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“swiss” takes off

André Dosé, the chief executive of swiss, was on board the inaugural flight Keystone

The first official flight by Switzerland's new national carrier, "swiss", successfully landed in Zurich on Sunday, while the last Swissair plane touched down on Monday morning.

The company’s chief executive, André Dosé, and 64 other passengers were on board flight LX2991 from Basel to Zurich. The 82-seater AVRO RJ85 Jumbolino took off at 6.42am, landing at Zurich’s Kloten airport around 15 minutes later.

The plane was then “christened” with streams of water by airport firefighters after it touched down in Switzerland’s financial capital.

The first historic flight of the new national airline finally puts a seal on Swissair’s 71-year reign as queen of Switzerland’s aviation industry.

A day after swiss took off for the first time, the last Swissair plane landed at Zurich’s Kloten airport. Flight SR145 from Buenos Aires touched down on Monday at 7.15am and marked the end to an era.

swiss is taking over viable medium- and long-haul routes from Swissair to complement the existing schedule of regional carrier Crossair. Its fleet of 130 aircraft will serve 126 destinations in 59 countries.

Dosé said last week that swiss was on track to break even next year after running an expected loss of up to SFr1.1 billion in 2002.

Swissair crumbled last year when the sharp drop in passenger traffic after the September 11 attacks broke the back of company fatally weakened by a disastrous foreign expansion strategy.

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