SWISS is ready for take-off

A product and services offering the very best for passengers in all classes. A business model concentrated on the core business of flying. A partnership with American Airlines, the largest airline in the world. New long-haul aircraft. A company culture oriented towards quality, cost-effectiveness and dynamics. A team of staff members which links the strengths of Swiss aviation tradition: A Management with a clearly defined objective - success. This was how the Management of Crossair AG presented SWISS, the new national airline at an international media conference on Tuesday in Zurich. In doing so, the company Management sent a clear message: We are ready for take-off - on Sunday, March 31 2002, SWISS will take off for the first time!

“Never in the history or our branch was such a demanding project achieved in so short a time”, said André Dosé, SWISS CEO, before some 300 journalists from all over the world. “Many were those who had often tried to make us believe that this was a project against all odds - simply impossible but we have done it. Next Sunday, March 31, SWISS will take off”.

That this was possible, said the SWISS Chief, is primarily due to our employees - those of Crossair and all those newly arrived to join us from Swissair and the SAirGroup: He was well aware that the last four months had driven not only the Management team and himself to the utmost, but also the whole team, both on the ground and in the air. “These were unbelievably difficult weeks - marked by enormous stress, emotions and uncertainty”, Dosé said, adding, “the fact that, despite all these hurdles, we are now ready for take-off also indicates that we have simply the best team available that one could wish for, I am certain. The Swiss people and all those investors from the Federation. The Cantons and private enterprise, with their share capital of CHF 2.7 billion made SWISS possible, will be able to be proud of us.

Together with Björn Näf, responsible in the Management for Product & Services, and Marketing & Sales Chief Arjen Pen, Dosé presented a whole series of innovations at the media conference with which, starting already on April1, will enable SWISS to prove itself as a “premium airline”. These include improvements in the Economy Class sector, together with ameliorations for Business and First Class passengers. “Obviously, we are still only at the beginning of these improvements in the product and services. Structural modifications to adapt our localities on the ground and changes to the cabin layout, above all, will take a very long time”. Näf warned against too great expectations “but, with the innovations we have already introduced, particularly as regards catering and services on the ground, we want to clearly document the direction we are going: towards an integrated service and product chain which will guarantee our passengers a smooth , efficient and - not least - friendly, sequence of events, both on the ground and in the air. Näf made it quite clear that SWISS was banking on top quality: The enormous cost savings that we could achieve in the leasing and purchase contracts for the aircraft, as well as cost optimisation for the aircraft fleet, in the route network and with the personnel all served the same prime objective: we wanted to free funds in order to be able to offer our clients from Economy to First Class the best product and the best services of all the European airlines”   

An important plus for SWISS clients is offered by the partnership with American Airlines, the largest airline in the world, officially announced yesterday: The alliance with American will provide more connections in the USA and within the American continent, as well as the utilisation of Frequent Flyer miles on American flights. “We are obviously very proud that American has entered into such a partnership with us” said André Dosé, “this shows that we are being taken seriously and that there is trust in us”. Dosé described the agreement with American Airlines as “the first step to full entry into the “oneworld” such full entry: Bilateral negotiations with all “oneworld” partners are a pre-requisite for such full membership. Negotiations to this end are under way but could not be concluded because of lack of time. “We will now continue our bilateral discussions with all “oneworld” partners in the hope of being a full member by Winter”, said Arjen Pen, responsible for Sales & Marketing at SWISS.

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Also with a view to a customer-friendly product, SWISS also announced that the 13 Boeing MD-11 long-haul aircraft would be replaced by new Airbus A340-300s. These aircraft provide more seating space for Economy passengers and are more attractive for Business and First Class passengers. In addition, compared to the MD-11, they will have considerably lower emissions of noxious substances, whilst the noise levels of an A340-300 on a landing approach are half those of an MD-11.
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