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Swissair succumbs

Published by marco on

Swissair has been in trouble for a while now, but on September 30, they went into intense discussions with the Swiss government in attempt to deal with impending bankruptcy brought on by the worldwide passenger slump following the WTC attack. However, the final solution will involve Switzerland’s major banks, notably UBS and Credit Suisse:

<q>‘We think that it wouldn’t be right for the government to participate in a solution, and we don’t think that it would be necessary,‘ UBS Chairman Marcel Ospel said, citing regulatory reasons.</q>

On October 2, Swissair suspended all flights because “[w]e have no money for fuel.” On the same day, it was later decided that:

<q>The banks, UBS and Credit Suisse, will fold the airline operation into Swissair subsidiary Crossair AG, in which they bought a controlling stake for $161 million. The combined carrier will keep two-thirds of Swissair’s flights and scrap the rest. About one-third of the carrier’s jobs − roughly 2,600 positions − will be eliminated, with 24 planes grounded.</q>

Ticketed passengers in the last two days have not fared well either:

<q>Some 38,000 people were stranded worldwide and tens of thousands more held worthless tickets as Swissair desperately sought the cash to meet demands for upfront payment of fuel and airport taxes. At Zurich airport — the worst hit by the chaos — passengers without a flight or hotel faced the prospect of a second straight night in a nuclear bunker.</q>

This struck especially hard as Swissair was consistently rated one of the better airlines and was an enduring national symbol:

<q>The shock over the abrupt demise of Swissair was all the greater because of its reputation, built up over 70 years, as one of the world’s most solid and reliable airlines. The planes all bore the Swiss emblem — a white cross on a red background — and were an enduring image alongside Swiss watches, chocolate and the Matterhorn.</q>

All quoted articles are from the New York Newsday.