Sunday, August 17, 2008

SwissAir - March, 2000

SwissAir, Sabena, and Delta started one of the first global alliances, exchanging equity with each other (5% I think) and linking up their frequent flyer programs. Austrian was also a partner in the alliance. That eventually fell apart, and SwissAir embarked on a disastrous acquisition spree. From Wikipedia:
In the 1990s Swissair initiated the Hunter Strategy, a major expansion program devised by the consulting firm of McKinsey & Co. Using this strategy, Swissair aimed to grow its market share through the acquisition of small airlines rather than entering into alliances agreements. Swissair was advised to acquire 49.5 percent of the unprofitable Belgian flag carrier, Sabena, and significant stakes in the carriers Air Liberté, AOM, Air Littoral, Volare, LOT, Air Europe, TAP Portugal, Turkish Airlines, South African Airways, Portugalia and LTU. The buying spree created a major cash flow crisis for parent company SAirGroup, and was exacerbated by the environment caused by the September 11 attacks. Unable to make payments to creditors on its large debt, and the refusal of UBS AG to extend its line of credit on 2 October 2001 the entire Swissair fleet was abruptly grounded.
I never flew on Swiss, but took quite a few trips through Brussels on Sabena.

And, this flight guide was a whopping 396 pages.

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