Threat to freighters as parts shortages hobble airlines, manufacturers and MRO
Buoyed by strong passenger demand, airlines have ramped up their schedules aggressively for the summer ...
It’s an important day in Zurich. First – and probably foremost from an air cargo point of view – Swiss’ first 777-300ER touched down on its maiden flight from Seattle.
Yes, airlines order planes. And yes, there’s a fanfare. This one, however, was slightly different. For one, this is the first in an order of nine. Five more are arriving before August, with the remaining three next year.
Secondly, this was about more than just the airline – this was a thrill for the nation. Swiss itself of course invited guests – but the general public, plane spotters and passengers arrived in their hundreds, cameras at the ready, hoping for a glimpse of Switzerland’s new pride and joy. A further 5,000 people were expected to visit the aircraft over the weekend.
There was a long queue to get to the airport’s observation deck as the aircraft – accompanied by jets from the Swiss air force through Swiss air space – flew by once and then gently landed at 9.10am. It was greeted first by Customs, waiting for a nice fat cheque for the import tax – Boeing already happily clutching its final payment before the aircraft could leave Seattle.
But the first of a new fleet was not the only occasion for Swiss. It’s Harry Hohmeister’s last day as CEO – him and COO Rainer Hiltebrand are off to the mothership in Frankfurt, leaving their Swiss family behind. New CEO Thomas Kluhr, who starts Monday, was presented with an old aircraft steering panel, to drive the airline forward. “No looking back,” warned Mr Hohmeister.
These speeches were made in the brand new, as yet unopened business lounge – a happily placed slice of airport, with doors opening on to a veranda with a great vista for plane lovers, over the runway on one side, and aircraft parking stands on the other.
It didn’t end there – it was also the opening of the first class lounge. OK, it’s not a cargo story. But in the interests of investigative journalism, The Loadstar was forced to venture into the champagne-mellowed, high-class luxury lounge. It’ll no doubt be both the first and the last time The Loadstar ever gone first class –
but yes, it looks pretty good.
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