Groovy New Swiss International Air Lines Jumbo Starts Non-Stop SFO-Zurich Flights

Now, I already told you about the plans for SWISS to start “direct” non-stop flights back and forth to sister-city* Zurich six days a week, so I won’t have to remind you about the thirsty, thirsty, unlucky and unloved Airbus A340** jumbo or McKinsey and Company’s Hunter (aka Jägermeister) Strategy, the very same eggheaded strategery that finished off the predecessor of SWISS. Anyway, everything has gone as planned – that’s the news of the day.

Switzerland’s new flag carrier has followed through and put new non-stop flights on its sked as of this week. And here’s something I didn’t know – they have this San Francisco-themed livery that’s far out and groovy. Basically, this special new paint sticker job tells the story of an epic voyage from the land of dairy cows to the land of fruits and nuts, complete with a reference to the Kraken and squid-infested waters of the North Atlantic. Some are dissappointed with the Summer of Love theme but oh well.

Check it:

Click to expand

*San Francisco has lots and lots of sister cities. It ain’t no big thang, actually.

**The A340 is basically an A330 twinjet that’s been stretched and that’s had another couple of engines tacked on. (The wings had to be strengthened more than once to handle the extra engines – engineers were repeatedly surprised with how wobbly things got during testing.) A340s have had more than their fair share of freak accidents and hull losses, but they haven’t killed any of their passengers, so that’s good. Now, does Airbus wish it had done a Giant Twin instead, you know, something like the wildly successful Boeing 777? Oh hell yes. An A777 would have been awesome for Airbus. Oh well. You, as a passenger, don’t have to worry about all that, you just have to kick in a bit more to help pay for the extra avgas required for the extra engines. Oh well, enjoy your stretched-out Flying Pencil.

All the deets. (The CEO’s name is Harry Hohmeister(!), for real. Means “river master” or something, surprisingly enough)

San Francisco, CA— Mayor Gavin Newsom today welcomed Swiss International
Air Lines (SWISS) flight LX38, a playfully painted A340 making its debut on
the inaugural flight from Zurich to SFO. A host of San Francisco and Swiss
representatives met the new plane, which is decorated with a colorful San
Francisco 60’s-inspired mural complete with peace signs, musical notes and
guitars. The new SWISS service will operate six times per week, departing
SFO at 7:25 pm and arriving in Zurich at 3:40 pm the following day.  There
is no service on Tuesdays.
“Congratulations to SWISS on its new premium non-stop service from Zurich,”
said Mayor Newsom. “This new route will provide passengers with a superior
travel option to Europe as well as further cement the strong ties between
our two Sister Cities.”
SWISS is known for its impeccable service and on-time performance. The
airline offers dozens of nonstop services throughout Europe from its hub in
Zurich as well as Geneva and Basel.
“We are most pleased about this West Coast addition to our network, linking
two vital business and leisure destinations,” said Harry Hohmeister, SWISS
CEO. “We wish to thank our partners, colleagues and employees, and look
forward to serving the San Francisco community with professional and
efficient Swiss hospitality and outstanding air service.”
SFO – voted “Best Airport in North America” – is California’s gateway for
international travelers, with speedy custom lines and hundreds of flights
and connections throughout North America and beyond. SFO is ideally
situated in Northern California, with easy access to San Francisco, Wine
Country, and favorite local attractions Muir Woods and Alcatraz.
“We’re thrilled to welcome Swiss International Air Lines to San Francisco,”
said John L. Martin, Director of San Francisco International Airport. “This
new service between our sister cities offers international travelers great
options for getting to the United States while at the same time, boosting
our local economies.”
About SFO
SFO ( provides nonstop service to more than 65 US cities on
21 domestic airlines and to 32 international points on 27 international
carriers. SFO offers twice as many non-stop flights to the New York area
than all other Bay Area airports combined – making SFO the Bay Area’s
Airport of Choice. SFO was voted “North America’s Best Airport” in 2008 by
passengers for its outstanding customer service and amenities.
Swiss International Air Lines (SWISS) serves 73 destinations in 39
countries all over the world from its Zurich hub and from other Swiss
international airports in Geneva and Basel. SWISS operates an 85-aircraft
fleet. In the UK & Ireland SWISS operates 33 daily flights from London
Heathrow, London City, Birmingham International, Manchester and Dublin to
Switzerland and, via its hubs, to the world. SWISS is a member of Europe’s
biggest frequent flyer program, Miles & More, and Star Alliance.

And the city’s prenup with Zurich, after the jump 


Memorandum of Understanding
The Cities of San Francisco and Zürich
Whereas, the sister city agreement between the great Cities of San Francisco and
Zürich was originally forged on November 13, 2003; and
Whereas, both cities have continued to foster this flourishing relationship—building
global cooperation at the municipal level, promoting cultural understanding and
stimulating economic development; now
Therefore be it resolved that both Cities agree to undertake together these below
listed projects, through the auspices of The San Francisco – Zürich Initiative,
providing new opportunities for city officials and citizens to experience and explore
each other’s respective cities:
1) Actively support each city’s respective airport’s efforts to establish
non-stop air service between the San Francisco International Airport
and the Zürich International Airport
on a year-round basis.
Both the San Francisco Bay Area and the Greater Zürich Area are widely
recognized as growing gateways and both cities are committed to make it
more convenient for business and leisure customers to travel between the two
sister cities.
Non-stop air service will allow for future exchanges that develop tourism
opportunities and increased airport usage between San Francisco and Zürich.
2) Establish an artist-in-residence exchange program, which will
broaden each city’s cultural and artistic awareness and provide a
unique and invaluable platform upon which this global partnership
may be illuminated.
This program will aim to negotiate cultural differences, explore the potential
to engage in cross cultural activities, as well as to further enhance the cultural
environment in both cities.
During their residence, the artists will not only focus on their arts, but they
will also engage in interactions with local artists and residents. Through this
process, they will share their creativity and native culture with others.
Both cities will be committed to hosting open studios sessions, giving
residents an opportunity to see the works of the artists.
The program and artist selection will be carried out by The San Francisco-
Zürich Initiative.
Page 1 of 3
3)Exchange information and best practices for green stormwater
management technologies between the San Francisco Public Utilities
Commission (SFPUC) and the Entsorgung + Recycling Zürich (ERZ).

