MIAMI – 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 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-82/83s. (Photo: Ken Fielding/https://www.flickr.com/photos/kenfielding, CC BY-SA 3.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0, via Wikimedia Commons)

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 of 2000 with 32 in the fleet. (Photo: Ken Fielding/https://www.flickr.com/photos/kenfielding, CC BY-SA 3.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0, via Wikimedia Commons)

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 imageÑ Avro RJ100 (HB-IXP) pictured in the airline’s final livery, introduced in 2000. (Photo: Aero Icarus from Zürich, Switzerland, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons)