The skewed number comparison of Swiss

Markus Binkert, CFO of Swiss (Bild: Media Service)

The airline Swiss has presented its latest half-year results. However, the circle of numbers gives a distorted picture of the situation.

The Swiss flagship airline soars over the loss zone again. The premium carrier can look back on an operating profit of 67 million Swiss francs in the first half of 2022. There is no question that after the approximately 400 million Swiss francs in operating loss in the same period of the previous year, these are definitely positive tones again.

The airline, which belongs to the German Lufthansa Group, rejoiced in the communiqué published last Thursday that it carried around 5.3 million passengers from January to June, more than five times as many as in the same period last year.

More bookings

Swiss also carried out around 47,000 flights, which was at least 3.5 times more than in the previous year, it said.

With the number of seat-kilometres sold, which rose by a whopping 422.1 percent in the reporting period, the airline also impressively illustrated the high-demand booking situation.

«Improved cost structures also contributed to leaving the loss zone again,» Swiss CFO Markus Binkert is quoted as saying. «This also enabled us to repay the bank loan guaranteed by the federal government in the second quarter before the end of the term,» emphasized the manager.

Improper basis of comparison

So, is everything back to normal? No way. After all, what does it mean to have increased the business figures by several hundred percent when the comparative year was almost completely ruined due to the biggest aviation crisis in recent decades?

Wouldn’t one have to make a different comparison of numbers in order to be able to better assess the business situation? Certainly. therefore compares the current semester results of Swiss with the results of the first half of 2019. This period was a more-or-less ‘normal’ business period, at least in terms of travel and the coronavirus pandemic that had not yet broken out.

Change from plus to minus sign

A completely different picture emerges when it comes to the comparative values for the Lufthansa subsidiary. Operating income in the second quarter of 2022 fell by 22.5 percent compared to the second quarter of 2019 to 1.1 billion Swiss francs. The operating result from April to June fell by around 42 percent to 114.4 million Swiss francs.

And the operating profit for the entire first half of the year, at 67 million Swiss francs, was still around 73 percent below the figure for the first half of 2019.

The 47,000 flights mentioned were around 36 percent below the figure for the first half of 2019. At 5.3 million, the number of passengers carried was still around 40 percent below the comparative value.

And the seat load factor, i.e. an indicator for the degree of utilization of the available capacity, was still 8.4 percentage points behind at 73.6 percent.

Provocation for pilots

There is still work to be done for Swiss – at least as the other view of the number chain illustrates – to get back to pre-crisis levels. In their outlook, the airline management also warns that kerosene prices will continue to be very high and that the economy will cool down.

But the management itself is responsible for some other clouds in the Swiss flight sky. The airline itself had terminated the collective employment contract with the Aeropers Pilots’ Association from 2018 on the first possible date on March 31, 2022.

The newly-negotiated contract was rejected by around 80 percent and the signs now point to a strike. This could push the recovery of the comparative values from 2019 even more far into the future.


The skewed number comparison of Swiss

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *