September 21 2021  |  Airline & Terminal News

SWISS sees increase in business travelers following easing of US entry provisions

By Jane Hobson

Following the recent announcement from the Biden administration that the US will ease series of restrictions on vaccinated travelers, SWISS says the airline is already seeing an increasing demand for leisure and business air travel.

"North America is the most important air travel market of all for Swiss International Air Lines (SWISS)," reads the September 21 press release. "The authorities in the USA have now announced the lifting from November of the present restrictions on entry to the country for Europeans, provided they are fully COVID-vaccinated."

"We warmly welcome the easing of the US entry provisions that have recently been communicated,” said SWISS CCO Tamur Goudarzi Pour. "We have a wide range of offers and services, especially for the changing needs and demands of our business travelers.”

SWISS is reporting a substantial increase in the proportion of business travellers among its inflight guests, particularly among Swiss-based small and medium-sized enterprises, which traditionally have a very strong need for personal business contacts. The business community is returning to greater travel activity to and from both European and North American destinations. While still operating at lower capacities, the extensive SWISS route network has now been restored to cover more than 90 percent of the destinations which the airline was serving from Zurich and Geneva in 2019.

Expanded lounge offer, flexible rebooking provisions and status extensions
In response to the rising demand, SWISS is expanding its current lounge offer at Zurich Airport, and will be opening its SWISS Alpine Lounge for Senators and Star Gold travellers between 6:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. daily from October 7 onwards. SWISS passengers are already offered Zurich’s Lounge Center A including its First Class Lounge and the Dock E Senator Lounge, both of which will also now have extended opening hours.

SWISS is also offering its passengers a host of accommodating terms and conditions to give them greater travel flexibility. These include flexible rebooking options (based on Class of travel) if they are unable to take their originally booked flight for reasons such as changed national entry provisions. SWISS is also extending the present status of its Miles & More members by a further year, enabling them to continue to enjoy frequent traveller benefits even if they would no longer qualify for these on the basis of their current travel activity.

Testing facilities at Zurich and Geneva airports
As has been the case to date, all travellers arriving in Switzerland who have been COVID-vaccinated or have contracted and recovered from COVID-19 may enter the country without the need to quarantine, while all non-immunized travellers may only enter upon presentation of a recent negative COVID test result. Under new provisions introduced on September 20, such persons must also provide the authorities with the results of a further such test conducted in Switzerland between four and seven days after their arrival. Zurich Airport is home to several COVID testing facilities in both its public and its airside zones. COVID tests are also available at Geneva Airport. All persons arriving in Switzerland must also continue to complete the requisite Passenger Locator Form with their personal contact details.

Carbon-neutral travel
For passengers wishing to offset the carbon dioxide emissions that are generated by air travel activities, SWISS offers, via the Compensaid platform, the opportunity to compensate for these or to purchase a corresponding volume of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) to reduce carbon emissions. The platform also permits the two options to be combined. SWISS offers Europe-wide corporate rates that already include CO2 offsetting. Thanks to its travelres’ environmental commitment via Compensaid and in collaboration with various partner companies, SWISS was able this summer to establish the first-ever integrated logistics chain for importing SAF to Switzerland. SWISS thus became the first commercial airline to use sustainable aviation fuel in its scheduled flight operations from Switzerland.

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