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Swiss Carrier Loses $208M in 3rd Quarter

November 17, 2003

BASEL, Switzerland (AP) _ Struggling national carrier Swiss International Air Lines said Monday it lost 276 million Swiss francs ($208 million) in the third quarter of 2003.

The company said it would cut another 330 jobs, making a total of 3,000 for its current reorganization. Talks are continuing with creditors to improve the company’s liquidity, Swiss said in a statement issued after close of business in Zurich.

Sales in the third quarter were 1.04 billion francs ($784 million) and the company carried 2.92 million passengers.

Swiss said a reduction in its profit margin was due to an industrywide deterioration, although markets are recovering. The company was also hit by unfavorable foreign exchange rates.

Swiss in September entered a pact with British Airways and joined BA’s global oneworld airline alliance.

The company is restructuring its business to eliminate the biggest loss-making routes, lower costs and alter its European business model. Swiss hopes to reduce annual costs by 1.6 billion francs ($1.2 billion).

``Swiss is working on an additional liquidity cushion to protect it from unforeseen events. To secure this, the company is currently conducting intensive negotiations with the major Swiss banks and international financial institutions,″ the company said.

Swiss has suffered massive financial problems since it was created out of the defunct Swissair in March 2002. The company has blamed its money woes on continuing global economic instability, the SARS crisis, the Iraq war and major changes in European air travel due to the increasing influence of low-cost carriers.

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