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Tuesday, 30 October, 2001, 14:27 GMT
Swissair rescue plan in jeopardy
SR Technics web site
Maintenance firm puts Swissair back in the hangar?
The Swiss Government has threatened to pull out of the rescue plan for bankrupt carrier Swissair within 24 hours, unless other contributors find more money to keep the airline flying.

Banks and local authorities must find a solution to salvage vital Swissair's support companies, including its maintenance firm, said Swiss national Treasurer Peter Siegenthaler.

Meanwhile, Belgium's troubled airline Sabena said it is cutting daily flights to several loss-making North American and African destinations, while it grapples with its own rescue plan.

The Belgian airline is cutting all unprofitable routes in a desperate attempt to survive.

Tight deadline

The latest crisis to engulf Swissair centres on its SR Technics maintenance subsidiary which is in danger of going bankrupt by mid-November.

Atraxis, the computer reservations and baggage handling unit, is also at risk of collapsing by the end of Wednesday - the deadline set by Mr Siegenthaler.

Mr Siegenthaler threatened that the Swiss government will withdraw the 1bn Swiss francs (242m) it has contributed towards a $2.65bn (1.86bn) bail-out package if other contributors fail to save SR Technics.

"Otherwise one of the basic premises of the rescue package namely that airline-related activities would function, is not fulfilled," he said.

The responsibility for the future of the units rests with the banks and with the cantons of Zurich (home town to SR Technics), Basel and Geneva, the minister said.

He added he was confident that they "would see the seriousness of the issue but also the opportunities" and find a solution.

Two big Swiss banks, UBS and Credit Suisse, pledged $134m (92m) towards the state-backed bail-out.

The BBC's Mishal Husain
"Swiss Air was struggling with heavy debts when ticket sales collapsed"
The BBC's Imogen Foulkes
"The loss of its short haul flights marks the end for Swissair"
See also:

29 Oct 01 | Business
New threat to Swissair
22 Oct 01 | Business
State saves Swissair
16 Oct 01 | Business
Companies back Swissair rescue bid
11 Oct 01 | Business
Question marks over Swissair rescue
22 Oct 01 | Business
Round-up: Aviation in crisis
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