Swiss is one of Europe’s most profitable airlines. So why is it so intent on reform?
Issue Overview

A Nervous Champion: Swiss is one of Europe’s most profitable airlines. So why is it so intent on reform?

easyJet

A Nervous Champion: Swiss is one of Europe’s most profitable airlines. So why is it so intent on reform?

April 27th, 2015 at 9:26 AM EDT
3 min read

Issue Overview

You can set your Swiss watch to it: Year in and year out, Swiss International Air Lines—sometimes it just calls itself “Swiss”—emerges as the most profitable airline in the Lufthansa Group. It does better than Austrian Airlines, better than Brussels Airlines, better than Germanwings, better than British Midland (or did when it was still around) and better than the Lufthansa-branded airline itself. Not unlike the Swiss economy relative to the economies of Switzerland’s troubled neighbors, Swiss is a rare legacy airline that consistently thrives. Last year, in fact, its 7% operating margin was its best in three years and even matched that of the high-flying International Airlines Group (IAG)—yes, the same IAG that’s enjoying all sorts of tailwinds: lots of favorable U.S. exposure, low exposure to troubled Asian markets, a strong U.K. economy, the fruits of dramatic cost cutting in Spain, limited threats from Gulf carriers (Qatar Airways is more friend than foe) and limited threats from LCCs (along with British Airways and Iberia, IAG itself owns Vueling, one of the biggest and strongest LCCs).

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