SWISS re-institutes direct service to Beijing

Updated: 2012-02-13 16:19

By Wang Zhuoqiong (

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BEIJING – Swiss International Air Lines (SWISS) plans to re-institute direct service between Beijing and Zurich on Feb 12, operating five days a week until May 31 and daily thereafter.

Beijing is SWISS's third destination in China, joining Hong Kong and Shanghai. The airline closed its service between Beijing and Zurich in 2003.

SWISS will operate Airbus A340-300 aircraft from Beijing Capital International Airport Terminal 3. Flight LX 197 will depart Beijing at 6:45 am and arrive in Zurich at 10:40 am; the flight time will be 10 hours and 55 minutes. Flight LX 196 will leave Zurich at 00:30 pm and land in Beijing at 5:15 the next morning, with a flight time of 9 hours and 45 minutes.

"Our new route marks a genuine milestone in the development of our company and our network," said SWISS CEO Harry Hohmeister.

The new service also offers major opportunities for the company's business unit.

"We look forward to positioning our brand and quality offerings in Beijing … where we will offer 18 tons of cargo capacity in both directions," said Oliver Evans, chief cargo officer.

The new service also meets a strong demand from the tourist sector for a direct Beijing-Zurich connection.

In the past few years, Switzerland has proved a popular destination for Chinese travelers, with average annual growth of 25-40 percent over the past three years,

Last year, China replaced Japan as Asia's largest source of tourists to Switzerland, with roughly 350,000 visitors and 680,000 overnights.

"This daily direct link between Beijing and Zurich is a major step in the further development of outbound tourism from China to Switzerland," said Urs Eberhard, executive vice president of markets and meetings at Switzerland Tourism.

Eberhard said he expects the number of overnights to grow to 1 million in 2015 and 2 million in 2020, which would raise China from Switzerland's eighth largest source of tourists to third.