SWISS reports stable first-quarter seat load factor

11 April 2006

SWISS maintained its seat load factor at stable levels in the first three months of 2006. Systemwide seat load factor for January to March amounted to 74.4%. The 0.2-percentage-point increase on the prior-year period is all the more encouraging given that the positive impact of the Easter holiday, which fell in March in 2005 and was thus included in first-quarter results, will not be felt until April in the present year. Intercontinental seat load factor for the quarter was a slight 1.0 percentage points down year-on-year at a still-high 80.6%, while European seat load factor rose 2.4 per-centage points to 61.1%. SWISS carried around 2.2 million pas-sengers on its scheduled services in the 2006 first-quarter pe-riod, a 1.9% increase on January-to-March 2005. Systemwide seat load factor for the month of March totalled 77.9% (which compares to 78.1% for March 2005). Seat load fac-tor for intercontinental services amounted to 82.7% (prior year: 84.2%). European seat load factor was up 2.1 percentage points at 67.8%. SWISS carried 843 565 passengers on its scheduled services during the month, 2.1% more than in March 2005.

SWISS’s March seat load factor for its intercontinental services stood at 82.7%, down 1.5 percentage points from the 84.2% of March 2005. The slight decline is due largely to the fact that the positive ef-fect of the Easter holiday season will be felt one month later in 2006, in the April results. Total capacity in available seat kilometres (ASK) was 4.4% higher than for the prior-year period. Total traffic volume in revenue passenger kilometres (RPK) rose 2.5% year-on-year.Seat load factor for March 2006 on SWISS’s North Atlantic services stood at 84.1% (prior year: 88.3%). Far East services reported a seat load factor of 85.0% (prior year: 84.4%).Services to and from the Middle East saw their seat load factor in-crease to 79.0% (prior year: 76.3%). Routes to Africa registered a seat load factor of 74.0% (prior year: 78.5%). Seat load factor on services to South America increased to 88.0% (prior year: 85.2%).March seat load factor for SWISS’s European services amounted to 67.8%, an increase of 2.1 percentage points on the same month last year. While ASK capacity was only 0.2% higher than in March 2005, RPK traffic volume was up 3.4% on the prior-year period.While competition remained intense within Europe, SWISS reports a further increase in monthly seat load factors for its European routes. By using larger-capacity aircraft, the company has been able to maintain its European capacity at stable levels while simultaneously reducing the total number of flights: SWISS operated 14.4% fewer services in March 2006, for example, than in the same month last year. This helps reduce unit costs, and this in turn is giving SWISS greater competitive scope in the market arena.

The airfreight business of SWISS’s Swiss WorldCargo division showed positive overall trends in the first three months of 2006. Cargo load factor (by volume) stood at 87.8%, up 0.6 percentage points on the first quarter of 2005.