SWISS returned to profit in the first six months of 2022 and posted an operating result of CHF 67.0 million for the period. The encouraging business developments that had been seen in the first few months of the year strengthened further in the second-quarter period. The Airline of Switzerland benefited in particular from sizeable booking demand and from the improved profitability provided by its completed restructuring activities. SWISS transported some 5.3 million passengers in the first six months of 2022, five times as many as it had carried in the prior-year period. The increase was reflected in first-half revenues, which totalled CHF 1.8 billion. Despite the likelihood of an economic slowdown, SWISS is also confident of returning to profit in its 2022 full-year results.
After some initial setbacks owing to the Omicron coronavirus variant in the first few weeks of 2022, Swiss International Air Lines (SWISS) saw the first signs of renewed growth in its booking volumes as early as the first-quarter period. The positive trend strengthened in the course of the second quarter; and first-half earnings were further boosted by the cost optimizations achieved through the company’s restructuring activities. Higher fuel costs were partially offset by the steep increase in customers’ travel activities and by higher ticket prices. Cargo business also remained buoyant, and again made a key contribution to overall financial results. Adjusted EBIT for the first half of 2022 amounted to CHF 67.0 million, a substantial CHF 465 million improvement on its prior-year level (H1 2021: CHF -398.2 million) that enabled a return to operating profit earlier than projected. Total revenues were raised 179.7 per cent to CHF 1.8 billion (H1 2021: CHF 659.3 million). First-half capacity was at 62 per cent of that of the comparable period in 2019; by contrast, first-half capacity in 2021 was at some 26 per cent of its 2019 level.
“We are delighted to be back in profit again after just the first six months of this year, and to have achieved this despite our still reduced capacities,” says SWISS Chief Financial Officer Markus Binkert. “The combination of substantial pent-up travel demand, higher ticket prices and our improved cost structures has had a very beneficial impact on our liquidity situation over the past few months. This also enabled us to terminate our bank loan facility which had been guaranteed by the Swiss Confederation ahead of time in the course of the second quarter.”
Positive trend strengthened in the second-quarter period
The positive business trend which had been witnessed in the first few months of this year strengthened significantly in the second-quarter period. A steep rise in demand prompted a substantial increase in revenues, which, at CHF 1.1 billion, were more than triple their prior-year level (Q2 2021: CHF 359.7 million). The revenue growth combined with the positive effects of the restructuring actions taken to produce a second-quarter Adjusted EBIT of CHF 114.4 million, an improvement of almost CHF 312 million on the prior-year period (Q2 2021: CHF -197.2 million).
Strong growth in passenger volumes
Passenger numbers saw strong growth in the first half-year. SWISS transported some 5.3 million travellers between January and June, over five times the volume of the prior-year period. More than 47,000 flights were performed over the same six months, around 3.5 times as many as in the first half of 2021. SWISS offered 137.1 per cent more first-half capacity systemwide in 2022 in available seat-kilometre (ASK) terms, while total first-half traffic volume, measured in revenue passenger-kilometres (RPK), was up 422.1 per cent on its prior-year level. Systemwide seat load factor for the first-half period amounted to 73.6 per cent, an improvement of 40.2 percentage points on the prior-year period.
SWISS on track for full-year profitability
After a second quarter which saw strong travel demand, booking levels also look favourable for the rest of the summer season. However, fuel prices are likely to remain very high and a cooling of the economy is also expected. Shortages of resources continue to pose major challenges, too, both to airlines and to the entire air transport sector. But with its sound structure and cost base, SWISS can look ahead with confidence to the second half-year.
“Thanks to the restructuring that we conducted last year, SWISS stands today on solid financial foundations,” says CEO Dieter Vranckx. “And in posting these positive first-half results, we have kept our word to our stakeholders. With this stability, we can invest once again in our product, in further improving our customer services and in our own personnel and therefore retract the crisis response measures which we agreed with our employees in Switzerland earlier than planned.”