SWISS restructures top management of its flight operations

As part of a broader restructuring of the overall management of its flight operations, SWISS has appointed Oliver Buchhofer to the newly-created position of Head of Operations. In his new capacity, which he will assume on 1 April, Buchhofer will also serve as SWISS’s Accountable Manager, a function that is currently performed by COO Thomas Frick. The latter will step down as COO as planned at the end of March. The function of COO will, as in previous years, be additionally assumed by the CEO. This will reduce the SWISS Management Board from four to three members.

Swiss International Air Lines (SWISS) is restructuring the top management of its flight operations. This entails the creation of the new position of Head of Operations, whose holder will be responsible for ensuring safe and smooth overall operations, including strategic planning, coordination and organization in such areas as cockpit crew, training, technical services and ground handling. The new position of Head of Operations will be assumed by Oliver Buchhofer, currently SWISS’s Head of Flight Operations, with effect from 1 April.

In his new Head of Operations capacity Oliver Buchhofer will also serve as SWISS’s Accountable Manager, bearing overall responsibility for ensuring safe operations in compliance with the provisions of the company’s official air operator’s certificate. This function is currently performed by Chief Operating Officer (COO) Thomas Frick. Frick will be stepping down from his COO function as planned at the end of March, but will remain active with SWISS on a project basis. As in earlier years, the function of COO will be additionally assumed by the CEO. This will reduce the SWISS Management Board from four to three members.

Oliver Buchhofer to become the newly-created Head of Operations

Oliver Buchhofer (44) is a captain and an instructor on the SWISS Airbus A320 family fleet, and will report directly to CEO Dieter Vranckx in his new Head of Operations capacity. In addition to his flying duties, he has been SWISS’s Head of Flight Operations since 2016. In this position he is in overall charge of the company’s corps of some 1,400 pilots and also bears strategic responsibility for its flight operations. He further heads the SWISS Emergency Committee and is responsible – inter alia – for the implementation of flight operations standards and regulations throughout all the airlines of the Lufthansa Group. Oliver Buchhofer previously held various management functions in SWISS’s pilot training from 2009 onwards. He also served with Austrian Airlines and Tyrolean Airways before joining SWISS in 2007.

“I am delighted that, in Oliver Buchhofer, we have recruited such an experienced aviation expert from within our own ranks to be our new Head of Operations,” says SWISS CEO Dieter Vranckx. “Oliver has already proved in his present capacity that he is excellently equipped to ensure our safe, reliable and efficient flight operations, even in today’s unprecedented crisis times. And I wish him every success and satisfaction in his new capacity.”

Oliver Buchhofer lives in Meilen, near Zurich. He is married and is the father of a daughter. He holds a master’s (lic. oec.) degree in business administration from the University of Zurich.

COO Thomas Frick to step down as planned

Thomas Frick (61), who has been SWISS’s Chief Operating Officer (COO) since 2020, will step down from his post as planned at the end of March to devote himself to future strategic projects within the company. Prior to his COO duties, Thomas Frick was appointed Accountable Manager in 2016, and had served as Head of Flight Operations since 2011. Before this he had accompanied his many years of flying duties as a Swissair and a SWISS pilot with various training and management positions, including serving as fleet chief for the Boeing MD-11 and later the Airbus A330/A340 fleets. He began his career with Swissair in 1982. Key recent career achievements include the strategic introduction of the two newest types in the SWISS aircraft fleet, the Boeing 777-300ER and the Airbus A220, assuming overall responsibility for all crew training throughout the Lufthansa Group and overseeing the operational and the cultural amalgamation of the Swiss International Air Lines and Swiss Global Air Lines flight operations platforms.

“We would like to offer Thomas Frick our sincere thanks for his many years of outstanding service and dedication to our company,” says SWISS CEO Dieter Vranckx. “Throughout that time he has ably proven all his skills and expertise – not only as a member of our cockpit crew corps, but also in the various management positions he has held, most recently on our Management Board in these extremely challenging times.”


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