Swissair
Overview
 
Swissair AG was the former national airline
Airline
An airline provides air transport services for traveling passengers and freight. Airlines lease or own their aircraft with which to supply these services and may form partnerships or alliances with other airlines for mutual benefit...

 of Switzerland
Switzerland
Switzerland name of one of the Swiss cantons. ; ; ; or ), in its full name the Swiss Confederation , is a federal republic consisting of 26 cantons, with Bern as the seat of the federal authorities. The country is situated in Western Europe,Or Central Europe depending on the definition....

.

It was formed from a merger between Balair and Ad Astra Aero (To the Stars), in 1931. For most of its 71 years, Swissair was one of the major international airlines and known as the "Flying Bank" due to the financial stability of the airline, causing it to be regarded as a Swiss national symbol and icon. It was headquartered at Zurich Airport and in Kloten
Kloten
-External links:* -References:...

.

In 1997 the Swissair Group was renamed SAirGroup, with four subdivisions: SAirlines (to which Swissair and Crossair belonged), SAirServices, SAirLogistics and SAirRelations.

After the expansive "Hunter strategy" in the late 1990s and after the economic turndown following the September 11 attacks, Swissair's assets dramatically lost value, grounding the already-troubled airline in October 2001.
Discussions
Encyclopedia
Swissair AG was the former national airline
Airline
An airline provides air transport services for traveling passengers and freight. Airlines lease or own their aircraft with which to supply these services and may form partnerships or alliances with other airlines for mutual benefit...

 of Switzerland
Switzerland
Switzerland name of one of the Swiss cantons. ; ; ; or ), in its full name the Swiss Confederation , is a federal republic consisting of 26 cantons, with Bern as the seat of the federal authorities. The country is situated in Western Europe,Or Central Europe depending on the definition....

.

It was formed from a merger between Balair and Ad Astra Aero (To the Stars), in 1931. For most of its 71 years, Swissair was one of the major international airlines and known as the "Flying Bank" due to the financial stability of the airline, causing it to be regarded as a Swiss national symbol and icon. It was headquartered at Zurich Airport and in Kloten
Kloten
-External links:* -References:...

.

In 1997 the Swissair Group was renamed SAirGroup, with four subdivisions: SAirlines (to which Swissair and Crossair belonged), SAirServices, SAirLogistics and SAirRelations.

After the expansive "Hunter strategy" in the late 1990s and after the economic turndown following the September 11 attacks, Swissair's assets dramatically lost value, grounding the already-troubled airline in October 2001. The airline was kept alive until 31 March 2002 by the Swiss Federal government.

On 1 April 2002 the successor airline Swiss International Air Lines
Swiss International Air Lines
Swiss International Air Lines AG is the principal airline of Switzerland operating scheduled services in Europe and to North America, South America, Africa and Asia. Its main hub is Zurich Airport...

 was founded on the base of former Crossair
Crossair
Crossair Ltd. Co. for Regional European Air Transport was a regional airline headquartered on the grounds of EuroAirport Basel-Mulhouse-Freiburg in Saint-Louis, Haut-Rhin, France, near Basel, Switzerland...

, taking over most of the routes, planes and staff of former Swissair. Today, The SAirGroup company still exists and is in the process of being liquidated. Swiss International Air Lines was taken over by the German airline Lufthansa
Lufthansa
Deutsche Lufthansa AG is the flag carrier of Germany and the largest airline in Europe in terms of overall passengers carried. The name of the company is derived from Luft , and Hansa .The airline is the world's fourth-largest airline in terms of overall passengers carried, operating...

 in 2005.

History

Founding years

On March 26, 1931, Swissair - Schweizerische Luftverkehr AG
Aktiengesellschaft
Aktiengesellschaft is a German term that refers to a corporation that is limited by shares, i.e. owned by shareholders, and may be traded on a stock market. The term is used in Germany, Austria and Switzerland...

("Swissair - Swiss Air Lines AG") was founded through the fusion of the airlines Ad Astra Aero
Ad Astra Aero
Ad Astra Aero was a Swiss airline.-Time of the pioneers:Initiated by Oskar Bider and Fritz Rihner, in July 1919 the «Schweizerische Gesellschaft für Lufttourismus» was established in Zürich...

 (founded in 1919) and Balair
Balair
Balair was a Swiss airline that became BalairCTA when it merged with CTA/Compagnie de Transport Aerien in 1993. Balair had its headquarters in Basel.-Company history:...

 (1925). The founding fathers were Balz Zimmermann and the Swiss aviation pioneer Walter Mittelholzer
Walter Mittelholzer
Walter Mittelholzer was a Swiss aviation pioneer. He was active as a pilot, photographer, travel writer, and also as one of the first aviation entrepreneurs....

. In contrast to other airlines, it did not receive support from the government. The concise name "Swissair" was the proposal of Dr. Alphonse Ehinger, president of the directorial board of the Balair, despite "Swissair" was first deemed "unswiss". In the first operational year, 64 people were employed, among them 10 pilots, 7 radio operators and eight mechanics. In total, its planes offered 85 seats and the operation was maintained only during the summer, from March to October. The route network had a length of 4203 kilometres (2,611.6 mi).

On April 17, 1932 Swissair bought two Lockheed Orion airplanes and was the first European airline to use American planes. The Orion was the fastest commercial airplane at its time and was put to use on the "Express line", Zurich
Zürich
Zurich is the largest city in Switzerland and the capital of the canton of Zurich. It is located in central Switzerland at the northwestern tip of Lake Zurich...

-Munich
Munich
Munich The city's motto is "" . Before 2006, it was "Weltstadt mit Herz" . Its native name, , is derived from the Old High German Munichen, meaning "by the monks' place". The city's name derives from the monks of the Benedictine order who founded the city; hence the monk depicted on the city's coat...

-Vienna
Vienna
Vienna is the capital and largest city of the Republic of Austria and one of the nine states of Austria. Vienna is Austria's primary city, with a population of about 1.723 million , and is by far the largest city in Austria, as well as its cultural, economic, and political centre...

, which led the Lufthansa
Lufthansa
Deutsche Lufthansa AG is the flag carrier of Germany and the largest airline in Europe in terms of overall passengers carried. The name of the company is derived from Luft , and Hansa .The airline is the world's fourth-largest airline in terms of overall passengers carried, operating...

 to ask Heinkel
Heinkel
Heinkel Flugzeugwerke was a German aircraft manufacturing company founded by and named after Ernst Heinkel. It is noted for producing bomber aircraft for the Luftwaffe in World War II and for important contributions to high-speed flight.-History:...

 for a model which could top the Orion's speed, and produced the Heinkel He 70
Heinkel He 70
The Heinkel He 70 was a German mail plane and fast passenger aircraft of the 1930s, that also saw use in auxiliary bomber and reconnaissance roles. It had a relatively brief commercial career before it was replaced by types which could carry more passengers...

. In 1933, the first trans-alpin route was introduced in 1933: Zurich-Milan
Milan
Milan is the second-largest city in Italy and the capital city of the region of Lombardy and of the province of Milan. The city proper has a population of about 1.3 million, while its urban area, roughly coinciding with its administrative province and the bordering Province of Monza and Brianza ,...

.

For the first time in Europe, flight attendants were employed on the Curtiss Condor
Curtiss T-32 Condor II
|-Accidents and incidents:*On 27 July 1934, Swissair Condor CH-170 broke up in mid-air and crashed at Tuttlingen, Germany killing all 12 passengers and crew.-See also:-References:...

 airplanes, beginning in 1934. Nelly Diener, first flight attendant of Europe, attained a world-famous status – but she lost her life after just 79 flights in a crash near Wurmlingen, Germany, on July 27, 1934. The cause of the crash was material fatigue.

Just a few years later, in 1936, Douglas DC-2
Douglas DC-2
The Douglas DC-2 was a 14-seat, twin-engine airliner produced by the American company Douglas Aircraft Corporation starting in 1934. It competed with the Boeing 247...

 airplanes were acquired and London was introduced to the route network. In 1937, the bigger Douglas DC-3
Douglas DC-3
The Douglas DC-3 is an American fixed-wing propeller-driven aircraft whose speed and range revolutionized air transport in the 1930s and 1940s. Its lasting impact on the airline industry and World War II makes it one of the most significant transport aircraft ever made...

 was bought. In the same year, both founding fathers died: Walter Mittelholzer during mountaineering
Mountaineering
Mountaineering or mountain climbing is the sport, hobby or profession of hiking, skiing, and climbing mountains. While mountaineering began as attempts to reach the highest point of unclimbed mountains it has branched into specialisations that address different aspects of the mountain and consists...

 in the Steiermark, Austria, and Balz Zimmermann succumbed to an infectious disease.

On August 27, 1939, days before World War II broke out, the airspace over Germany and France was closed. Swissair was forced to suspend service to Amsterdam, Paris and London. Two days later, Swissair's aviation was closed completely. Of 180 employees, 131 had to serve in the army, and in spite of the war, some routes were re-introduced, like those to Munich, Berlin
Berlin
Berlin is the capital city of Germany and is one of the 16 states of Germany. With a population of 3.45 million people, Berlin is Germany's largest city. It is the second most populous city proper and the seventh most populous urban area in the European Union...

