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SWISS airline refunds half a billion francs to passengers

Swiss International Air Lines says it is speeding up the process of flight refunds and has reimbursed over a million passengers so far this year. 

On Wednesday, the company announced that it had processed more than 1.1 million refund applications worldwide and made reimbursements to the tune of more than CHF585 million ($634 million) this year.  

The Covid-19 pandemic crisis put a brutal brake on air traffic and international tourism leading to mass cancellations by travellers, having a negative effect on the carrier’s revenue and profits.  

SWISS had come in for criticism from travel agencies for failing to promptly refund tickets for flights that were cancelled or could not be taken by passengers due to the pandemic. The airline earlier told swissinfo.ch that it was refunding individual customers as well as agencies, but that these payments were taking longer than usual due to the high demand. 

By the end of September, the carrier claims it will have processed most of the applications filed by tour operators and individuals up until the end of July. The processing time for claims will return to pre-pandemic levels from October onwards. However, SWISS does not expect to be rid of the refund backlog any time soon. 

“SWISS will continue to process more recent ticket refund requests on a rolling basis. These are constantly being received as flights have to be cancelled owing to new travel warnings or customers simply find themselves unable to travel,” said the company. 

In May, the Swiss parliament approved a credit of CHF1.875 billion ($1.92 billion) to support SWISS and other aviation companies that ensure vital transport infrastructure for the Swiss economy.