11/18/1978: Crossair is Born

11/18/1978: Crossair is Born

DALLAS — Today in Aviation, Swiss airline Business Flyer Basel AG changed its name to Crossair (LX) in 1978. The airline would later become SWISS.

Business Flyer was established on February 14, 1975, by businessmen and Pilot Moritz Sutter and Peter Kalt. The pair purchased a Cessna 320 and a Piper L-4 and commenced limited air taxi services in 1976.

In 1995, LX took over the medium-range operations of Balair/CTA (BB) and inherited several McDonnell Douglas MD-82s and MD-83s. A Crossair McDonnell Douglas MD-83 at Zurich Airport in 1999 wearing a McDonald’s livery to promote the restaurant. Photo: KonstantinvonWedelstaedt, GFDL 1.2

Scheduled Flights Commence

On July 2 1979 LX commenced its first scheduled flights from Zurich (ZRH) to Nuremberg (NUE), Innsbruck (INN), and Klagenfurt (KLU).

The expansion was steady as the airline added the larger Swearingen Metroliner to the fleet. The airline then picked up routes that had been dropped by Swissair (SR). To operate these new services ten 33-seat Saab 340s were ordered in October 1980.

The type, known as the ‘Cityliner’ joined the fleet in 1984 and would remain with the airline until 2002. 

The Saab 340 and larger 2000 became the backbone of LX’s fleet. Indeed, the carrier was the world’s largest operator in 2000, with 32 aircraft in the fleet. Photo: Aero Icarus from Zürich, Switzerland, CC BY-SA 2.0

Swissair Tie-up

Crossair signed an initial agreement to operate limited services for SR in 1986. This agreement led to the flag carrier taking a majority shareholding in the company in 1991.

The airline became the launch customer of the Embraer E170 and E190 in 1999, after placing a firm order for 30 with options on a further 100. Sadly, the type would never enter service. On March 31, 2002, Swissair was declared bankrupt.

Following a significant restructuring, Crossair took over the defunct carrier’s assets and was later renamed Swiss International Air Lines (LX).  

Featured image:  Crossair Avro RJ 100; HB-IXM . Photo: Aero Icarus from Zürich, Switzerland, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

European Deputy Editor
Writer, aviation fanatic, and Airways European Deputy Editor, Lee is a plant geek and part-time Flight Attendant for a UK-based airline. Based in Liverpool, United Kingdom.

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