, Rome
Rome
Rome is the capital of Italy and the country's largest and most populated city and comune, with over 2.7 million residents in . The city is located in the central-western portion of the Italian Peninsula, on the Tiber River within the Lazio region of Italy.Rome's history spans two and a half...

 and Barcelona
Barcelona
Barcelona is the second largest city in Spain after Madrid, and the capital of Catalonia, with a population of 1,621,537 within its administrative limits on a land area of...

. In 1940, an invasion of Switzerland was feared, and Swissair moved its operations to the Magadino
Magadino
Magadino is a former municipality in the district of Locarno in the canton of Ticino in Switzerland.On 25 April 2010, the former municipalities of Caviano, Contone, Gerra Gambarogno, Indemini, Magadino, Piazzogna, San Nazzaro, Sant'Abbondio and Vira Gambarogno merged in the new municipality of...

 plains in Ticino
Ticino
Canton Ticino or Ticino is the southernmost canton of Switzerland. Named after the Ticino river, it is the only canton in which Italian is the sole official language...

. The operations were suspended definitively in August 1944, when a Swissair DC-2 was destroyed in Stuttgart
Stuttgart
Stuttgart is the capital of the state of Baden-Württemberg in southern Germany. The sixth-largest city in Germany, Stuttgart has a population of 600,038 while the metropolitan area has a population of 5.3 million ....

 during an American bombing raid.

On July 30, 1945 Swissair was able to resume commercial aviation.

Ascension

In 1947 the rise of shareholder capital to 20 million Swiss Francs enabled long haul flights to New York, South Africa and South America with Douglas DC-4
Douglas DC-4
The Douglas DC-4 is a four-engined propeller-driven airliner developed by the Douglas Aircraft Company. It served during World War II, in the Berlin Airlift and into the 1960s in a military role...

 aircraft. The modern Convair 240
Convair 240
The Convair CV-240 was an American airliner produced by Convair from 1947 to 1954, initially as a possible replacement of the ubiquitous Douglas DC-3. While featuring a more modern design, the 240 series was able to make some inroads as a commercial airliner and also had a long development cycle...

, the first Swissair planes with pressurized cabins, was used for short- and medium range flights from late 1948. The first flight to New York via Shannon
Shannon Airport
Shannon Airport, is one of the Republic of Ireland's three primary airports along with Dublin and Cork. In 2010 around 1,750,000 passengers passed through the airport, making it the third busiest airport in the Republic of Ireland after Dublin and Cork, and the fifth busiest airport on the island...

 and Stephenville (Newfoundland)
Stephenville, Newfoundland and Labrador
Stephenville is a Canadian town in Newfoundland and Labrador on the west coast of the island of Newfoundland....

 took place on May 2, 1947 and actually ended in Washington, DC because landing at New York's LaGuardia Airport was not possible due to fog. Total flight time was 20 hours and 55 minutes.

The public, including the federal government, the states of Switzerland (Cantons), municipalities, the Swiss Federal Railways and the Swiss postal services took over 30.6 % of the shares and enabled the Swissair to get a credit of 15 million Swiss Francs to purchase two Douglas DC-6
Douglas DC-6
The Douglas DC-6 is a piston-powered airliner and transport aircraft built by the Douglas Aircraft Company from 1946 to 1958. Originally intended as a military transport near the end of World War II, it was reworked after the war to compete with the Lockheed Constellation in the long-range...

 airplanes. By that act, Swissair became the national flag carrier
Flag carrier
A flag carrier is a transportation company, such as an airline or shipping company, that, being locally registered in a given country, enjoys preferential rights or privileges, accorded by the government, for international operations. It may be a state-run, state-owned or private but...

 of Switzerland.

In 1948, the airport in Dübendorf, which served as the base of Swissair, was relocated to Zurich-Kloten. Military aviation continued in Dübendorf. The next year, Swissair plunged into a financial crisis because of a sudden devaluation of the British Pound because fares, except traffic to the United States, were calculated in the British currency. At that time, the traffic to England made up 40 % of Swissair's revenues.

In June 1950, Walter Berchtold, manager of the Swiss Federal Railways, was elected to the directorial board of Swissair and served as the director. Until 1971, he coined the corporate culture of Swissair. He grasped the importance of corporate image and corporate identity, and after the example of BOAC
Boac
Boac may refer to:* Boac, Marinduque, a municipality in the Southern Philippines* Boac , an American rapper* British Overseas Airways Corporation, a former British state-owned airline...

's "Speedbird
Speedbird
Speedbird is a call sign used by British Airways during air traffic control procedures, as well as the name for the stylised Imperial Airways and later, British Overseas Airways Corporation emblem.-History:...

", he introduced the arrow-shaped Swissair logo. Giving flight personnel a distinct uniform was also an important point. At the time flight attendants' uniforms resembled the gray-blue ones of the Swiss Women's Army Corps
Women's Army Corps
The Women's Army Corps was the women's branch of the US Army. It was created as an auxiliary unit, the Women's Army Auxiliary Corps on 15 May 1942 by Public Law 554, and converted to full status as the WAC in 1943...

, so Berchtold introduced ones in a modish marine blue. Swissair put a veritable fashion competition of Europe's airlines into motion.
In 1952 the cabin layout on northern trans-Atlantic routes was changed into one with a first and a tourist class. First class consisted of comfortable chairs in which one could sleep, given the name "Slumberettes". A short time later, those sleeping chairs were succeeded by beds, modeled after the U.S. Pullman railway wagons. Two adjacent seats were moved towards each other and formed a lower berth. The wall panel could be folded downwards, forming the upper berth in which the other person could sleep. One year later, the tourist class was introduced also on Europe flights.

In 1953 Swissair, together with the city of Basel, founded a charter Company called Balair
Balair
Balair was a Swiss airline that became BalairCTA when it merged with CTA/Compagnie de Transport Aerien in 1993. Balair had its headquarters in Basel.-Company history:...

, re-using the name of one of its predecessors, a company which initially used older Swissair aircraft to fly to holiday destinations.

As the first European customer, Swissair bought the Douglas DC-7
Douglas DC-7
The Douglas DC-7 is an American transport aircraft built by the Douglas Aircraft Company from 1953 to 1958. It was the last major piston engine powered transport made by Douglas, coming just a few years before the advent of jet aircraft such as the Boeing 707 and Douglas DC-8.-Design and...

C which enabled it to perform non-stop flights to the United States. For shorter-range routes, the Convair Metropolitan was put into use.

In 1957, the Far East was introduced to the route network. Direct flights to Tokyo were established, with intermediate stops in Athens, Karachi, Bombay, Bangkok and Manila. In the same year, Swissair helped Aristotle Onassis
Aristotle Onassis
Aristotle Sokratis Onassis , commonly called Ari or Aristo Onassis, was a prominent Greek shipping magnate.- Early life :Onassis was born in Karatass, a suburb of Smyrna to Socrates and Penelope Onassis...

 to form the new Greek airline, Olympic Airways.

While the competitors first looked at turboprop
Turboprop
A turboprop engine is a type of turbine engine which drives an aircraft propeller using a reduction gear.The gas turbine is designed specifically for this application, with almost all of its output being used to drive the propeller...

 airplanes to replace their piston-engined craft, Swissair introduced jet airplanes directly. Together with SAS, Swissair bought Douglas DC-8 aircraft which were delivered beginning in 1960. For medium and short ranges the Sud Aviation Caravelle
Sud Aviation Caravelle
The Sud Aviation SE 210 Caravelle was the first short/medium-range jet airliner produced by the French Sud Aviation firm starting in 1955 . The Caravelle was one of the more successful European first generation jetliners, selling throughout Europe and even penetrating the United States market, with...

 was purchased. The aircraft were maintained together with SAS, and also manuals for operation and maintenance were co-written.

As one of the few companies worldwide to do so, Swissair bought Convair 990
Convair 990
The Convair 990 Coronado was a narrow-body jet airliner produced by the Convair division of General Dynamics, a "stretched" version of their earlier Convair 880 produced in response to a request from American Airlines. The 990 was lengthened by 10 feet, which increased the number of passengers from...

 "Coronado" aircraft in 1962, for their medium and long range routes. Although the machines did not completely fulfill the contractual specifications at first, they were liked by employees and customers alike. They were operated on the airline's routes to South America, West Africa and the Middle and Far East.

1966 saw the introduction of the Douglas DC-9. This type developed into the backbone of the short- and medium-range routes, and, after convincing Douglas, on behalf of Swissair the Douglas Corporation offered a stretched variant: the DC-9-32. For the first time, Swissair was the launching customer of an aircraft type.

In 1971, Armin Baltensweiler took over as the president of the directorial board and ran the enterprise for over two decades. In the same year, the first Boeing 747-200
Boeing 747
The Boeing 747 is a wide-body commercial airliner and cargo transport, often referred to by its original nickname, Jumbo Jet, or Queen of the Skies. It is among the world's most recognizable aircraft, and was the first wide-body ever produced...

 Jumbo-Jet was acquired, and in the next year the first McDonnell Douglas DC-10-30 followed. Both types shaped the long-haul fleet until the 1990s. Again, the specifications of both aircraft were developed in collaboration with SAS. Also in 1972, Switzerland introduced a prohibition of night flights, which led to the cessation of cheaper night fares.

The second airline to offer service to the People's Republic of China was Swissair, which introduced service to Beijing and Shanghai in 1975. In the same year, Swissair was the launch customer for another aircraft type: the DC-9-51. In 1977, Swissair was the launch customer for the third DC-9 type: the DC-9-81 variant, which is now called the MD-80. Armin Baltensweiler had traveled to a meeting of McDonnell-Douglas' directorial board in St. Louis to convince them of further stretching the fuselage of the DC-9-51. Since then, Baltensweiler was called the "Father of the MD-80".

In 1979, Swissair was the first company to order the Airbus A310
Airbus A310
The Airbus A310 is a medium- to long-range twin-engine widebody jet airliner. Launched in July 1978, it was the second aircraft created by Airbus Industrie,a consortium of European aerospace companies, Airbus is now fully owned by EADS and since 2001 has been known as Airbus SAS. the consortium of...

-200 and the Jumbo-Jet variant with a stretched upper deck, the Boeing 747-300. Also, the Fokker 100 short range aircraft and the three-engined MD-11
McDonnell Douglas MD-11
The McDonnell Douglas MD-11 is a three-engine medium- to long-range widebody jet airliner, manufactured by McDonnell Douglas and, later, by Boeing Commercial Airplanes. Based on the DC-10, it features a stretched fuselage, increased wingspan with winglets, refined airfoils on the wing and smaller...

 were aircraft for which Swissair was the launch customer.

1983 saw the replacement of the older DC-9's by MD-83 aircraft.

Since the 1960s, Swissair was a world leader in the development of cargo reservation systems (CRS). PARS and CARIDO were examples for booking passenger seats and freight space.

"The flying bank"

After the 1960s, air traffic increased quickly and allowed many airlines – many of which were quasi-monopolists
Monopoly
A monopoly exists when a specific person or enterprise is the only supplier of a particular commodity...

 on their routes – to yield high revenues. Especially Swissair profited from her excellent reputation as a quality airline and from the fact that the political neutrality of Switzerland allowed the company to fly to exotic, but lucrative destinations in Africa and in the Middle East. In geographic terms, the central position of Switzerland in Europe helped her to generate revenue from transfer passengers.

With the beginning of deregulation and liberalisation, airlines felt growing financial pressure. In 1978, Moritz Suter founded a regional airline named Crossair
Crossair
Crossair Ltd. Co. for Regional European Air Transport was a regional airline headquartered on the grounds of EuroAirport Basel-Mulhouse-Freiburg in Saint-Louis, Haut-Rhin, France, near Basel, Switzerland...

, which put Swissair under additional stress. To counter these changes, Swissair invested their large financial reserves into takeover
Takeover
In business, a takeover is the purchase of one company by another . In the UK, the term refers to the acquisition of a public company whose shares are listed on a stock exchange, in contrast to the acquisition of a private company.- Friendly takeovers :Before a bidder makes an offer for another...

s and into flight-related trades like baggage handling, catering, aircraft maintenance and duty-free stores. The advantage of this strategy was the diversification of economical risks, but the core business of Swissair, commercial aviation, suffered. In the end of the 1980, Swissair was thus called "The flying bank", appealing to the large hidden assets and the huge liquidity Swissair had. Secondary, the "flying bank" was the designation for a corporate group which cared more about financial management than about flying airplanes.

Concentration

In regard to the furthering liberalisation of Europe's airline market, Swissair focused more on commercial aviation and extended her partnerships. As the first European airline, Swissair signed in 1989 a cooperation treaty with Delta Air Lines
Delta Air Lines
Delta Air Lines, Inc. is a major airline based in the United States and headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia. The airline operates an extensive domestic and international network serving all continents except Antarctica. Delta and its subsidiaries operate over 4,000 flights every day...

 and the Singapore Airlines
Singapore Airlines
Singapore Airlines Limited is the flag carrier airline of Singapore. Singapore Airlines operates a hub at Changi Airport and has a strong presence in the Southeast Asia, East Asia, South Asia, and "Kangaroo Route" markets...

 to form the alliance "Global Excellence". In 1990, together with SAS, Austrian Airlines
Austrian Airlines
Austrian Airlines is the flag carrier airline of Austria, headquartered in Office Park 2 on the grounds of Vienna International Airport in Schwechat, Wien-Umgebung and a subsidiary of Deutsche Lufthansa AG. Together with regional subsidiary Tyrolean Airways and charter arm Lauda Air, it operates...

 and Finnair
Finnair
Finnair Plc is the flag carrier and largest airline of Finland, with its headquarters on the grounds of Helsinki Airport in Vantaa, Finland, and its main hub at Helsinki Airport. Finnair and its subsidiaries dominate both the domestic and international air travel markets in Finland. The largest...

, the "European Quality Alliance" was founded. The latter alliance was later renamed to the "Qualiflyer Group".

Because of the weak economy, the Gulf War
Gulf War
The Persian Gulf War , commonly referred to as simply the Gulf War, was a war waged by a U.N.-authorized coalition force from 34 nations led by the United States, against Iraq in response to Iraq's invasion and annexation of Kuwait.The war is also known under other names, such as the First Gulf...

 and rising fuel costs, many airlines lost money in 1990. The ongoing liberalisation enforced the competition additionally, and Swissair lost 99 million Swiss Francs in the first half year, and so Swissair was not able to pay dividends to its shareholders – for the third time after 1951 and 1961. In the years 1991 and 1992 Swissair had to dissolve financial reserves to cushion the losses from the commercial aviation sector.

On January 1, 1991, commercial aviation in Europe was completely liberalized and the existing capacities led to an aggressive competition among the airlines. In a national referendum on December 6, 1992, Swiss citizens rejected taking part in the European Economic Area
European Economic Area
The European Economic Area was established on 1 January 1994 following an agreement between the member states of the European Free Trade Association and the European Community, later the European Union . Specifically, it allows Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway to participate in the EU's Internal...

, EEA. This referendum was a significant disservice to Swissair, an airline with a minute domestic market: Its planes were not allowed to take up passengers during intermediate landings in EEA countries (e.g., Zurich - Frankfurt - New York), and Swissair was not allowed to offer tickets for sections that fully lie in EEA member countries (e.g., Zurich - Frankfurt - Paris). See also freedoms of the air
Freedoms of the air
The freedoms of the air are a set of commercial aviation rights granting a country's airline the privilege to enter and land in another country's airspace...

.

Like other airlines of smaller countries, Swissair now was under significant pressure. More and more national airlines affiliated themselves with airline alliances in order to maintain a worldwide market presence. But in order to be interesting for American alliance partners, an airline must have a critical size in terms of passenger numbers. To meet that goal, in 1993 a fusion of Swissair, KLM, SAS (each 30% of the new company) and Austrian Airlines was proposed. This project bore the name "Alcazar", after the Spanish term for "castle". But in various countries, this project was criticised. In Switzerland itself it was thought that the huge financial assets were too precious to merge Swissair with the other three airlines.

Hunter Strategy

In the 1990s Swissair initiated the Hunter Strategy, a major expansion programme devised by the consulting firm of McKinsey & Co
McKinsey & Company
McKinsey & Company, Inc. is a global management consulting firm that focuses on solving issues of concern to senior management. McKinsey serves as an adviser to many businesses, governments, and institutions...

. Using this strategy, Swissair aimed to grow its market share through the acquisition of small airlines rather than entering into alliance agreements. Swissair decided to acquire 49.5 percent of the unprofitable Belgian
Belgium
Belgium , officially the Kingdom of Belgium, is a federal state in Western Europe. It is a founding member of the European Union and hosts the EU's headquarters, and those of several other major international organisations such as NATO.Belgium is also a member of, or affiliated to, many...

 flag carrier, Sabena
Sabena
SABENA was the national airline of Belgium from 1923 to 2001, with its base at Brussels National Airport. After its bankruptcy in 2001, the newly formed SN Brussels Airlines took over part of SABENA's assets in February 2002, which then became Brussels Airlines...

, and significant stakes in the carriers Air Liberté
Air Liberté
Air Liberté was an airline in France founded in July 1987. Air Liberté was headquartered in Rungis. Airlib was headquartered in Orly Airport Building 363 in Paray-Vieille-Poste....

, AOM, Air Littoral
Air Littoral
Air Littoral was an airline in France founded in 1972 and originally based at Montpellier - Méditerranée Airport in Montpellier. In 1975 it was headquartered at Aérodrome du Castellet....

, Volare
Volare
Volare is the Latin and Italian verb to fly; adding an acute accent on the final e it is also the Spanish word for I will fly...

, LOT
Lot
Lot or lots may refer to:*Lot , a unit of weight used in many European countries since Middle Ages until the beginning of the 20th century*Lot, a set of goods, together for sale in an auction; or a quantity of a financial instrument...

, Air Europe
Air Europe
Air Europe was a wholly privately owned, independentindependent from government-owned corporations British airline, established in 1978 under the working title Inter European Airways. It adopted the Air Europe name the following year...

