Red nose, the distinct “Switzerland” word on the fuselage and the famous oversized flower on the tail are the most eye-catching details, as any aviation aficionado knows, it is an Edelweiss’ aircraft. Last Friday (22), the airline has started the service from Zurich to Rio de Janeiro, the inaugural flight from Kloten Airport took off at 12:48 PM CEST and landed at 07:14 PM BRT at Galeão Airport. Initially, the company will operate this route twice a week – Mondays and Fridays – on a year-round basis. However, the airline has stated that the plans extend beyond Olympic games in 2016. Depending of the success of the route, frequency increases might be considered in the future. Edelweiss’ flights are complemented by the already existing flights of Lufthansa Group to Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo.
Edelweiss is a sister company of Swiss International Air Lines (SWISS) and in the same way the company flights will complement SWISS’ flights, which are operated daily from Zurich to Sao Paulo. The aircraft utilized on this route to the marvelous city is an Airbus A330-343, the second biggest member of A330 Family which now counts with the A330neo variants in development.
Everybody knows that the Airbus A330 is one of the most cost-efficient aircraft in its class, the excellent short-field performance and long-range capabilities enable the A330 to be efficiently utilized both on established routes and expanding markets, like Rio de Janeiro, in Brazil and Calgary, in Canada. In numbers, the A330s fly to over 400 destinations around the world each week, and orders for this wide body twin-engine aircraft family have surpassed the 1,600 mark, from over 100 operators.
Short history of Edelweiss:
Edelweiss was founded on 19 October 1995 in Bassersdorf, Switzerland, with just one airplane, a McDonnell Douglas MD-83. The fleet was expanding and renewed. In 1998, new Airbus A320 were introduced to replace the MD-83s, and in 1999 the airline long-haul flights started with an Airbus A330-200.
From 2001 to 2008, Edelweiss received seven golden Travelstar Award for its excellent achievements. Up to November 2008, the airline was wholly owned by Kuoni Travel Ltd and had 190 employees, when the operating rights were sold to SWISS, in exchange for sale rights of hotel capacities via the SWISS sales network. When Edelweiss was bought by SWISS, Edelweiss became a subsidiary of Europe’s largest airline group, the Lufthansa Group which bought SWISS in 2005.
As of March 2011, Edelweiss added to its fleet the larger Airbus A330-300, with an order having been placed on April 05th, 2010. On last July, it was announced that Edelweiss will receive three Airbus A340-313X from SWISS. The first airplane will join Edelweiss’ fleet in the 4th quarter of 2016 and will operate flight from Zurich to Cape Town, in South Africa and Phuket, in Thailand.
Last November, the airline introduced its new revised livery on one of its Airbus A320-200, the new livery is gradually being applied to the entire fleet. There is an A330-300 with the new livery, tail number is HB-JHR. Edelweiss stated that all aircraft will subsequently be painted with new livery. According to current planning the entire fleet will be painted in the new livery until Summer 2017.
Airline’s premium product is well known as one of the most comfort Business Class on the aviation industry. In the A330-300 there are 27 full lie-flat seats with two seat configurations, 1-2-1 and 2-2-1.
Among with all the services offered on Business Class by all the airlines, Edelweiss highlight herself by welcoming the client and presenting them that sleep and dream at 30.000 feet will not be a problem, with the anatomical Business Class seat convert in a two-meter-long bed in a short time at all. Pillow, blanket and amenity kit are also provided for a complete rest.
A wide range of on board entertainment is offered on a 16” HD touch screen monitor and the passenger will not have their gadget out of battery due to a mains socket to charge it up.
To finalize all this comfort, it is worth to highlight again the excellent on board service provided by the crew of the flight. Everything is guaranteed to make sure the client will arrive refreshed and rested in their final destination.
Regarding the lounges which Business Class passengers are eligible to use, in Zurich the lounge utilized is the SWISS Business Lounge and in Rio de Janeiro the lounge is Smiles VIP room.
This class can accommodate up to 56 passengers in a 2-4-2 seat configuration.
Pay for a price closer to an Economy fare but fly with the maximum comfort that Economy can provide, this is the idea, make economy flight pleasanter. Seat back and enjoy 15 centimeters more legroom between the seats, and up to five centimeters more recline angle than Economy Class, here is the “magic”, just close your eyes and you will comfortably be able to relax peacefully. The seat also counts with a 9” HD touch screen monitor.
Accommodating up to 232 clients in a 2-4-2 seat configuration and 2-3-2 on the back part of the fuselage, a huge part of the people think that paying less for a ticket will have almost any benefit on board, but this idea doesn’t work with this airline. The company has everything that makes sense for a relaxed journey, such as: adjustable headrest, patented anti-thrombosis pad that supports the circulation in passengers’ leg. Everything is so comfortable that the journey will be pleasant and with a huge entertainment system on a 9” HD touch screen monitor, the flight will be valuable.
The flight isn’t passing? No problem, in front of you there is a HD touch screen with more than 180 movies and TV programs for you choose freely. But this isn’t all, if the passenger wants to sink in the world of music, there are 270 CDs and playlists to choose from. There are also games to play, they can offer for the client Sudoku or multi-player 3D games. And in case if the passenger wants to read a little bit, there is the “Sunflyer”, the on board magazine of the company. International and national newspapers and magazines are offered but they are subject to availability. All the entertainment selection is synchronized with their sister airline, SWISS.
Edelweiss’ Airbus A330-313X is powered by two Trent 700 engines, with a 2.47-meter fan diameter, this engine delivers the power requirements for all A330 and particularly for the higher weight aircraft operation in harsh environments. The engine can generate a thrust of 72.000 lb and provides the best take-off performance and revenue-earning for its operators. It has been designed for growth capability of the A330 and incorporates materials capable of the pressures and temperatures required for 75.000 lb.
A warm welcome
When the passengers were disembarking at Terminal 2, the airline surprised everyone with Brazilian popular music (MPB) and a warm welcome. Every passenger received a typical Carnival necklace.
Airbus A330-300 technical specification:
|Cabin width||5.28 m (17 ft 4 in)|
|Cruise speed||Mach 0.82 (871 km/h or 470 kn)|
|Engines (×2)||Rolls-Royce Trent 700|
|Fuselage height||5.64 m (18 ft 6 in)|
|Fuselage width||5.64 m (18 ft 6 in)|
|Length||63.69 m (208 ft 11 in)|
|Maximum fuel capacity||97,530 L (25,800 US gal)|
|Maximum landing weight||187,000 kg (412,000 lb)|
|Maximum range (fully loaded)||11,750 km (7,300 mi; 6,350 nmi)|
|Maximum service ceiling||13,000 m (42,651 ft)|
|Maximum takeoff weight||242,000 kg (534,000 lb)|
|Service ceiling||12,527 m (41,100 ft)|
|Tail height||16.83 m (55 ft 3 in)|
|Wing area||361.6 m2 (3,890 sq ft)|
|Wingspan||60.3 m (197 ft 10 in)|
Probably most of the people don’t know why they painted a white flower on its aircraft but this flower is named Edelweiss which is referred in biology for a plant with rugged beauty and purity which grows on high altitudes like in the Alps and Carpathians. This flower is a national symbol especially of Austria, Bulgaria, Romania and Switzerland. Edelweiss means in German edel “noble” and weiss “white”, literally like a “noble white”. This is why they have couple of flowers painted through their aircraft. As we can see, the company’s name is also derivate from the flower.