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Swiss forecasts low profit margins

swiss will offer some cut-price fares to attract new passengers Keystone

Profits for the new national carrier, swiss, are expected to be 20 per cent lower in 2002 than last year's combined profits for Crossair and Swissair.

A spokesman for Crossair, Manfred Winkler, said the forecast was in line with the business plan drawn up for the new carrier, due to launch on April 1.

“We’re not concerned about the forecast, because we know it’ll take time to get the passenger numbers up,” Winkler told swissinfo. “So far, we’re right on track with our business plans.”

Winkler said there would be several offers for reduced fares on the new airline’s European and long-haul routes in the coming months, in a bid to attract new customers.

However, Winkler denied reports made in the German-speaking press on Saturday that prices would be slashed by 20 per cent during the first 14 months of operation. Winkler explained that swiss boss, André Dosé, had been misquoted.

In Saturday’s interviews, Dosé said investments would be made in areas where they were most “visible”, such as check-in desks and customs controls.

The new airline was well-placed for a strong start, with Crossair’s basic structure at its core, Dosé explained.

Dosé also confirmed the fledgling airline was in discussions to join one of the three big airline alliances: Star Alliance, Oneworld or Sky Team.

Corti confirms pay deal

In a separate development, Mario Corti, the former CEO of the SAirGroup, on Saturday confirmed that he had been promised an up-front pay package of SFr13.2 million when he took the Swissair job.

The salary amounted to roughly SFr2milllion per year before taxes, Corti wrote in an article for the Swiss financial paper, ‘Finanz und Wirtschaft’, ending weeks of media speculation surrounding his salary.

In addition, Corti was also given 50,000 share options in the troubled airline, although its collapse in late 2001 had rendered them worthless.

Insecure future

Corti said that he had traded in a “first class job with a first class company” for “a very insecure future with Swissair.” He still had at least another ten years ahead of him as head of Swiss food group, Nestlé, when he took up his position at Swissair, he said.

The original terms of Corti’s employment had been approved by the Swissair Compensation Committee, according to the article.

“The Swissair group was under no pressure whatsoever to approve the terms,” Corti said.

Corti said he was now working with his agent to find out if his original pay deal would be reduced as a consequence of the collapse of the airline, and if so, by how much.

Corti said he would also take account of the smear campaign launched against him, which he said would jeopardise his future job prospects.

swissinfo with agencies

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR