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SAir plays down reports of crisis

President of the SAir group, Phillipe Bruggisser, says there's no crisis Keystone

The SAir group is playing down reports of a crisis of confidence, following last week's resignation of the head of Swissair, Jeff Katz, and a drop in the group's share value.

The head of SAir, Philippe Brugisser, admitted that the rise in fuel prices, as well as the group’s involvement with other airlines, had presented financial problems.

One Swiss newspaper reported the company is losing SFr3 million a day. The Sonntagszeitung said the national carrier, Swissair, was losing SFr1 million and SAir’s involvement in the LTU airline in Germany, and three others in France which are being brought under the group’s control accounted for a further SFr2 million daily loss.

Brugisser admitted in another Sunday newspaper interview that LTU was currently “a bottomless pit”. And he said SAir had known from the outset that none of the three French airlines were currently in profit.

He played down the departure of Katz after three years as president and chief executive officer of Swissair. Brugisser indicated there had been policy and leadership differences.

Turning to another of the problems affecting Swissair, he said the airline’s punctuality record was one of the worst in Europe and was costing about SFr100 million a year. He added, however, the airline overall had recently been voted best in Europe.

SAir group’s shares were hit badly last week. A study published by Credit Suisse Private Banking on the group’s first half-year results led to a drop on the markets. Credit Suisse bought up shares, shoring up the downturn.

Brugisser expressed confidence in the future of SAir group, telling the Sinntagsblick newspaper he considered a takeover attempt unlikely.

He also said he expected business related to SAir’s airlines to pick up within the next two years. But he added that the prospects for the airlines themselves depended on fuel prices and the economic situation.

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR