This summer, Francisco Sá Carneiro Airport is being strengthened 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. Investing on Invicta means a 70% increase in operations between Switzerland and what was considered the best European airport in 2022. Overall, Lufthansa grows its activity to and from Porto by 40%, with 2,200 seats and 91 flights every day.
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 general director of sales of the Lufthansa group for Portugal guarantees to be “the biggest increase that SWISS is making in Western Europe”. Among the novelties is a morning flight that leaves Francisco Sá Carneiro Airport towards Zurich at 3 am, four times a week as well as a night flight, also four times a week, between Porto and Geneva.
Thomas Ahlers highlights safety, being a European Union member, hospitality and political stability as factors in Porto's attraction for both tourists and for business trips.
Looking at those who want to visit Porto, but also at those who leave Invicta looking for other more distant destinations, the head of the business in our country underlines how, even going through a pandemic crisis and the current staffing difficulties at airports, “we have not left, and we are not planning to leave Porto”. “We look at Porto Airport as a strategic partner,” added Thomas Ahlers.
For now, the increase in the supply of flights is only for the summer, but the general director of Lufthansa for Portugal admits 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
At a presentation attended by the senior sales 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 Internationalisation, Catarina Santos Cunha stated 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 business, 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.
Emirates returns to Porto
Meanwhile, another airline giant says it will be back in Porto. In order to expand its strategy in Portugal, Emirates ensures that, in 2024, it will resume operating the four weekly frequencies it had between Invicta and Dubai before the pandemic.
"Emirates did not forget Porto, it was a launch made with great care and it went quite well. It was a shame that we had that pandemic brake and the route did not reach its first anniversary", says David Quito, general manager of the carrier in Portugal. Assuring that “returning to Porto is something that is in our plans”, the head of the United Arab Emirates airline does not rule out the possibility of anticipating the return to 2023, if demand for World Youth Day justifies it.