Management blamed for mistakes at Swiss

The press is losing faith in Swiss

Management failures are at least partly to blame for the deepening crisis at the national airline, Swiss, according to the country's press.

This content was published on June 25, 2003 - 08:23

The day after the airline announced the loss of 3,000 jobs, the "Neue Zürcher Zeitung" said Swiss faced a tough struggle to survive.

It blamed strong competition, flight restrictions imposed by Germany and union intransigence, but said management had also made its share of mistakes.

The NZZ said management had no other choice than to take such tough measures, but warned Swiss that it could not afford to make any more mistakes in implementing its new strategy.

The "Tages-Anzeiger" argued that the airline could not go on blaming the outbreak of the Sars virus or the war in Iraq for problems of its own creation.

CEO André Dosé's management strategy had been unclear at best, it said.

"Who will save Swiss? Dosé and his entourage are obviously not able to."

Britain's "Financial Times" called the airline's previous targets "a fantasy" and said its future "depended on persuading lenders to fork out another SFr500 million".

But it approved of the new business plan and commented: "The Swiss move at least recognises the flaws in the business model operated by most network carriers."

Off course

"Le Temps" drew a comparison with the sporting world, saying that "such unsuccessful coaches" would have been shown the door a long time ago.

The "Blick" accused Swiss management of not being able to cope: "Swiss is following no set course and has not reached one of its goals."

Bern's "Bund" was worried that Swiss might get stuck with the image of a low-cost airline when the airline starts introducing cheap short-haul flights, and doubted that savings on food and drink and cabin crew will be enough to compete with other no-frills airlines.

It wondered whether Dosé had something else "up his sleeve" and said he would be better off joining a strong alliance.

It also argued that the latest announcement was a blow to the taxpayers as they had been reassured that thousands of jobs would be saved by financing the new airline.

The "Tribune de Genève" called the move "a good decision", however, it said it had its doubts about whether it would be enough to save the airline.

The French daily "24 heures" agreed that cutting down the fleet was the right decision. "Even if the new measures are painful, it could work," it argued. "Il faut y croire - We must have faith."

The "Berner Zeitung" was less optimistic. Its headline read: "Faith is gone".

swissinfo, Billi Bierling

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