Edelweiss Air of Switzerland said Monday that its return to Orlando International Airport will bring an estimated $35 million annual boost to the region.
"We are here to stay," said Bernd Bauer, chief executive officer of the Zurich-based airline that focuses on vacation destinations and will start Orlando service in January.
The carrier made its brief debut at Orlando International in 2011 at a time when Edelweiss was seeking to capitalize on seasonal peaks.
Bauer said Edelweiss, the smallest airline in the Lufthansa Group, is shifting its mission to focus on year-round travel. In the U.S., the carrier serves Tampa, Las Vegas and San Diego and will start service to Denver later next year.
With a single flight a week, Edelweiss anticipates that nearly 11,500 passengers a year will arrive in Orlando from Zurich.
Of those, about 65 percent will be from Switzerland, Bauer said, and 20 percent to 30 percent will come from Germany and border areas.
"We expect about $35 million impact from this flight for the region," Bauer said of annual passenger spending in Central Florida. "Swiss people travel for two weeks on average and spend on average more than Europeans. It"™s about $250 per day per family member”…