Swissair becomes official carrier of IOC

The IOC's president, Juan Antonio Samaranch, has signed an exclusive deal with Swissair Keystone Archive

Swissair Group chairman, Mario Corti, has pulled off a major coup by agreeing a deal to make the Swiss carrier the official airline of the International Olympic Committee.

This content was published on May 16, 2001 minutes

The agreement was announced at a special ceremony at IOC headquarters in Lausanne attended by the organisation's president, Juan Antonio Samaranch, and Swissair chairman Mario Corti.

Corti revealed that an Airbus bearing the IOC's logo of five rings would start flying in July.

"The partnership with the Swissair Group is a natural fit for the IOC and one which will be beneficial and rewarding for the two organisations," said Samaranch.

"We are both based in Switzerland but have strong international interests and commitments. We will work as partners to bring people from all over the world together in the name of sport and culture."

Officials declined to reveal the exact details of the deal, but Corti said it was "obviously very much in the interests of both parties".

Swissair, which suffered a SFr2.9 billion financial loss for 2000, has been in turmoil since leading management figures and board members were forced out earlier this year.

But at last month's AGM, Corti made it clear that the Swissair Group would concentrate on its own core airline business in an effort to return to profitability.

Corti, who admitted there had been a "little turbulence" at the company, explained: "We are basically looking forward. This agreement is part of the strategy. We have to build on the strength of Swissair Switzerland and the organisations that are affiliated and operated in this country."

Dick Pound, chairman of the IOC marketing committee, said the agreement would make Swissair the IOC's preferred carrier.

Swissair will also look at opening Olympic stores at Geneva and Zurich airports to add to the ones in Sydney and Athens. It will also work with the Olympic shop to improve the service it provides.

"This allows us to develop many business and marketing opportunities through the diverse operations of the Swissair Group," he said.

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