Swissair for ever
By ADRIAN TAHOURDIN
Every now and again a book comes into the offices of the TLS that makes this job worth while. Swissair Souvenirs is just such a book. Published by the ETH-Bibliothek in Zurich, it’s a compilation of images, taken from its archives, that chronicle the airline that, surprisingly and “to the dismay of the Swiss people”, went bankrupt in 2001. It’s suggested that Switzerland’s non-membership of the European Union may have been a contributing factor to its demise.
Among the things I learn from this book is that the airline became known as the “flying bank” and that in 1970 it flew to 75 cities. Its reach was hugely disproportionate to the country’s size.
When I was a child we moved around a lot as a family, by ship or plane. I became familiar with several airlines, such as the precursor to British Airways, BOAC (commonly known as Better On A Camel), the Portuguese carrier TAP (Take Another Plane), TWA (Try Walking Across), or the Belgian national carrier Sabena (Such A Bad Experience, Never Again). Not absolute thigh-slappers perhaps, but the tags stuck. Swissair’s name resisted such ribbing, and it was always my favourite airline; maybe it had the best chocolate, or perhaps it was the most punctual. It certainly had a pretty logo, and flying over the Alps (below) was an added attraction.
Some early flights look like they were best avoided (below). Such photos are passed off without comment, but it's surely to the airline's credit that they are shown.
to on-board catering:
Plane-spotting was clearly a popular national pastime too (below). Happy days.