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Tuesday, 2 October, 2001, 16:54 GMT 17:54 UK
Swissair passengers stranded
Passengers at Zurich Airport wait to check in
Swissair passengers at Zurich were thrown into chaos
Thousands of passengers booked to fly with Swissair were left stranded at airports as the airline grounded all its flights.

At least nine flights to the UK as well as others to destinations around the world were cancelled by the carrier as it battled to stave off bankruptcy.

Stranded passengers were told to make "other arrangements" and that Swissair was not in a position to offer compensation.

Swissair jet takes off from Heathrow
Unpaid fuel bills led to the fleet being grounded
Two Swissair planes were earlier impounded at London's Heathrow Airport pending unpaid landing fees, although one was later released.

Heathrow was advising Swissair passengers to contact the airline before travelling to the airport.

Scenes of confusion

The cancelled flights included five flights from Zurich to London, three from Geneva to London and one from Zurich to Manchester.

Passengers at Zurich Airport were told over a loudspeaker that Swissair aircraft would no longer receive fuel.

Marcel Ospel, chairman UBS, and Mario Corti, Swissair chairman
Swissair thought it had stitched up a deal over the weekend
"Swissair is waiting for money from a big bank," said an announcement in the departure lounge.

An AFP correspondent said the airport was in a state of total confusion and Swissair passengers were being asked by stewardesses to wait for more news.

On the departure boards, all Swissair flights - about 35 - were marked "delayed".

Earlier in the day, Swissair had assured passengers that its flights would continue as normal, despite the company having sought bankruptcy protection only hours before.

Swissair cancelled its flights to Brussels first thing on Tuesday for fear that the aircraft could be seized.

It was later announced that Sabena, the Belgian carrier in which Swissair owns a stake, would handle the Brussels-Zurich route.

The BBC's Rory Cellan-Jones
"This is a business in terrible trouble"
Reiner Myer, head of Swissair corporate affairs
"At the moment we have people stranded"
See also:

02 Oct 01 | Business
Q&A: Swissair in crisis
02 Oct 01 | Business
Swissair accepts rescue plan
26 Sep 01 | Business
Aviation firms axe 26,000 jobs
30 Aug 01 | Business
Swissair cuts 1,250 jobs
09 Aug 01 | Business
Sabena flies into jobs storm
30 Jul 01 | Business
Pilot rescues French airline
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