“Decision to be first operator was ‘not easy’
Swiss International Air Lines AG has been a champion of sorts for Bombardier Inc.’s troubled CSeries program as both the first customer to place a firm order for the aircraft in 2009 and eventually the first to fly it commercially once it’s ready next year. But the chief executive of Swiss, frustrated by a two-year delay, says it “was not an easy decision” to become the CSeries’ launch operator and he’s worried the role will just create “more work” for him and his team.
Swiss, a subsidiary of Deutsche Lufthansa AG, stepped up to the plate after the original launch operator for the CSeries, Braathens Aviation AB, backed out last year citing “increased uncertainty.”
It took more than eight months for Bombardier to name Swiss as Braathens’ replacement, and it took several meetings to convince the airline to fill the role.
“We had to evaluate if we would be capable of doing so,” Swiss CEO Harry Hohmeister said in an exclusive interview with the Financial Post from the airline’s headquarters in Zurich.
“For Swiss, which is a small entity with a small team, it was not an easy decision.”