When we airline passengers step into a plane to anywhere, we are mostly unaware of this: For a new flight route to take off takes years of planning! SWISS, on the occasion of its inaugural flight Zurich to Singapore, provided a few glimpses of what it takes for such a “project” to get off the ground:
We started off at the gate in Zurich already with a small ceremony and speeches by SWISS CEO Harry Hochmeister, airport CEO Thomas Kern and Switzerland’s ambassador to Singapore Thomas Kupfer.
The speeches highlighted the economic importance of the route and the investment of CHF 300 million it took before all the studies, landing rights and the necessary flight equipment including staffing were in place.
On board, we were served a refreshing drink that fit the destination.
The night flight was smooth and at 12 hours a bit on the long side. SWISS invited me to get comfortable in Business Class. That naturally helps to make it a pleasant and diverting flight.
Yours truly could not have wished for anything more: The menu of Graubünden specialties created by gourmet Chef Martin Göschel was an excellent treat for the palate and the Pinot Noir that came with it of course complemented it very nicely… Should you wish to try Martin Göschel’s cuisine without a flight, you can turn to the Hotel Paradies in Ftan.
On-time Arrival at Singapore’s Changi Airport
At the gate In Singapore’s award-winning Changi Airport there was another small ceremony with lots of smiles, photos and a giveaway for passengers – a small gift of chocolate.
One wonders if perhaps something else could have been brought along on a flight from Switzerland…
And so it would have ended for the standard passenger. From now on you can take SWISS Airlines daily direct to Singapore. With a 10:45 p.m. departure from Zurich Kloten, the flight is scheduled to arrive at Singapore at 5:10 p.m. local time, the time difference being 6 to 7 hours depending on the time of year. Previously there had been only a Singapore Airlines non-stop flight connecting the two lion cities.
The return flight times are even more convenient: You leave Singapore at 11:10 in the evening, giving you the whole day there in other words, and then land in Zurich relatively rested at 6 in the morning. Again, the entire day lies ahead for you. Depending on the jet stream, this flight lasts around twelve and a half hours.
What most of us tourists don’t realize is that behind the scenes decision makers had to be convinced, business plans had to be written and many negotiations with Asian partners had to be conducted. If you’ve done business in Asia, you will know what this can involve: a series of meetings at which everything under the sun is talked about, just not the conditions for the new air route… It’s not until nearly the very last moment that you hear “oh, by the way…”? And that is when these negotiators begin to burn the midnight oil…
Gala Dinner in the New Singapore Cruise Terminal
The day after the inaugural flight, a gala dinner for all involved parties from the SWISS and Singapore sides was arranged. Switzerland Tourism and the ETH (the Zurich-based Federal Technical University) were also represented.The event was ably moderated by Max Loong. Okay, so he was backed up by a spectacular visual media presentation…
The gala menu, once more created by Martin Göschel, was an outstanding taste fest! They cooked and frizzled in two kitchens simultaneously as fast as they could for the more than one hundred guests. But I’ll let my photos speak…
The gourmet treat was accompanied by a varied and very attractive musical treat. I thought the colorful barrel drums were most spectacular (but too hard to photograph.)
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Sincere thanks to the SWISS communications group around Daniel Bärlocher, Sonja Ptassek und Reto Hoffmann for the invitation and the glimpses behind the scenes! And here is the video shot by Reto Hoffmann: