Members of Swissair Group's alliance of airline companies, Qualiflyer, have said they want to continue their frequent flyer programme and other joint projects. The announcement comes a few days after Moritz Suter, head of the Swiss carrier Crossair, called for the break-up of the alliance.This content was published on June 13, 2001 - 18:56
The presidents of the airline companies released a statement on Wednesday underlining the benefits the alliance affords customers. They said they were "convinced they could attract new members to Qualiflyer".
The Qualiflyer alliance includes Crossair, Swissair, Sabena, AOM/Air Liberté, TAP Air Portugal, Portugalia, the Italian Volare Group, and the Polish airline, LOT.
At a press conference in Zurich, the companies said they wanted to "extend the benefits" offered to Qualiflyer cardholders. The central services offered include the frequent flyer programme (where cardholders notch up points to win free flights), and shared help and sales desks.
Despite the united front, tensions within the Qualiflyer group surfaced last week when Crossair's Moritz Sutzer declared that the alliance had no future.
In an interview with the French-language "Le Temps" newspaper on Saturday, Suter said that at the final reckoning only Crossair and Swissair would remain.
Suter stated that Swissair was looking to rid itself of several members of the Qualiflyer alliance, notably the French airlines AOM and Air Liberté. "We would also like to break away from Sabena and all the other businesses," he added.
Last Friday shares in Swissair Group took a hammering, falling by as much as 10 per cent at one point, following a critical financial report from the bank ABN-Amro.
Earlier in the week the airline group, which posted a SFr2.9 billion loss for the year 2000, refused to rule out job cuts as part of plans to reduce costs by at least SFr500 million ($279 million) by the second half of this year.
swissinfo with agencies
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