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"Swiss" tackles image problem

André Dosé (left) and Peter Bouw are determined to improve Swiss's performance Keystone

The national airline, Swiss, is taking steps to address its image problems after a series of embarrassing technical hitches.

This content was published on August 23, 2002 - 15:43

Swiss said it had appointed a new security chief to sort out the problems that have dogged the carrier since its launch in April.

The new position of chief operating officer is to be filled on an interim basis by the Dutch air safety expert, Karel Ledeboer, who has more than 30 years experience working for KLM.

Tarnished image

Last month the airline revealed that technical problems had caused it to cancel 240 flights in the preceding four-week period.

Chairman of the board, Pieter Bouw, told a news conference on Friday that the airline's management was working to reduce the frequency of technical problems, which were proving "damaging for the image of Swiss".

"While we are confronted with various problems in our technical services and among our cockpit and cabin crew corps, our board and executive management are not simply observing this series of negative events. Far from it," Bouw said.

CEO André Dosé said that while the cancellations were "inexcusable" in an airline which prided itself on the quality of its service, the safety of passengers had never been at risk.

Crash response

Dosé used the opportunity of the news conference to issue an initial response to the recently published report into the crash of a Crossair plane near Zurich in January 2000 in which ten people died.

"This accident was a terrible shock to Crossair and to me personally," said Dosé, who was in charge of Crossair before becoming Swiss chief executive.

"But Crossair did not wait for the present investigation report; it took action immediately."

This included ordering an audit of all flight operations; changes to the company's pilot recruitment policy; intensified training and new aircraft warning systems, Dosé said.

"Further steps have been initiated as Swiss has been established," he continued.

"These include creating our own international Safety Advisory Board and equipping all our aircraft with the latest ground proximity warning systems."

The company was also tightening selection procedures for pilots and running performance checks, Dosé said.

swissinfo

swiss summary

Swiss has appointed Karel Ledeboer chief operating officer
Technical problems caused the cancellation of 240 flights last month
Ten people died in the crash of a Crossair plane in January 2000
Swiss has created its own safety advisory board

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