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Swissair rises from the ashes

Swissair has been reborn in the guise of Swiss, and it plans to initially serve at least eight destinations in six regional countries

The future of Switzerland’s bankrupt international airline, Swissair, has now become clear. As of April 1, Swissair’s operations will be joined with those of Crossair, another Swiss airline focused on intra-European traffic, in a new company called ‘Swiss.’

Management has promised that the reborn airline will not be another of those “stodgy” loss-making European state carriers. Instead, the new Swiss will be only 38% government owned and will have to be aware, “of the expectations of the market,” according to Chris Watts, vice president of global external affairs for Crossair.

According to the new company and its agency, Wink Media of London, the new name and logo aim to evoke images of all that is positive about Switzerland, such as reliability, friendliness, and a multi-cultural cosmopolitan attitude (Switzerland is home to speakers of four languages.) The new airline has received a cash injection of 2.7 billion Swiss francs from a combination of the Swiss government, private investors, Swiss banks and Swiss multi-nationals.

Watts, along with Swissair’s Middle East area manager, Felix Rodel, pledged that Swiss will be fully committed to the Middle East. “Swissair was always well established here and we’re going to build on this,” said Watts.

Swiss will initially service eight destinations in six Middle East countries, including Benghazi in Libya. The airline plans to operate a total of 128 planes, flying to 122 destinations in 60 countries.

The registered company name of Swiss will be Swiss Air Lines Ltd. For legal reasons, the change from Crossair cannot be made until October and the start of the 2002 winter timetable.

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