Switzerland’s Federal Court has cleared 14 former bosses of the failed Swissair group of mismanagement in relation to its collapse nearly 20 years ago.
The country’s highest court upheld a 2018 decision by a Zurich commercial court, which had been appealed by the Swissair liquidator.
The liquidator claimed the 14 former bosses failed in their duties as financial administrators, approving loans that could not be repaid after the company’s collapse and disregarding the rules of corporate governance.
But the Zurich court, whose decision is now confirmed, said Swissair needed to keep its air operations going, which required funding. The Federal Court decision on Friday upholds all the conclusions of the Zurich court, although it has reduced the legal costs of the case somewhat.
The 14 former bosses include former CEOs of Swissair (Mario Corti) and its holding company SAirGroup (Philippe Bruggisser), and ex-board members.
Swissair planes were grounded on October 2, 2001, after the company had been in business for 71 years. The downturn in the aviation market after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, proved the last straw for the heavily indebted national carrier, which folded the following year.
The remains of Swissair and the regional carrier Crossair were brought together in 2002 to form the new national carrier Swiss International Air Lines. After a shaky start which threatened the existence of the fledgling airline, Swiss was taken over by Germany's Lufthansa in 2005.