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Speculation mounts over name for new airline

The name of Swissair's successor will probably have a national flavour say specialists Keystone Archive

The board of directors of Crossair is to meet on Monday to discuss possible names for Switzerland's new airline.

This content was published on January 10, 2002 - 12:16

The new company will be built from regional carrier Crossair and the remains of Swissair, which went bankrupt last October.

All sorts of names have been suggested, from 'Air Switzerland', to 'Swiss Airlines', to more fanciful ideas such as 'Phoenix Air' or even 'Mountain Air'.

But advertising executives and airline industry analysts say the new name will almost certainly have to have a national flavour.

Name is first contact

Kaspar Loeb, who works for the Swiss branch of international advertising giant DDB, says the importance of a name should not be underestimated.

"The name is the first point of contact for potential customers," Loeb told swissinfo, "so it is important that it explains the origin and nature of the business."

Because of this Loeb believes suggestions like 'Swiss Airlines' or 'Air Switzerland' are the most likely candidates for the new airline's name.

"The more fanciful names like 'Phoenix' are not really a good solution," explained Loeb, "because they lose all the brand power of Swissness. The term Swiss still means quality, efficiency, and punctuality, and these are all major values in the airline industry."

Legal problems

Some industry analysts and supporters of Switzerland's former national airline have even suggested retaining the name Swissair, but it appears there may be legal problems with such a solution.

"It's really not clear whether or not this would work," said Loeb, "it's possible that a new airline bearing the name Swissair might become liable for the debts incurred by the old company."

In fact it has been suggested that if the new company is called Swissair, its planes could be impounded by countries to whom the old company still owes money.

Taking advice

The final decision on the new name will be taken by Crossair's board of directors this week. Board members have consulted no fewer than six Swiss and international advertising agencies for advice before making a final choice.

What seems certain is that the name Crossair will have to abandoned, in favour of a new airline name which contains some element of Swissness.

By Imogen Foulkes

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