San Diego gets another nonstop: Zurich

Overseas travelers will have yet another choice of a nonstop destination starting next year, with the announcement Tuesday that a Swiss airline will be flying seasonally between San Diego and Zurich.

Edelweiss, an affiliate of Swiss International Airlines, said it will begin flying nonstop twice a week on June 9 of next year, with the service expected to run through early November. San Diego marks Edelweiss’ first nonstop destination in California.

“California is very popular among Swiss tourists,” said Bernd Bauer, CEO of Edelweiss. “Swiss travelers like to stay longer and spend more money during their time on vacation than visitors from other countries. Our flights will bring approximately 15,000 visitors to San Diego per year, creating an economic impact of around $50 million per year.”

The announcement comes less than two weeks after the San Diego International Airport revealed that the German airline, Condor, will begin offering nonstop flights to Frankfurt, starting next May. That service is also seasonal.

San Diego’s only other nonstop overseas destinations are London and Tokyo, both of which have year-round daily service.

With the addition of Frankfurt and Zurich, the San Diego airport will now have direct flights to six different countries.

Hampton Brown, who oversees air service development for the airport, said he expects Edelweiss will likely expand the season during which it flies in and out of San Diego following its first year of service.

The flights, which will be on a 314-passenger Airbus A340-300, will leave San Diego in the evenings, departing Mondays at 6:45 p.m. and Fridays at 7:10 p.m.

Edelweiss, which is part of the Lufthansa group, focuses on markets that are not already served by Swiss Airlines, Brown explained.

“They were looking at California, and Swiss already operates out of Los Angeles and San Francisco,” Brown said. “The Swiss people are very travel-prone, and they have a fairly strong currency, the Swiss franc, and their buying power is a lot stronger in the U.S. The airline currently serves Las Vegas, but this will be their only access point to California.”

Brown noted that San Diego was competing with Denver for Edelweiss’ next U.S. destination. In the deal to land the Edelweiss nonstop, the San Diego airport agreed to cover $100,000 in advertising costs to market the new flight over the next year, Brown said. The contribution is substantially less than what was required for the year-round London and Tokyo flights.

Published: http://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/news/2016/jun/21/san-diego-airport-gets-nonstop-zurich/

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