, TAP Portugal
TAP Portugal
TAP Portugal, commonly known as TAP, is the national airline of Portugal. It has its head office in Building 25 on the grounds of Portela Airport in Lisbon, and has been a member of the Star Alliance since 14 March 2005, the same day on which the company celebrated its 60th anniversary...

, Turkish Airlines
Turkish Airlines
Turkish Airlines is the national flag carrier airline of Turkey, headquartered in the Turkish Airlines General Management Building on the grounds of Atatürk Airport in Yeşilköy, Bakirköy district, Istanbul...

, South African Airways
South African Airways
South African Airways is the national flag carrier and largest airline of South Africa, with headquarters in Airways Park on the grounds of OR Tambo International Airport in Kempton Park, Ekurhuleni, Gauteng. The airline flies to 36 destinations worldwide from its hub at OR Tambo International...

, Portugalia
Portugália
Portugália is a regional airline with its head office in Lisbon, Portugal, and a subsidiary of TAP Portugal. When it was an independent company its head office was in Building 70 on the grounds of Portela Airport in Lisbon...

 and LTU.

The buying spree created a major cash flow
Cash flow
Cash flow is the movement of money into or out of a business, project, or financial product. It is usually measured during a specified, finite period of time. Measurement of cash flow can be used for calculating other parameters that give information on a company's value and situation.Cash flow...

 crisis for parent company SAirGroup, and was exacerbated by the environment caused by the September 11 attacks. Unable to make payments to creditors on its large debt, and with the refusal of UBS AG
UBS AG
UBS AG is a Swiss global financial services company headquartered in Basel and Zürich, Switzerland, which provides investment banking, asset management, and wealth management services for private, corporate, and institutional clients worldwide, as well as retail clients in Switzerland...

 to extend its line of credit on 2 October 2001, the entire Swissair fleet was abruptly grounded. Many blamed UBS for the fiasco, causing demonstrators to take to the streets with signs referring to UBS chairman, Marcel Ospel
Marcel Ospel
Marcel Louis Ospel was a former Chairman of the Board of Directors of UBS AG, the largest bank in Switzerland.Marcel Ospel had an income in 2005 of around 24 million CHF....

 as "Bin Ospel" and redefining the bank's acronym, "UBS" as the United Bandits of Switzerland.

Two large bridge loan
Bridge loan
A bridge loan is a type of short-term loan, typically taken out for a period of 2 weeks to 3 years pending the arrangement of larger or longer-term financing.-Description:A bridge loan is interim financing for an individual or business until...

s from the Swiss government were required to finance continuation of flight operations. This notwithstanding, with the resumption of flight service, it was necessary for flight crews to carry large sums of cash to purchase fuel at foreign airports.

In 2002, SAirGroup's Stake in Crossair was sold to the Swiss banks UBS and Credit Suisse
Credit Suisse
The Credit Suisse Group AG is a Swiss multinational financial services company headquartered in Zurich, with more than 250 branches in Switzerland and operations in more than 50 countries.-History:...

. Also, the 'new' Crossair took over various assets of former Swissair, including employees, aircraft and most European routes. Swissair and the SAirGroup were handed over to the liquidation firm of Jürg Hoss Liquidators and ceased operations on 31 March 2002.
Crossair was renamed Swiss International Air Lines
Swiss International Air Lines
Swiss International Air Lines AG is the principal airline of Switzerland operating scheduled services in Europe and to North America, South America, Africa and Asia. Its main hub is Zurich Airport...

 and officially took over Swissair's intercontinental routes on April 1, 2002, ending 71 years of Swissair Service.

The SwissairGroup (the name change from SAirGroup to SwissairGroup was announced in 2001 but never officially changed) still existed as 'SAirGroup in Nachlassstundung' for several years until all assets were liquidated, including a large auction where many of the remaining Swissair assets, such as historic items, were auctioned. Today, Gategourmet continues as a subsidiary under the parent firm Gate Group
Gate Group
gategroup is the parent company for eleven brands that provide services to the travel industry, including catering, hospitality, provisioning and logistics. Its head office is at Zurich Airport....

.

Factors behind collapse

Like other airlines, Swissair's operations and profitability
Profit (accounting)
In accounting, profit can be considered to be the difference between the purchase price and the costs of bringing to market whatever it is that is accounted as an enterprise in terms of the component costs of delivered goods and/or services and any operating or other expenses.-Definition:There are...

 were disrupted in the wake of the September 11, 2001 attacks
September 11, 2001 attacks
The September 11 attacks The September 11 attacks The September 11 attacks (also referred to as September 11, September 11th or 9/119/11 is pronounced "nine eleven". The slash is not part of the pronunciation...

 on the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

. As Swissair's directors
Board of directors
A board of directors is a body of elected or appointed members who jointly oversee the activities of a company or organization. Other names include board of governors, board of managers, board of regents, board of trustees, and board of visitors...

 included several politicians, commentators have pointed to potential conflicts of interest
Conflict of interest
A conflict of interest occurs when an individual or organization is involved in multiple interests, one of which could possibly corrupt the motivation for an act in the other....

 as fundamental to the demise of Swissair. Media have also suggested that the directorial board failed to oversee the actions of Philippe Bruggisser (Chief Operating Officer
Chief operating officer
A Chief Operating Officer or Director of Operations can be one of the highest-ranking executives in an organization and comprises part of the "C-Suite"...

 since 1996) and Eric Honegger (board member since 1993 and later board president), and that they left behind a convoluted corporate structure and financial commitments – among others a further purchase of 35.5 percent of Sabena's stocks – which would only come to light when Mario Corti
Mario Corti
Mario Corti is a Swiss businessperson who acted as the chairperson of Swissair. Corti was put on trial, accused of unlawful management in regards to the failure of Swissair in 2001. Corti was acquitted of all charges. Corti began his term as the Swissair CEO in 2001. Corti, who also served as the...

 was trying to save the airline.

The judiciary
Judiciary
The judiciary is the system of courts that interprets and applies the law in the name of the state. The judiciary also provides a mechanism for the resolution of disputes...

 is continuing to examine why Swissair acquired counsel
Counsel
A counsel or a counselor gives advice, more particularly in legal matters.-U.K. and Ireland:The legal system in England uses the term counsel as an approximate synonym for a barrister-at-law, and may apply it to mean either a single person who pleads a cause, or collectively, the body of barristers...

ling that supported the Hunter Strategy, and why Swissair continued to make certain payments despite nearing insolvency
Insolvency
Insolvency means the inability to pay one's debts as they fall due. Usually used to refer to a business, insolvency refers to the inability of a company to pay off its debts.Business insolvency is defined in two different ways:...

. Questions have also been raised about federal aid given to Swissair and the politicians involved. The highly competitive nature of the market during the business's final years also precipitated its demise: like rival company Sabena
Sabena
SABENA was the national airline of Belgium from 1923 to 2001, with its base at Brussels National Airport. After its bankruptcy in 2001, the newly formed SN Brussels Airlines took over part of SABENA's assets in February 2002, which then became Brussels Airlines...

, Swissair fell victim to the competition of budget airlines such as Ryanair
Ryanair
Ryanair is an Irish low-cost airline. Its head office is at Dublin Airport and its primary operational bases at Dublin Airport and London Stansted Airport....

 and EasyJet
EasyJet
EasyJet Airline Company Limited is a British airline headquartered at London Luton Airport. It carries more passengers than any other United Kingdom-based airline, operating domestic and international scheduled services on 500 routes between 118 European, North African, and West Asian airports...

.

A BBC
BBC
The British Broadcasting Corporation is a British public service broadcaster. Its headquarters is at Broadcasting House in the City of Westminster, London. It is the largest broadcaster in the world, with about 23,000 staff...

correspondent said regarding the collapse "Something did die in Switzerland that day: not just an airline but an image the Swiss had of themselves and, more importantly, of their business leaders" and "The Swiss financial community's reputation for good business sense was already seriously damaged by the Swissair disaster."

Management trial

The criminal trial began 16 January 2007 in Bülach
Bülach
Bülach is a municipality in Switzerland in the canton of Zurich, located in the district of the same name, and belongs to the Glatt Valley .-History:Bülach is first mentioned in 811 as Pulacha...

. The entire Swissair management board stood facing criminal charges of mismanagement, false statements, and forgery of documents. Top defendants in the trial were Mario Corti
Mario Corti
Mario Corti is a Swiss businessperson who acted as the chairperson of Swissair. Corti was put on trial, accused of unlawful management in regards to the failure of Swissair in 2001. Corti was acquitted of all charges. Corti began his term as the Swissair CEO in 2001. Corti, who also served as the...

, Philippe Bruggisser, George Schorderet, Jacqualyn Fouse, Eric Honegger and Vrena Spoerry. Corti, Honegger and Spoerry entered statements proclaiming their innocence.

On 7 June 2007 the court in Bülach
Bülach
Bülach is a municipality in Switzerland in the canton of Zurich, located in the district of the same name, and belongs to the Glatt Valley .-History:Bülach is first mentioned in 811 as Pulacha...

 cleared the defendants of all criminal charges over the airline's 2001 bankruptcy.

