Swissair Announces 9,000 Job Cuts

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Zurich, Switzerland Oct. 8, 2001 (AP)--Swissair, struggling to come back from a financial collapse, Monday said it will cut 9,000 jobs worldwide and offer reduced-price tickets to lure more customers.

Swissair chief Mario Corti told an employee assembly about the job cuts, which represent nearly 13 percent of Swissair's 71,000 workers, said spokesman Rainer Maier.

Maier said the meeting was ``very emotional'' and that the 2,500 employees who had gathered in an airport hangar to hear Corti greeted him with a standing ovation and chants of ``Corti, Corti.''

Employee demonstrations have previously backed Corti and credited him with trying to save the airline.

Swissair filed for protection from its creditors Tuesday after the air travel chaos that followed the terrorist attacks on the United States overwhelmed the already troubled airline.

Swissair left tens of thousands of passengers stranded during a sudden shutdown Tuesday and Wednesday, but was able to resume partial service Thursday after being promised a 450 million franc ($281 million) loan from the Swiss government.

The airline has been trying to recover most of this year from a failed expansion strategy that led to a loss of 2.9 billion francs ($1.79 billion) in 2000.

Separately Monday, Swissair announced a fare sale. Under the new fare schedule, a standard roundtrip, economy-class flight within continental Europe would cost 300 Swiss francs ($188), plus airport taxes, to cash-paying customers. Depending on destination that could be a saving of more than 1,000 francs.

The comparable cash business class fare within Europe will be 800 francs ($500), plus airport taxes, spokeswoman Trudi von Fellenberg said.

Long-distance flights _ to Europe, Asia and Africa _ are set at 800 francs ($500) in economy class, 3,000 francs ($1,875) in business class and 7,000 francs ($4,375) in first class. Flights to Japan were excluded from the discount.

Von Fellenberg said the offer was valid through Oct. 27. On Oct. 28, Swissair will be taken over by its sister and regional carrier, Crossair.

Copyright (c) 2000 The Associated Press