Swiss International Air Lines are reportedly considering a cooperation deal with new carrier Air China to increase their stake in the Geneva-Beijing traffic. Swiss, the national airline of Switzerland, already operates to flights Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong, but the deal would allow the airline to sell additional seats on the Chinese carrier’s flights as their own.
Businessweek quotes Swiss CEO Harry Hohmeister as saying that the deal is a result of the growing number of Chinese tourists visiting Switzerland for watch shopping vacations. With flagship boutiques of the world’s leading Swiss manufactures located in Geneva, including Rolex and Patek Philippe, it’s become the go-to destination for Chinese nationals looking to embrace the luxury lifestyle. “The Chinese market is growing fast, faster than any other country,” Hohmeister said. “The Chinese also spend a lot as tourists.”
The two airlines are already linked through their membership in the Star Alliance. Businessweek cites a McKinsey & Co study which predicts that by 2015, 94 million Chinese tourists will be travelling abroad. In addition, Businessweek cites Kepler Capital Markets as reporting that almost half of all luxury watch purchases are made by this same group.