Fleet

In its 71 years of existence, Swissair operated the following aircraft.
Aircraft Total Delivered Retired Notes
Fokker VII a
Fokker F.VII
The Fokker F.VII, also known as the Fokker Trimotor, was an airliner produced in the 1920s by the Dutch aircraft manufacturer Fokker, Fokker's American subsidiary Atlantic Aircraft Corporation, and other companies under licence....

1 1931 1950 acquired from Balair
Balair
Balair was a Swiss airline that became BalairCTA when it merged with CTA/Compagnie de Transport Aerien in 1993. Balair had its headquarters in Basel.-Company history:...

 now on display in the Swiss Transport Museum in Lucerne
Fokker VII b
Fokker F.VII
The Fokker F.VII, also known as the Fokker Trimotor, was an airliner produced in the 1920s by the Dutch aircraft manufacturer Fokker, Fokker's American subsidiary Atlantic Aircraft Corporation, and other companies under licence....

8 1931 1935 acquired from Ad Astra and Balair
Dornier Merkur 2 1931 1931 acquired from Ad Astra
Messerschmitt M 18
Messerschmitt M 18
-References:...

1 1931 1938 Taken over from Ad Astra
Comte AC-4
Comte AC-4
-External links:*...

1 1931 1947 acquired from Ad Astra
now in the SR Technics Hangar in Zurich
Lockheed Model 9 Orion 2 1932 1936 both were sold to the Republicans in the Spanish Civil War
Spanish Civil War
The Spanish Civil WarAlso known as The Crusade among Nationalists, the Fourth Carlist War among Carlists, and The Rebellion or Uprising among Republicans. was a major conflict fought in Spain from 17 July 1936 to 1 April 1939...

. (The model at the Swiss Transport Museum
Swiss Transport Museum
The Swiss Transport Museum or Verkehrshaus der Schweiz, in Lucerne, is a museum, opened in July 1959 and exhibiting all forms of transport as well as communications...

 never served in the Swissair fleet; but it was bought in the 1960s by Swissair, restored to flying status and painted in Swissair colors.)
Clark G.A. 43 2 1934 1936 first all-metal plane
Fixed-wing aircraft
A fixed-wing aircraft is an aircraft capable of flight using wings that generate lift due to the vehicle's forward airspeed. Fixed-wing aircraft are distinct from rotary-wing aircraft in which wings rotate about a fixed mast and ornithopters in which lift is generated by flapping wings.A powered...

 in Swissair fleet
Curtiss AT-32C Condor
Curtiss T-32 Condor II
|-Accidents and incidents:*On 27 July 1934, Swissair Condor CH-170 broke up in mid-air and crashed at Tuttlingen, Germany killing all 12 passengers and crew.-See also:-References:...

1 1934 1934 first European airliner
Airliner
An airliner is a large fixed-wing aircraft for transporting passengers and cargo. Such aircraft are operated by airlines. Although the definition of an airliner can vary from country to country, an airliner is typically defined as an aircraft intended for carrying multiple passengers in commercial...

 to have a stewardess
Flight attendant
Flight attendants or cabin crew are members of an aircrew employed by airlines primarily to ensure the safety and comfort of passengers aboard commercial flights, on select business jet aircraft, and on some military aircraft.-History:The role of a flight attendant derives from that of similar...

 
crashed in 1934
Douglas DC-2
Douglas DC-2
The Douglas DC-2 was a 14-seat, twin-engine airliner produced by the American company Douglas Aircraft Corporation starting in 1934. It competed with the Boeing 247...

6 1934 1952 assembled under licence by Fokker
Fokker
Fokker was a Dutch aircraft manufacturer named after its founder, Anthony Fokker. The company operated under several different names, starting out in 1912 in Schwerin, Germany, moving to the Netherlands in 1919....

 at Schiphol Airport near Amsterdam
Amsterdam
Amsterdam is the largest city and the capital of the Netherlands. The current position of Amsterdam as capital city of the Kingdom of the Netherlands is governed by the constitution of August 24, 1815 and its successors. Amsterdam has a population of 783,364 within city limits, an urban population...

Junkers Ju-86 B-0
Junkers Ju 86
The Junkers Ju 86 was a German monoplane bomber and civilian airliner designed in the early 1930s, and employed by both sides during World War II. The civilian model Ju 86B could carry 10 passengers. Two were delivered to Swissair and five to Luft Hansa...

2 1936 1939 crash-landed or crashed
de Havilland Dragon Rapide
De Havilland Dragon Rapide
The de Havilland DH.89 Dragon Rapide was a British short-haul passenger airliner of the 1930s.-Design and development:Designed by the de Havilland company in late 1933 as a faster and more comfortable successor to the DH.84 Dragon, it was in effect a twin-engined, scaled-down version of the...

3 1937 1954
Douglas DC-3
Douglas DC-3
The Douglas DC-3 is an American fixed-wing propeller-driven aircraft whose speed and range revolutionized air transport in the 1930s and 1940s. Its lasting impact on the airline industry and World War II makes it one of the most significant transport aircraft ever made...

5 + 11 1937 1969 The first 5 were assembled prewar by Fokker
Fokker
Fokker was a Dutch aircraft manufacturer named after its founder, Anthony Fokker. The company operated under several different names, starting out in 1912 in Schwerin, Germany, moving to the Netherlands in 1919....

 at Schiphol Airport near Amsterdam
Amsterdam
Amsterdam is the largest city and the capital of the Netherlands. The current position of Amsterdam as capital city of the Kingdom of the Netherlands is governed by the constitution of August 24, 1815 and its successors. Amsterdam has a population of 783,364 within city limits, an urban population...

, whilst the others were converted USAF C-47's and postwar built aircraft
de Havilland Mosquito
De Havilland Mosquito
The de Havilland DH.98 Mosquito was a British multi-role combat aircraft that served during the Second World War and the postwar era. It was known affectionately as the "Mossie" to its crews and was also nicknamed "The Wooden Wonder"...

1 1945 1945 was originally used as a Royal Air Force
Royal Air Force
The Royal Air Force is the aerial warfare service branch of the British Armed Forces. Formed on 1 April 1918, it is the oldest independent air force in the world...

 fighter aircraft in World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

, fell into Swiss hands
Swiss government used it, sold it to Swissair in 1944
Mraz M-65 Cap
Fieseler Fi 156
The Fieseler Fi 156 Storch was a small German liaison aircraft built by Fieseler before and during World War II, and production continued in other countries into the 1950s for the private market...

1 1948 1950 built under license by Fieseler Storch
sold to Lindt & Sprüngli
Lindt & Sprüngli
Lindt & Sprüngli AG, more commonly known as Lindt, is a luxury Swiss chocolate and confectionery company.- History :The origins of the company date back to 1845...

Nord 1000
Nord Aviation
Nord-Aviation was a state-owned French aircraft manufacturer. It was created on October 1, 1954 upon the acquisition of SFECMAS by SNCAN...

1 1948 1953 sold to Federal Air Office
Douglas DC-4
Douglas DC-4
The Douglas DC-4 is a four-engined propeller-driven airliner developed by the Douglas Aircraft Company. It served during World War II, in the Berlin Airlift and into the 1960s in a military role...

5 1946 1959 used on service to JFK
John F. Kennedy International Airport
John F. Kennedy International Airport is an international airport located in the borough of Queens in New York City, about southeast of Lower Manhattan. It is the busiest international air passenger gateway to the United States, handling more international traffic than any other airport in North...

 
three crashed or were damaged or destroyed
Convair CV-240 8 1949 1957 most were sold
some scrapped, one crashed
Douglas DC-6
Douglas DC-6
The Douglas DC-6 is a piston-powered airliner and transport aircraft built by the Douglas Aircraft Company from 1946 to 1958. Originally intended as a military transport near the end of World War II, it was reworked after the war to compete with the Lockheed Constellation in the long-range...

8 1951 1962 most were sold, one was leased
one's whereabouts are not known
Douglas DC-7
Douglas DC-7
The Douglas DC-7 is an American transport aircraft built by the Douglas Aircraft Company from 1953 to 1958. It was the last major piston engine powered transport made by Douglas, coming just a few years before the advent of jet aircraft such as the Boeing 707 and Douglas DC-8.-Design and...

C
5 1956 1962 all were sold
one was the last DC-7 to be built
Convair CV-440 Metropolitan 12 1956 1968 most were sold
first Swissair plane to use integrated Weather Radar
Scottish Aviation Twin Pioneer
Scottish Aviation Twin Pioneer
|-See also:-Bibliography:*Green, William. Macdonald Aircraft Handbook. London. Macdonald & Co. Ltd., 1964.*Donald, David, ed. The Encyclopedia of World Aircraft. London: Aerospace Publishing, 1997. ISBN 1-85605-375-X....

1 1957 1957 used for high-altitude airports
Sud Aviation SE210 Caravelle
Sud Aviation Caravelle
The Sud Aviation SE 210 Caravelle was the first short/medium-range jet airliner produced by the French Sud Aviation firm starting in 1955 . The Caravelle was one of the more successful European first generation jetliners, selling throughout Europe and even penetrating the United States market, with...

