German carrier Lufthansa and ailing Swiss Airlines have completed their merger and are calling it a marriage that will bring benefits to all their customers.
The contract was signed at the Hilton Hotel in Zurich. Lufthansa’s chairman and CEO Wolfgang Mayrhuber then reported the completion of the deal during a presentation on his airline’s financial results for 2004 at a company meeting in Frankfurt.
“Our financial strength and our commercial success give us a firm base to emerge stronger from the consolidation process in the European air traffic industry. The merger of Lufthansa and SWISS is the marriage of two world renowned airlines with the highest quality and service standards,” he said.
“The most important aspect is that it will produce clear benefits for our customers. More destinations, better connections, matching frequent flyer programs and mutual lounge access enhance the attractiveness of both companies. The merger is not only beneficial for Switzerland and Germany; it is also advantageous for our Star Alliance partners and, in addition, strengthens the European aviation sector.”
Christoph Franz, President and CEO of SWISS commented on the successful conclusion of negotiations with Lufthansa: “As a member of the Lufthansa Group, SWISS will be able to permanently fulfill its task even better of connecting Switzerland with the world. SWISS will become even more attractive for its customers with expanded services through integration into this leading network, coordinated flight plans, and access to the lounges of Lufthansa and its partners. The creation of a competitive cost structure will, however, continue to provide the basis for a positive development of SWISS.”
SWISS will continue to pursue the restructuring program announced in January 2005 with a cost-cutting program aimed at bringing the airline into profit. Swiss will maintain its identity and brand within the Lufthansa group as an international airline based in Switzerland and operating as a distinct profit center. The deal brings into the Lufthansa fold 7,900 employees and 80 aircraft, and gives Lufthansa a new hub at Zurich which will benefit its lucrative business travel services.