This Summer, Francisco Sá Carneiro Airport presents new reinforcements aboard SWISS International Airlines. The airline, which is part of the Lufthansa group, now flies a total of 34 weekly connections between Porto and the Swiss cities of Zurich and Geneva, 14 more connections than in 2019. Betting on Invicta means a 70% increase in operations between Switzerland and the one that was considered the best European Airport in 2022. Overall, Lufthansa grows its activity from Porto by 40%, with 2.200 seats and 91 flights every week.
For the councillor responsible for Tourism and Internationalization, this bet “only shows that our region and our city are positioning themselves better and better”. “Everyone has been doing a good job. It is a recognition. We must be satisfied with what we have grown compared to the rest of the country”, said Catarina Santos Cunha, at the presentation session of the new SWISS flights, this Monday morning, at Jardim Botânico.
The Swiss airline now has 14 more weekly flights from Porto, ten to Zurich, and four to Geneva, a total of 750 seats, in what the Chief Executive of sales of the Lufthansa group for Portugal assures to be “the biggest increase that SWISS is making in Western Europe”. Among the news is a morning flight that departs from Francisco Sá Carneiro Airport to Zurich at 3 am, four times a week, in addition to a night flight, also four times a week, between Porto and Geneva.
Looking at those who want to visit Porto, but also at those who leave the Invicta looking for other more distant destinations, the person in charge of the business in our country underlines how, even going through a pandemic crisis and the current difficulties of personnel at airports, “we do not leave, and we are not planning to leave Porto”. “We look at Porto Airport as a strategic partner”, added Thomas Ahlers.
Thomas Ahlers stands out security, the fact of being part of the European Union, hospitality and political stability as factors that attract Porto both for tourists and business trips.
For now, the increase in the offer of flights is only for the summer period, but the Chief Executive of Lufthansa for Portugal admits to maintaining “some of the connections”, encouraged by the fact that “seats to and from Porto are almost always full”.
From Porto to Switzerland and the rest of the world
In a presentation which was also attended by the Sales head director of the Lufthansa group for Western Europe, Julia Hillenbrand, and the head of Switzerland Tourism for Portugal, Leslie Bent, the councillor for Tourism and Internationalization said that “the positioning that this type of airline gives us is what we are strategically seeking to attract to Porto, a better positioned tourism, and the concern also in businesses, in a city that we want to study, live, visit”.
“We are well served in terms of European destinations, but we want to have this connection to the rest of the world, which is relevant for us”, she added, referring to the 92 destinations operated by SWISS from Zurich and Geneva airports.
Catarina Santos Cunha also recalled the work being carried out “with CCDR-N, in the sense of finding a way to attract other airlines, of taking a document to the minister to present some solutions since we were not able to have the connections ensured by TAP”.
Regretting that the Portuguese airline, “does not invest in Porto Airport now with so many constraints at Lisbon airport, but it is their strategy”, the councillor assures that the dialogue has only been carried out “with these airlines that have approached us”.
Emirates returns to Porto
Meanwhile, another air transport giant says it will be back in Porto. To expand its strategy in Portugal, Emirates ensures that, in 2024, it will resume operating the four weekly frequencies it had between the Invicta and Dubai before the pandemic.
“Porto is not forgotten for Emirates; it was a launch made with great affection and went very well. It was such a shame to have had that pandemic brake and the route did not reach its first birthday”, says David Quito, chief executive of the airline in Portugal, quoted by Dinheiro Vivo.
Ensuring that “returning to Porto is something that is in our plans”, the person in charge of the United Arab Emirates airline does not rule out the possibility of anticipating the return to 2023, if the demand for the World Youth Day justifies it.