9 1960 1971 Swissair's first jetliner
Jet airliner
A jet airliner is an airliner that is powered by jet engines. This term is sometimes contracted to jetliner or jet.In contrast to today's relatively fuel-efficient, turbofan-powered air travel, first generation jet airliner travel was noisy and fuel inefficient...

 
first ones leased from Scandinavian Airlines System
Scandinavian Airlines System
Scandinavian Airlines or SAS, previously Scandinavian Airlines System, is the flag carrier of Denmark, Norway and Sweden, and the largest airline in Scandinavia....

 
most were sold, one still survives
Douglas DC-8-32
Douglas DC-8
The Douglas DC-8 is a four-engined narrow-body passenger commercial jet airliner, manufactured from 1958 to 1972 by the Douglas Aircraft Company...

3 1960 1967 one was converted to a -53 and two were converted to -33's,
Convair 880-22M
Convair 880
The Convair 880 was a narrow-body jet airliner produced by the Convair division of General Dynamics. It was designed to compete with the Boeing 707 and Douglas DC-8 by being smaller and faster, a niche that failed to create demand...

2 1961 1962 leased pending delivery of Convair 990s
Convair 990
Convair 990
The Convair 990 Coronado was a narrow-body jet airliner produced by the Convair division of General Dynamics, a "stretched" version of their earlier Convair 880 produced in response to a request from American Airlines. The 990 was lengthened by 10 feet, which increased the number of passengers from...

  "Coronado
Coronado
Coronado may refer to:* Francisco Vásquez de Coronado, a Spanish explorer* Rodney Coronado, a US activist* Coronado, California* Coronado, Chihuahua* Coronado, Kansas* Coronado * Coronado Yachts* Coronado 15...

"
8 1962 1975 most were sold, one crashed, one is at the Swiss Transport Museum
Swiss Transport Museum
The Swiss Transport Museum or Verkehrshaus der Schweiz, in Lucerne, is a museum, opened in July 1959 and exhibiting all forms of transport as well as communications...

 in Lucerne
Douglas DC-8-53
Douglas DC-8
The Douglas DC-8 is a four-engined narrow-body passenger commercial jet airliner, manufactured from 1958 to 1972 by the Douglas Aircraft Company...

2 1963 1976 one was converted from a -33
; one was hijacked & was blown-up after passengers were released
Fokker F27
Fokker F27
The Fokker F27 Friendship is a turboprop airliner designed and built by the Dutch aircraft manufacturer Fokker.-Design and development:Design of the Fokker F27 started in the 1950s as a replacement to the successful Douglas DC-3 airliner...

3 1965 1972 Operated for Swissair by Balair
Douglas DC-9-15
McDonnell Douglas DC-9
The McDonnell Douglas DC-9 is a twin-engine, single-aisle jet airliner. It was first manufactured in 1965 with its maiden flight later that year. The DC-9 was designed for frequent, short flights. The final DC-9 was delivered in October 1982.The DC-9 was followed in subsequent modified forms by...

5 1966 1968 sent back to Douglas
Douglas Aircraft Company
The Douglas Aircraft Company was an American aerospace manufacturer, based in Long Beach, California. It was founded in 1921 by Donald Wills Douglas, Sr. and later merged with McDonnell Aircraft in 1967 to form McDonnell Douglas...

 or sold
BAC One-Eleven
BAC One-Eleven
The British Aircraft Corporation One-Eleven, also known as the BAC-111, BAC-1-11 or BAC 1-11, was a British short-range jet airliner of the 1960s and 1970s...

3 1968 1969 just leased for capacity reasons
Douglas DC-9-32
McDonnell Douglas DC-9
The McDonnell Douglas DC-9 is a twin-engine, single-aisle jet airliner. It was first manufactured in 1965 with its maiden flight later that year. The DC-9 was designed for frequent, short flights. The final DC-9 was delivered in October 1982.The DC-9 was followed in subsequent modified forms by...

22 1967 1988 one was operated as a freighter -33F
Douglas DC-8-62 7 1967 1984 two were operated as freighter -62F's
Boeing 747-257B
Boeing 747
The Boeing 747 is a wide-body commercial airliner and cargo transport, often referred to by its original nickname, Jumbo Jet, or Queen of the Skies. It is among the world's most recognizable aircraft, and was the first wide-body ever produced...

2 1971 1984 sold
McDonnell Douglas DC-10-30
McDonnell Douglas DC-10
The McDonnell Douglas DC-10 is a three-engine widebody jet airliner manufactured by McDonnell Douglas. The DC-10 has range for medium- to long-haul flights, capable of carrying a maximum 380 passengers. Its most distinguishing feature is the two turbofan engines mounted on underwing pylons and a...

14 (2 were ER version) 1972 1992 sold
some were stored, some were scrapped, some's whereabouts are unknown
McDonnell Douglas DC-9-41
McDonnell Douglas DC-9
The McDonnell Douglas DC-9 is a twin-engine, single-aisle jet airliner. It was first manufactured in 1965 with its maiden flight later that year. The DC-9 was designed for frequent, short flights. The final DC-9 was delivered in October 1982.The DC-9 was followed in subsequent modified forms by...

4 1974 1975 leased from SAS
Scandinavian Airlines System
Scandinavian Airlines or SAS, previously Scandinavian Airlines System, is the flag carrier of Denmark, Norway and Sweden, and the largest airline in Scandinavia....

McDonnell Douglas DC-9-51
McDonnell Douglas DC-9
The McDonnell Douglas DC-9 is a twin-engine, single-aisle jet airliner. It was first manufactured in 1965 with its maiden flight later that year. The DC-9 was designed for frequent, short flights. The final DC-9 was delivered in October 1982.The DC-9 was followed in subsequent modified forms by...

12 1975 1988 sold
some stored, some broken up, some still flying
McDonnell Douglas MD-81/82/83 26 1980 1998 Launch customer of MD-80.
Most sold, some stored, one written off, two crashed before delivery, some still flying
Airbus A310-221
Airbus A310
The Airbus A310 is a medium- to long-range twin-engine widebody jet airliner. Launched in July 1978, it was the second aircraft created by Airbus Industrie,a consortium of European aerospace companies, Airbus is now fully owned by EADS and since 2001 has been known as Airbus SAS. the consortium of...

5 1983 1995 sold to Fedex
FedEx
FedEx Corporation , originally known as FDX Corporation, is a logistics services company, based in the United States with headquarters in Memphis, Tennessee...

, converted to freighters
still flying
Boeing 747-357
Boeing 747
The Boeing 747 is a wide-body commercial airliner and cargo transport, often referred to by its original nickname, Jumbo Jet, or Queen of the Skies. It is among the world's most recognizable aircraft, and was the first wide-body ever produced...

5 1983 2000 one was the prototype
three were combis, two were leased
sold
some stored, one being broken up, one now flying
Airbus A310-332
Airbus A310
The Airbus A310 is a medium- to long-range twin-engine widebody jet airliner. Launched in July 1978, it was the second aircraft created by Airbus Industrie,a consortium of European aerospace companies, Airbus is now fully owned by EADS and since 2001 has been known as Airbus SAS. the consortium of...

6 1985 2000 sold
one stored, one scrapped, some fates are unknown, some still flying
Fokker 100 6 1988 1996 sold
some still flying
McDonnell Douglas MD-11
McDonnell Douglas MD-11
The McDonnell Douglas MD-11 is a three-engine medium- to long-range widebody jet airliner, manufactured by McDonnell Douglas and, later, by Boeing Commercial Airplanes. Based on the DC-10, it features a stretched fuselage, increased wingspan with winglets, refined airfoils on the wing and smaller...

16 1991 2004 most were sold
most still flying, one crashed
Swissair Flight 111
Swissair Flight 111 was a Swissair McDonnell Douglas MD-11 on a scheduled airline flight from John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York City, United States to Cointrin International Airport in Geneva, Switzerland...

Airbus A321-111
Airbus A320 family
The Airbus A320 family is a family of short- to medium-range, narrow-body, commercial passenger jet airliners manufactured by Airbus Industrie.Airbus was originally a consortium of European aerospace companies, and is now fully owned by EADS. Airbus's name has been Airbus SAS since 2001...

12 1995 2002 some were sold, some went to Swiss International Air Lines
Swiss International Air Lines
Swiss International Air Lines AG is the principal airline of Switzerland operating scheduled services in Europe and to North America, South America, Africa and Asia. Its main hub is Zurich Airport...

Airbus A320-214
Airbus A320 family
The Airbus A320 family is a family of short- to medium-range, narrow-body, commercial passenger jet airliners manufactured by Airbus Industrie.Airbus was originally a consortium of European aerospace companies, and is now fully owned by EADS. Airbus's name has been Airbus SAS since 2001...

20 1995 2002 some were sold, some went to Swiss International Air Lines
Swiss International Air Lines
Swiss International Air Lines AG is the principal airline of Switzerland operating scheduled services in Europe and to North America, South America, Africa and Asia. Its main hub is Zurich Airport...

Airbus A319-112
Airbus A320 family
The Airbus A320 family is a family of short- to medium-range, narrow-body, commercial passenger jet airliners manufactured by Airbus Industrie.Airbus was originally a consortium of European aerospace companies, and is now fully owned by EADS. Airbus's name has been Airbus SAS since 2001...

