New Delhi, Nov 26 (UNI) Swiss International Air Lines, Switzerland's national carrier, started the first daily non-stop service between Zurich and Delhi today, increasing the number of weekly flights between India and Switzerland from 7 to 14.
Announcing this at a press conference here, Swiss Air Lines CEO Chris Franz said Star Alliance, the largest airline alliance in the world of which Swiss Air Lines is a member, was looking for a strong Indian partner.
''We hope to make an announcement on this soon,'' he said, refusing to identify whether the Indian partner was Air India or Jet Airways.
''The partnership will help close the white spot in Star Alliance,'' said Mr Franz, who arrived on the first LX 146 flight from Zurich this morning, along with top officers of his airline.
Among the other members of the Star Alliance are Lufthansa, Austrian, Singapore Airlines, Thai, US Airways and Air Canada.
''We are delighted to make Delhi as the first long-haul addition to the Swiss route network,'' he said.
''The non-stop services from Delhi and Mumbai to Zurich, proves that India is not just a key trade partner for Switzerland, it is also becoming increasingly popular as a Swiss tourist destination,'' he said.
The Swiss flag carrier at present is operating the route to Delhi with an Airbus A330-200 aircraft offering a total of 228 seats== 48 in business class and 180 in economy class.
''We plan to replace the aircraft by a bigger Airbus A330-300 within two years to increase the seating capacity to meet the increase in the number of passengers,'' Mr Franz said.
He said they were also looking forward to connecting with other destinations in India, besides Delhi and Mumbai.
''It could be Bangalore,'' he added.
Swiss WorldCargo, the air cargo division of Swiss Air Lines, announced added capacity to India.
''With each flight, which will be operated with Airbus A330, we will offer 18 tonne of cargo capacity to and from Delhi, in addition to the 22 tonne already available to and from Mumbai,'' Oliver Evans, chief cargo officer, Swiss WorldCargo, said.