Helvetic Airways believes that the crisis is an opportunity. The Swiss airline is expanding its capacity with Embraer E195-E2 and introducing an innovation.
The Swiss regional airline was as so many others hard hit by the corona crisis. Helvetic Airways is primarily active as a wet-leasing provider, eight aircraft are alone reserved for flights on behalf of Swiss. And that business collapsed completely.
The airline therefore had to ground its fleet and apply for short-time work for its employees. Thanks to cost-cutting measures and liquidity support from the private owner, however, the airline considers herself well prepared for the future – even if she will be smaller than planned. Helvetic Airways planned to hire 100 new employees. This is not happening. «But we are not making anyone redundant either», CEO Tobias Pogorevc said on Wednesday (July, 15).
Back in August for Swiss
There are also the first rays of hope. «We’ll be flying for Swiss again from August onwards», said Pogorevc. The airline also mainly operates charter flights for tour operators. But it will also be flying on behalf of Flybair.
Helvetic Airways is also daring to innovate in order to keep its staff busy and generate some income. The airline calls its new product pop-up flights. It offers short-term flights to European destinations at attractive prices – with or without hotel accommodation. The destinations planned so far are Tivat in Montenegro and the island Brač in Croatia, and the trips will last around two to three days.
Embraer E2 as ideal aircraft
Helvetic Airways is also continuing to push ahead with fleet renewal. The regional airline has already taken over five E2 jets. Seven of Embraer’s new aircraft are still to be delivered. However, delivery has been slightly delayed. Instead of in June 2021, the fleet in will now be completed by the end of 2021.
Helvetic Airways has decided against cancelling orders. With the E2 jets from Embraer they own very efficient and low-emission aircraft. This is a great advantage. Many large airlines in Europe have received state aid and have to repay loans, says Pogorevc. Therefore they will not be able to invest in modern airplanes for some time. «Here we have the right product at the right time.»
New opportunities in the charter market
Helvetic Airways is therefore even switching to the larger version with four aircraft. In the end it will have eight Embraer E190-E2 and four E195-E2. The E195-E2 will have 134 seats, 24 more than the E190-E2. There will be some E190 left as a reserve.
This will also allow the company to develop new markets, says Pogorevc. «The E2 jets can reach Africa and the Middle East.» …which would open up new opportunities in the charter market.