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TRAVEL NEWS

How Swiss airports are preparing for a return to pre-pandemic tourism

How closely will 2022 summer come to pre-pandemic levels?

Commercial planes of Swiss airline and low cost airline EasyJet are seen parked due to flight interruption amid the COVID-19 outbreak.. (Photo by Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP)
Commercial planes of Swiss airline and low cost airline EasyJet are seen parked due to flight interruption amid the COVID-19 outbreak.. (Photo by Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP)

Swissport, which provides ground services at 285 airports in 45 countries, said Tuesday it plans to hire 17,000 staff on an anticipated pick-up in air travel as pandemic restrictions ease.

The increase in the number of staff providing passenger services such as check-in and gate assistance, as well as baggage-handling and aircraft services, will help its 850 client airlines scale up their operations and bring Swissport back to essentially its pre-pandemic number of employees.

“With the anticipated easing of pandemic restrictions in many countries, Swissport expects travel demand to rebound in the coming months, at the latest by the start of the summer holidays,” the company said in a statement. Swissport is considerably more optimistic than some industry bodies.

The UN’s civil aviation body, ICAO, said it expects air travel industry to remain considerably affected by the pandemic, with a drop in passengers of between 26 and 31 percent as international travel remains impacted by border restrictions.

Last year, Swissport handled 97 million passengers, a little over a third of the 2019 level, while the number of flights — at two million — was just under half of the 2019 level.

Swissport also said that its cargo service unit handled a record 5.1 million metric tonnes last year, an increase of 10 percent over pre-pandemic levels in 2019.

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TRAVEL NEWS

10 francs: Everything you need to know about Flixtrain’s Basel to Berlin line

In early May, German transport provider Flixtrain announced it would begin running services from Basel to Berlin (and back) from June. Here’s what you need to know.

10 francs: Everything you need to know about Flixtrain's Basel to Berlin line

German transport provider Flixtrain has announced it will launch in Switzerland from June 23rd. The low-cost provider is offering 10 franc (10 euro) tickets from Basel to Berlin, among other cheap fares.

The low-cost company, which has been establishing itself Deutsche Bahn’s major competitor Germany over the past few years, runs long distance bus and train services. 

When will the services run?

The lines to and from Basel run from Thursday to Monday, with one connection per day in either direction. 

It will take 8 hours and 45 minutes from Basel Badischer Bahnhof to Berlin Hauptbahnhof. 

A trip with the German ICE will instead take just over 7 hours. 

The new line is part of an expansion of services which is set to include around 70 destinations in Germany. 

OK but will it really cost CHF10?

The price of the ticket grabbed headlines, with Flixtrain saying in its press conference that the almost-nine-hour trip would only cost CHF10 (10 euro). 

Flixtrain spokesperson Sebastian Meyer told Swiss news outlet Watson that tickets would start at CHF10, but more expensive tickets would be available when the CHF10 offerings were sold out. 

“If the cheapest ticket contingent is sold out, the next higher one takes effect. In this way, we can always offer our passengers cheap tickets. Affordable prices are still possible due to the corresponding utilisation of the individual trips.”

In order to get the cheapest possible fare, travellers are advised to book early. 

REVEALED: How to find cheap train tickets in Switzerland

Tickets between Basel and Berlin can cost as high as CHF150 or 160 euros from Switzerland’s SBB or Germany’s Deutsche Bahn respectively, although booking in advance can bring the price down to as low as CHF30. 

Where will the train to (and from) Berlin stop?

In either direction, the train will stop at: Karlsruhe, Baden-Baden, Offenburg, Freiburg, Wiesloch, Bad Hersfeld and Weil am Rhein. 

What else is different about Flixtrain?

Other than being bright lime green, Flixtrains allow you to take your bicycle with you, which is not allowed on most ICE long-distance trains in Germany. 

Are there any other destinations within Switzerland? 

As yet, Basel will be the only Swiss destination. The other two new routes are Stuttgart to Hamburg and Berlin to Weisbaden. 

In addition to the 10 franc (10 euro) ticket from Basel to Berlin, other journeys within Germany will start at 5 francs (5 euros). 

More information is available from Flixtrain at the following link. 

The expanded routes can be seen in the following image. 

A look at Flixtrain’s route network in 2022. Map: Flixtrain

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