland and Japan. Lucerne mayor Urs W. Studer performed the naming ceremony, which was also attended by Lucerne Tourism director Marcel Perren and SWISS CEO Christoph Franz. The newly named aircraft took off for Tokyo at 13:00.

Exactly 50 years ago today, the first aircraft operating a scheduled commercial flight from Switzerland to Japan took off for Tokyo. Non-stop connections were not possible at that time, so the 62-seat DC-6B deployed on this flight made interim stops in Athens, Karachi, Bombay, Bangkok and Manila before arriving in Tokyo. A second weekly service was launched in the summer of 1957, touching down en route in Karachi, Calcutta, Bangkok and Hong Kong. Today SWISS uses an Airbus A340 for daily flights between Zurich and Tokyo and is the only airline to offer non-stop service between the two countries.

Picturesque lakeside Lucerne is one of Switzerland’s major tourist attractions and extremely popular with Japanese visitors in particular. To mark the 50th anniversary of air service between Switzerland and Japan, Lucerne mayor Urs W. Studer officially named the SWISS long-haul aircraft after the city he represents. “With one tourist in three arriving in Switzerland by air, an extensive intercontinental network is of great significance for Lucerne as one of Switzerland’s top tourism locations,” he commented during the naming ceremony. “As Switzerland’s national airline, SWISS provides these worldwide links. It is therefore a great honour for me to name a SWISS aircraft after the city of Lucerne.”

“Lucerne is not only a wonderful city. It is of great importance for Switzerland’s tourism industry,” noted SWISS CEO Christoph Franz. “As the only airline that connects Switzerland and Japan directly, SWISS transports more than 100,000 passengers annually between Zurich and Tokyo, many of whom visit Lucerne during their time in Switzerland.”
The city name appears on the exterior of the aircraft. Inside the cabin, the city’s coat of arms is on display for passengers to see.

Also in attendance at the naming ceremony were invited spectators from Lucerne and the Zurich Airport region. The numerous people present responded enthusiastically to the event and the stimulating airport atmosphere.