Air Transport World

Crossair remains successful despite tough times. (Swiss airline)

Crossair remains successful despite tough times

"Everybody,' says Moritz Suter, "wants to be an airline president. They look at the success of Crossair, and think that the business is a gold mine, but it is not. It is hard work, and very marginal, with high risk because of the large investments which are involved. A lot of people only see the glamor, and think it must be easy.'

Suter's words sum up the story of the Swiss regional airline which he started as an air taxi firm in February 1975, while he was still flying as a Swissair McDonnell Douglas DC-9 captain. The company has been profitable in each of its full financial years since then, but the going has frequently been tough, and never more so than in the past two and a half years since we last reviewed its progress (ATW, 1/84).

This corporate turbulence has been brought about in large measure by the series of technical problems surrounding the Saab SF-340 35-seat commuter airliner, which Crossair calls the Cityliner, and for which it was the introductory airline, with an order for ten placed in October 1980.

Rough SF-340 beginning

The first 340 was due to be introduced into service in May 1984, but Saab-Fairchild put back deliveries, and Crossair found itself having to lease three Fokker F27s from Delta Air of Antwerp, and WDL of Dusseldorf, to make up capacity. As the annual report for that year commented, "The Friendship (F27) is significantly larger than the Cityliner, but it is not a modern aircraft. Its passenger appeal is severely limited by its age, and the high level of noise perceived during flight in the cabin. …

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