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Task force to devise emergency rescue plan for Swissair

Swissair's financial crisis has worsened since last week's attacks Keystone

A special task force is being set up to find a rescue plan for the embattled Swissair group. The Finance Ministry said a complete restructuring of the airline was imperative to save it from financial ruin.

The task force, which will be set up in the coming days, will be headed by ex-parliamentarian and entrepreneur, Ulrich Bremi. Government authorites, representatives from Swissair, the banking sector and other economic partners will also take part.

The decision came after a meeting on Saturday between heavyweights from the Swiss economy, Swissair management and government authorities, including Swissair chief executive, Mario Corti, the finance minister, Kaspar Villiger and the transport minister, Moritz Leuenberger.

The aim of the meeting was to discuss proposals for the long-term recapitalisation of the Swiss airline, whose precarious finances have deteriorated further since the attacks of September 11.

There was unanimous agreement that the survival of Swissair was of paramount importance, both to Swiss airports and to the Swiss economy as a whole.

During the meeting, Villiger pointed out that the government was not obliged to intervene in the crisis, and that it would not do so unless there was also active participation from the banking sector.

Under civil aviation legislation, the government is allowed to buy shares or to take part in measures to boost a business’s capital if it is to the benefit general interests. The government currently owns around a 3 per cent stake in Swissair.

The Finance Ministry said discussions would continue over the coming days to solve the airline’s financial problems as quickly as possible.

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