9 1996 2002 some were sold, most went to Swiss International Air Lines
Swiss International Air Lines
Swiss International Air Lines AG is the principal airline of Switzerland operating scheduled services in Europe and to North America, South America, Africa and Asia. Its main hub is Zurich Airport...

Airbus A330-223
Airbus A330
The Airbus A330 is a wide-body twin-engine jet airliner made by Airbus, a division of EADS. Versions of the A330 have a range of and can accommodate up to 335 passengers in a two-class layout or carry of cargo....

16 1998 2002 some were sold, some went to Swiss International Air Lines
Swiss International Air Lines
Swiss International Air Lines AG is the principal airline of Switzerland operating scheduled services in Europe and to North America, South America, Africa and Asia. Its main hub is Zurich Airport...

Airbus A340-600
Airbus A340
The Airbus A340 is a long-range four-engine wide-body commercial passenger jet airliner. Developed by Airbus Industrie,A consortium of European aerospace companies, Airbus is now fully owned by EADS and since 2001 has been known as Airbus SAS. a consortium of European aerospace companies, which is...

order: 9
delivered: -
contract delivery: 2002 when Swissair went bankrupt, Swiss cancelled the orders and ordered the A340-300

Swissair Asia

Swissair Asia was formed to serve Taipei
Taipei
Taipei City is the capital of the Republic of China and the central city of the largest metropolitan area of Taiwan. Situated at the northern tip of the island, Taipei is located on the Tamsui River, and is about 25 km southwest of Keelung, its port on the Pacific Ocean...

, Taiwan
Taiwan
Taiwan , also known, especially in the past, as Formosa , is the largest island of the same-named island group of East Asia in the western Pacific Ocean and located off the southeastern coast of mainland China. The island forms over 99% of the current territory of the Republic of China following...

, within the Republic of China
Republic of China
The Republic of China , commonly known as Taiwan , is a unitary sovereign state located in East Asia. Originally based in mainland China, the Republic of China currently governs the island of Taiwan , which forms over 99% of its current territory, as well as Penghu, Kinmen, Matsu and other minor...

, while Swissair was maintaining service to the People's Republic of China
People's Republic of China
China , officially the People's Republic of China , is the most populous country in the world, with over 1.3 billion citizens. Located in East Asia, the country covers approximately 9.6 million square kilometres...

. Aircraft formerly used by Swissair Asia had the Chinese character Ruì (瑞), from the Chinese translation of Switzerland, Ruìshì (瑞士, means Switzerland), on the tail fin instead of the cross.

Corporate affairs

The Swissair head office was on the grounds of Zurich Airport and in Kloten
Kloten
-External links:* -References:...

.

KSG, Architects G.Müller + G.Berger designed the final head office complex for the airline. It was in proximity to the main airport facilities and to area freeways. The first phase of the building included offices for 1,600 workers, computer rooms, printing rooms, and 500-seat restaurant facilities. The second phase included open plan office room, another computer laboratory, and expansions of the restaurant facilities.

Swissair legacy

In 2002 the successor airline Swiss International Air Lines
Swiss International Air Lines
Swiss International Air Lines AG is the principal airline of Switzerland operating scheduled services in Europe and to North America, South America, Africa and Asia. Its main hub is Zurich Airport...

was born. First called Swiss Air Lines, this Company was based on the former Crossair, and was basically a merger of Crossair and former Swissair employees, routes and aircraft. The Company Swissair continued to exist (in liquidation), but had no further assets. Due to legal problems with Swissair, the name had to be changed to Swiss International Air Lines

Swiss took over 26 longhaul and 26 medium haul Aircraft from the Swissair fleet and refurbished the liveries to turn it into the new Swiss fleet, together with the former Crossair Fleet consisting of Embraer 145, Saab 2000, MD-80 Series and Avro RJ.

After problems with the former Crossair pilot unions, who refused to accept different conditions than the former Swissair pilots within the same airline, a subsidiary called Swiss European Air Lines was founded which belongs 100% to Swiss International Air Lines.

In 2004, it appeared that Swiss was going to become a member of the Oneworld
Oneworld
Oneworld , branded as oneworld, is one of the world's three largest global airline alliances with its central management team, oneworld Management Company, based in New York City, New York, USA. Oneworld was founded in 1999 by American Airlines, British Airways, Canadian Airlines, Cathay Pacific...

 alliance. It had codeshares with Oneworld carriers British Airways
British Airways
British Airways is the flag carrier airline of the United Kingdom, based in Waterside, near its main hub at London Heathrow Airport. British Airways is the largest airline in the UK based on fleet size, international flights and international destinations...

, American Airlines
American Airlines
American Airlines, Inc. is the world's fourth-largest airline in passenger miles transported and operating revenues. American Airlines is a subsidiary of the AMR Corporation and is headquartered in Fort Worth, Texas adjacent to its largest hub at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport...

, Cathay Pacific
Cathay Pacific
Cathay Pacific is the flag carrier of Hong Kong, with its head office and main hub located at Hong Kong International Airport, although the airline's registered office is on the 33rd floor of One Pacific Place...

, Qantas
Qantas
Qantas Airways Limited is the flag carrier of Australia. The name was originally "QANTAS", an initialism for "Queensland and Northern Territory Aerial Services". Nicknamed "The Flying Kangaroo", the airline is based in Sydney, with its main hub at Sydney Airport...

, Aer Lingus
Aer Lingus
Aer Lingus Group Plc is the flag carrier of Ireland. It operates a fleet of Airbus aircraft serving Europe and North America. It is Ireland's oldest extant airline, and its second largest after low-cost rival Ryanair...

 and Finnair
Finnair
Finnair Plc is the flag carrier and largest airline of Finland, with its headquarters on the grounds of Helsinki Airport in Vantaa, Finland, and its main hub at Helsinki Airport. Finnair and its subsidiaries dominate both the domestic and international air travel markets in Finland. The largest...

, and held a strategic partnership and joint operation for all service to North America and AA-operated flights beyond U.S. gateways using American Airlines
American Airlines
American Airlines, Inc. is the world's fourth-largest airline in passenger miles transported and operating revenues. American Airlines is a subsidiary of the AMR Corporation and is headquartered in Fort Worth, Texas adjacent to its largest hub at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport...

. Swiss started to terminate these codeshare agreements, but did not terminate the AA alliance. A theory emerged that Swiss was planning to use its partnerships, the AA alliance, and its partnership with British Airways, a strong supportive member of Oneworld, to join Oneworld itself.

However, in March 2005 Swiss was taken over by the German Lufthansa Group and Deutsche Lufthansa AG
Lufthansa
Deutsche Lufthansa AG is the flag carrier of Germany and the largest airline in Europe in terms of overall passengers carried. The name of the company is derived from Luft , and Hansa .The airline is the world's fourth-largest airline in terms of overall passengers carried, operating...

, the flag carrier of Germany
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

. With the merger with Lufthansa, Swiss joined the Star Alliance
Star Alliance
Star Alliance is the world's first and largest airline alliance, headquartered in Frankfurt am Main, Germany . The alliance was founded in 1997 by five of the world's leading airlines: Air Canada, Lufthansa, Scandinavian Airlines, Thai Airways International and United Airlines...

. With this move, Swiss's frequent flyer club, Swiss TravelClub became part of Miles & More
Miles & More
Miles & More is the largest traveler loyalty program in Europe with 20 million members as of February 2011. It offers rewards to passengers of the Star Alliance travelling on certain types of tickets...

, which was originally the Lufthansa frequent flyer club. It acts as both airlines' frequent flyer programme, along with many other airlines.

Continued use of the "Swissair" brand

Swiss retains the rights to the "Swissair" name, whose value was estimated at more than 10 million Swiss francs in 2010. In order to prevent the trademark
Trademark
A trademark, trade mark, or trade-mark is a distinctive sign or indicator used by an individual, business organization, or other legal entity to identify that the products or services to consumers with which the trademark appears originate from a unique source, and to distinguish its products or...

 from becoming void through disuse, Swiss licensed it to Hopscotch Air, which operates a fleet of Cirrus SR22
Cirrus SR22
The Cirrus SR22 is a single-engine, four-seat, composite aircraft, built by Cirrus Aircraft starting in 2001. It is a more powerful version of the Cirrus SR20, with a larger wing, higher fuel capacity, and a 310 horsepower engine...

 plane in the U.S., for use from 2010 to 2013. In Switzerland, the trademark is protected through its use by an aviation sports club, Sportfluggruppe Swissair.

Accidents and incidents

Over the 71 year history of Swissair, there were nine major incidents reported resulting in 390 fatalities.
19 June 1954 A Convair CV-240
Convair 240
The Convair CV-240 was an American airliner produced by Convair from 1947 to 1954, initially as a possible replacement of the ubiquitous Douglas DC-3. While featuring a more modern design, the 240 series was able to make some inroads as a commercial airliner and also had a long development cycle...

 ditches
1954 Swissair Convair CV-240 crash
The 1954 Swissair Convair CV-240 crash occurred on 19 June 1954 when a Swissair Convair CV-240 ditched in the English Channel off Folkestone, Kent having run out of fuel. Although all on board survived the ditching of the aircraft, three people drowned, as they could not swim and there were no...

 due to fuel starvation
Fuel Starvation
Fuel starvation and fuel exhaustion are problems that can affect internal combustion engines fuelled by either diesel, kerosene, petroleum or any other combustible liquid or gas. If no fuel is available for an engine to burn, it cannot function...

 in the English Channel
English Channel
The English Channel , often referred to simply as the Channel, is an arm of the Atlantic Ocean that separates southern England from northern France, and joins the North Sea to the Atlantic. It is about long and varies in width from at its widest to in the Strait of Dover...

, near Folkestone
Folkestone
Folkestone is the principal town in the Shepway District of Kent, England. Its original site was in a valley in the sea cliffs and it developed through fishing and its closeness to the Continent as a landing place and trading port. The coming of the railways, the building of a ferry port, and its...

. All three crew members survive, but three of the five passengers die as they are unable to swim. Passenger aircraft at this time were not obliged to carry life rafts or life-jackets
Personal flotation device
A personal flotation device is a device designed to assist a wearer, either conscious or unconscious, to keep afloat.Devices designed and approved by authorities for use by...

, and this was one of the many incidents which inspired this obligation to be passed as law.
15 July 1956 A Convair CV-440
Convair 240
The Convair CV-240 was an American airliner produced by Convair from 1947 to 1954, initially as a possible replacement of the ubiquitous Douglas DC-3. While featuring a more modern design, the 240 series was able to make some inroads as a commercial airliner and also had a long development cycle...

 crashes during a delivery flight from San Diego, California
San Diego, California
San Diego is the eighth-largest city in the United States and second-largest city in California. The city is located on the coast of the Pacific Ocean in Southern California, immediately adjacent to the Mexican border. The birthplace of California, San Diego is known for its mild year-round...

 to Zurich
Zürich
Zurich is the largest city in Switzerland and the capital of the canton of Zurich. It is located in central Switzerland at the northwestern tip of Lake Zurich...

 via New York
New York
New York is a state in the Northeastern region of the United States. It is the nation's third most populous state. New York is bordered by New Jersey and Pennsylvania to the south, and by Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont to the east...

, Gander
Gander International Airport
Gander International Airport is located in Gander, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada, and is currently run by the Gander Airport Authority. Canadian Forces Base Gander shares the airfield but is a separate entity from the airport.-Early years and prominence:...

 and Shannon. On approach to Shannon, the pilots execute an abnormally steep turn, causing the aircraft to stall
Stall (flight)
In fluid dynamics, a stall is a reduction in the lift coefficient generated by a foil as angle of attack increases. This occurs when the critical angle of attack of the foil is exceeded...

 and drop to the ground. Four crew members die.
18 June 1957 A Douglas DC-3
Douglas DC-3
The Douglas DC-3 is an American fixed-wing propeller-driven aircraft whose speed and range revolutionized air transport in the 1930s and 1940s. Its lasting impact on the airline industry and World War II makes it one of the most significant transport aircraft ever made...

 crashes during a flight exercise conducted under visual flight rules
Visual flight rules
Visual flight rules are a set of regulations which allow a pilot to operate an aircraft in weather conditions generally clear enough to allow the pilot to see where the aircraft is going. Specifically, the weather must be better than basic VFR weather minimums, as specified in the rules of the...

 with nine people aboard. All die. The aim of the exercise was to practise flying with one engine switched off and propellers feathered.
4 September 1963 Without authorization, the pilot of Caravelle
Sud Aviation Caravelle
The Sud Aviation SE 210 Caravelle was the first short/medium-range jet airliner produced by the French Sud Aviation firm starting in 1955 . The Caravelle was one of the more successful European first generation jetliners, selling throughout Europe and even penetrating the United States market, with...

 Swissair Flight 306
Swissair Flight 306
Swissair Flight SR306, a Sud Aviation SE-210 Caravelle III, Schaffhausen, was a scheduled international flight from Zürich to Rome, via Geneva...

 carrying seventy-four passengers and six crew members taxies halfway along a runway
Runway
According to ICAO a runway is a "defined rectangular area on a land aerodrome prepared for the landing and take-off of aircraft." Runways may be a man-made surface or a natural surface .- Orientation and dimensions :Runways are named by a number between 01 and 36, which is generally one tenth...

 at Zurich Airport in order to inspect and clear fog. He then returns to the start of the runway and takes off. Ten minutes later the aircraft crashes, killing all on board. During its initial ascent, witnesses state they saw smoke issuing from one of its engines. Subsequent investigation establishes that braking during the pilot's unauthorized maneuver overheated a tyre, causing it to burst, damaging a fuel line
Fuel line
A fuel line is a hose used to bring fuel from one point in a vehicle to another or from a storage tank to a vehicle. It is commonly made of reinforced rubber to prevent splitting and kinking....

 and starting the fire that ultimately led to loss of aircraft control. This accident had a significant impact on the small town of Humlikon
Humlikon
Humlikon is a municipality in the district of Andelfingen in the canton of Zürich in Switzerland. 43 residents were killed in the crash of Swissair Flight 306.-Geography:...

, 43 residents out of a population of just over 200 died in the accident.
10 February 1967 A Convair CV-440 collides with a cloud-covered mountain; four crew members died.
21 February 1970 A bomb on board a Convair CV-990
Convair 990
The Convair 990 Coronado was a narrow-body jet airliner produced by the Convair division of General Dynamics, a "stretched" version of their earlier Convair 880 produced in response to a request from American Airlines. The 990 was lengthened by 10 feet, which increased the number of passengers from...

 cripples Swissair Flight 330
Swissair Flight 330
Swissair Flight SR330 was a regularly scheduled flight from Zürich International Airport in Kloten, Switzerland to Tel Aviv, Israel.On February 21, 1970, HB-ICD a Convair CV-990 Coronado jet named “Baselland” was flying on the route with 38 passengers and nine crew members...

 nine minutes after take-off from Zurich to Tel Aviv
Tel Aviv
Tel Aviv , officially Tel Aviv-Yafo , is the second most populous city in Israel, with a population of 404,400 on a land area of . The city is located on the Israeli Mediterranean coastline in west-central Israel. It is the largest and most populous city in the metropolitan area of Gush Dan, with...

. Forty-seven die when the aircraft crashes while attempting an emergency landing at Zurich.
6 September 1970 Three empty hijacked
Aircraft hijacking
Aircraft hijacking is the unlawful seizure of an aircraft by an individual or a group. In most cases, the pilot is forced to fly according to the orders of the hijackers. Occasionally, however, the hijackers have flown the aircraft themselves, such as the September 11 attacks of 2001...

 jet airliners, one belonging to Swissair, are blown up by terrorists at Dawson's Field, Zerqa, Jordan
Jordan
Jordan , officially the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan , Al-Mamlaka al-Urduniyya al-Hashemiyya) is a kingdom on the East Bank of the River Jordan. The country borders Saudi Arabia to the east and south-east, Iraq to the north-east, Syria to the north and the West Bank and Israel to the west, sharing...

. See Dawson's Field hijackings
Dawson's Field hijackings
In the Dawson's Field hijackings five jet aircraft bound for New York City were hijacked by members of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine...

.
8 October 1979 A Douglas DC-8
Douglas DC-8
The Douglas DC-8 is a four-engined narrow-body passenger commercial jet airliner, manufactured from 1958 to 1972 by the Douglas Aircraft Company...

 Swissair Flight 316 lands under "adverse conditions" at Athens Ellinikon International Airport
Ellinikon International Airport
Ellinikon International Airport , sometimes spelled Hellinikon was the international airport of Athens, Greece for sixty years up until 2001 when it was replaced by the new Athens International Airport. It is located south of Athens, and just west of Glyfada...

, overshooting the runway and killing fourteen passengers. The plane touches down at too great a speed and too far along the runway for the pilots to use sufficient braking and reverse thrust.
2 September 1998 A McDonnell Douglas MD-11
McDonnell Douglas MD-11
The McDonnell Douglas MD-11 is a three-engine medium- to long-range widebody jet airliner, manufactured by McDonnell Douglas and, later, by Boeing Commercial Airplanes. Based on the DC-10, it features a stretched fuselage, increased wingspan with winglets, refined airfoils on the wing and smaller...

 travelling from New York's JFK International Airport to Geneva
Geneva Cointrin International Airport
Geneva International Airport , commonly known as Cointrin Airport, is an airport serving Geneva, Switzerland. It is located northwest of the city centre and has direct connections to motorways, bus lines and railways . Its northern limit runs along the Swiss-French border and the airport can be...

 crashes due to fire and subsequent instrument failure at night off the coast of Peggy's Cove, 80 km southeast of Halifax, Nova Scotia
Halifax Regional Municipality, Nova Scotia
Halifax Regional Municipality is the capital of the province of Nova Scotia, Canada. The Regional Municipality had a 2006 census population of 372,679, while the metropolitan area had a 2010 estimated population of 403,188, and the urban area of Halifax had a population of 282,924...

. All 215 passengers and 14 crew members died. See Swissair Flight 111
Swissair Flight 111
Swissair Flight 111 was a Swissair McDonnell Douglas MD-11 on a scheduled airline flight from John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York City, United States to Cointrin International Airport in Geneva, Switzerland...

.

External links

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