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Swiss stems losses but remains in red

Swiss took to the skies in 2002 Keystone Archive

Switzerland’s national airline made a net loss of SFr140 million ($117 million) in 2004 – an improvement on the SFr687 million loss in the previous year.

Swiss also reported an operating loss (before interest and tax) of SFr122 million in a statement ahead of the publication of full financial results next month.

The airline said the figures took into account two one-off gains amounting to SFr163 million.

The first, totalling SFr95 million, was paid by British Airways and was linked to Swiss’s surrender of slots at London’s Heathrow aiport.

The second booked payment derived from the settlement of a legal dispute, which brought SFr68 million in liquid funds to the carrier’s coffers in 2004.

The airline declined to comment further on the results, full details of which are due to be published on March 11.

Long haul

Swiss has been struggling to go into the black ever since it took to the skies in 2002.

In November last year, the ailing carrier posted its first real quarterly net profit for the period from July to September of SFr16 million.

But full-year profit continues to elude the airline, which last month announced plans to reduce its fleet of 62 aircraft by 13, and axe 800 to 1,000 jobs by 2006.

The carrier reported on Wednesday that at the end of 2004, it had cash and cash equivalents of SFr481 million. This compares with a cash position of SFr503 million at the end of 2003 (+SFr22 million).

Four months ago, Swiss secured a long sought-after credit facility of SFr325 million.

The airline had been negotiating with a consortium of Swiss and international banks for well over a year.

swissinfo with agencies

The first flight operated by Swiss took off in 2002.
The airline was formed following the demise of national carrier Swissair in 2001.
In January, Swiss announced plans to shed up to 1,000 jobs between 2005 and 2006.

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR