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"Grounding" of Swissair on October 2, 2001

It was the beginning of the end for this carrier

A real shock: exactly 19 years have passed since October 2, 2001, the day when air carrier Swissair suddenly stopped, suggesting that the following days would be the last for such a prestigious brand, yet it is difficult to forget. Almost two decades ago, it was discovered without warning that Swiss company ran out of liquidity and for this reason the planes remained at the ground. The day became history and the term "Grounding" is still used today to summarize that story as much as possible. But did it happen exactly?

The day before the unforgettable event, "Phoenix" banking project was launched to meet Swissair's financial needs. On October 2, the demands for liquidity suddenly increased due to some suppliers who demanded payment for their services in cash, so much so that the money left at the Zurich airline was able to guarantee only the morning flights. The banks refused any credit advances and shortly before 4 pm there was the official announcement of the interruption of all operations. What was a symbol of Switzerland, the national airline since 1931, left many passengers and crew members banned, many of them stranded abroad.

Same employees were forced to pay the hotel bills themselves, as there was also the blocking of company cards. Despite the massive protest in Basel two days later (10,000 people), the decline became inexorable and the transition phase lasted until 1 April 2002, the day of the last air connection guaranteed by Swissair (from Sao Paulo in Brazil to Zurich). The name has become history, no other company has exploited it anymore and, although the Swiss have ensured that they have learned the lesson, the shock remains firmly etched in the mind.

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AVIONEWS - World Aeronautical Press Agency