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Reorganised Swiss still facing problems, analyst says

Switzerland's national airline is creating a new regional subsidiary as part of a new strategy aimed at cutting costs by one fifth.

swissinfo's Jacob Greber spoke to aviation analyst Sepp Moser about the new strategy and what the future holds for the troubled airline.

Moser is one of the country's leading aviation industry specialists and has closely followed the demise of Swissair and the birth of Swiss.

swissinfo: Is this the cure Swiss needs?

Sepp Moser: I'm afraid not. It's difficult, if not impossible, to create a low-cost airline within a high-cost airline. That's basically what's happening. The new Swiss Express is not a real airline. It's just a department within Swiss charged with the same overheads and organisational structure, company culture and all the factors, which influence the high cost of Swiss.

swissinfo: How long do you give Swiss before the company runs out of liquidity and faces a grounding?

S.M: Everything depends on the course of the international economy. If it improves fast then the situation may look up in a few months. But if it stays the same as it is now, the liquidity might get to a point of no return as early as this summer.

swissinfo: There appears to be a lack of support for the airline from the Swiss public. This is a big change from when the airline was launched more than a year ago.

S.M.: The public support has waned. It's gone. There are people asking me whether they can in good conscience buy a ticket with Swiss to America in October.

swissinfo: But as one of the most vocal critics of Swiss, don't you run the risk of helping to talk the airline down and fuel what Dosé has indicated is a vicious cycle?

S.M.: Should reality be suppressed only because it will influence the behaviour of people? I don't think so.

swissinfo: There have been questions asked about whether it's time for a change of management at Swiss. Should the board and CEO be replaced?

S.M.: I don't think the problem lies with the board or the managers. The main problem is with the business model. It's not viable. If you have a small mountain resort and you build a 1,000-room hotel, you can get the best manager in the world and he will not succeed. That's basically what's happening now at Swiss.

swissinfo - interview: Jacob Greber

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