Before development, both San Francisco and Zürich had natural systems that
absorbed rainwater and infiltrated most runoff into the soil to replenish
groundwater and streams. Today, impervious surfaces such as buildings,
streets, and parking lots have covered most of these areas and prevent
rainfall infiltration. Runoff picks up pollutants like oil and debris that washes
them into sewer systems or other receiving water bodies (i.e. Zürichsee and
the San Francisco Bay).
San Francisco and Zürich are taking advantage of green stormwater
management technologies and using approaches that can help mitigate the
effects of urbanization on stormwater. These technologies and designs mimic
natural watershed processes.
Green stormwater management technologies such as swales, creek
daylighting, rainwater gardens, stormwater planters, green roofs, pervious
concrete and green streets can be incorporated into various urban designs
such as tree planters, container gardens, traffic calming devices, parks and
schools to create multi-purpose designs that beautify, increase pedestrian
safety, and provide either passive or active recreational opportunities.
Through this exchange, the SFPUC and the ERZ are committed to actively
pursue ways to share information, staff and best practices about green
technologies for managing stormwater. Through this program administered
by the SFPUC, we will enhance environmental quality and reduce pollutants.
4) Support the establishment of formal dialogues between San Francisco
and Zürich’s biotechnology and life sciences research institutions
the mission of promoting the field of stem cell research.
The State of California is a leader in driving stem cell research forward
through the creation of the San Francisco-based California Institute for
Regenerative Medicine (CIRM). CIRM is administering the US$3 billion in
general obligation bonds for stem cell research authorized by voters with the
passage of Proposition 71 in November 2004.
Through the auspices of the sister city relationship, San Francisco and Zürich
will encourage and promote the sharing of innovative experiences in stem cell
research and encourage efforts to increase scientific cooperation through
exchange programs and joint research projects.
5) Pursue a program to exchange governmental personnel. Each city will
host management or staff personnel for a time that adequately allows for the
sharing of best practice solutions to practical problems. The final purpose will
be to achieve the fostering of long-term knowledge sharing between San
Francisco and Zürich’s city agencies. Some areas of specific interest are:
water, sanitation, environmental protection, health services and emergency
management and preparedness (including police and fire departments).
Page 2 of 3
6) Continued commitment to supporting the highly successful student
between San Francisco and Zürich. Since they began in 2004,
these home stays have provided students with an opportunity to develop their
understanding and experience with the American and Swiss cultures.
7) Both Cities agree to entertain additional proposals so long as they are
able to be adequately funded and meet the criteria of offering mutual
benefit and promoting the mission of The San Francisco-Zürich
In witness hereof, the Cities of San Francisco and Zürich, as represented by their
respective Mayors, hereby sign this agreement on January 23, 2007, at Zürich City
Hall, Switzerland.
Gavin Newsom
Mayor of San Francisco
Elmar Ledergerber
Mayor of Zürich

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2 Responses to “Groovy New Swiss International Air Lines Jumbo Starts Non-Stop SFO-Zurich Flights”

  1. Marco Cassina says:

    I think you have strong opinions about the a340 v. 777 rivalry, but you are overstating your case. The a340 has been a wildly successful plane. I am a former Boeing employee and love the company, as well as the planes they make. (Not to mention that fact that I have a lot of stock in the company).

    But the A340/330 project kept us up at night. Both customers and passengers loved the planes. As you probably know, sales were fantastic for airbus and it wasn’t until the 500 and 600 versions of the a340 that they ran into trouble with customers. But by this time, it was a senior plane and other planes were in development. Knowledge of the A330 project actually caused us, Boeing, to speed up development of the 777 at huge cost. Poor Airbus did a terrible job with the media, particularly in the US. Boeing did a fantastic job of selling the 777 (I worked in this department I must add), when in fact Airbus was selling the most fuel efficient wide-body twin engine…and they still are. At any rate, the planes were both very successful for Airbus and even with great sales for the 777, we did not have any answer for airbus until the 787 project. They had destroyed sales of the 747 and were also selling a very successful twin-engine wide body. The 777 had been very costly to develop and for many years, Boeing Commercial Airplanes was making it’s money from the 737 (even though airbus was again selling more single aisle planes)

    Despite how it was portrayed in the media as a battle over the future of air travel between the 787 and the A380, in reality, the 787 was a response to the the fantastic sales of the A340/330…which were increasing. LIttle did we know that there would be a resurgence in sales of the 777 with the negative press that Airbus received with the A380 project…just at the time that the A340-500 and 600 were getting negative press from customers. With fantastic sales of the 787 and a few other tricks up their sleeve, Boeing is well positioned for the next 15 years. But with the A319-21 and the A340/330, Airbus had a fantastic run.

  2. sfcitizen says:

    I don’t know, it looks like the run for the A340 has ended right about now in 2010. It hasn’t been replaced, really, demand for it dried up. It seems…