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Alliance strategy and the fall of Swissair: a comment


  • Knorr, Andreas
  • Arndt, Andreas


Swissair's rapid decline from being one of the industries’ most renowned carriers into bankruptcy was on the one hand the inevitable consequence of a fundamentally ill-conceived alliance strategy—rather than just a badly implemented one—that undermined Swissair's reputation as a high-quality carrier. On the other hand, the company's inability to coordinate effectively its own operations with those of Crossair, its regional subsidiary was another key factor in its demise. However, we hold that while yearlong mismanagement was indeed the driving force behind Swissair's demise, exogenous factors encouraged and compounded it. These include, first and foremost, the Swiss people's rejection of the European Economic Area Treaty in a 1992 referendum, Switzerland's protectionist aviation policy, and media failure.

Suggested Citation

  • Knorr, Andreas & Arndt, Andreas, 2004. "Alliance strategy and the fall of Swissair: a comment," Journal of Air Transport Management, Elsevier, vol. 10(2), pages 119-123.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jaitra:v:10:y:2004:i:2:p:119-123
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jairtraman.2003.08.002

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Chang, Yu-Chun & Williams, George, 2002. "European major airlines' strategic reactions to the Third Package," Transport Policy, Elsevier, vol. 9(2), pages 129-142, April.
    2. Luc Avonds & Francis Bossier & Albert Gilot & Bart Van den Cruyce & Filip Vanhorebeek, 2002. "Working Paper 03-02 - Evaluation des effets économiques de la faillite de la Sabena SA
      [Working Paper 03-02 - Evaluatie van de economische impact van het faillissement van Sabena N.V]
      ," Working Papers 0203, Federal Planning Bureau, Belgium.
    3. Suen, Wilma W, 2002. "Alliance strategy and the fall of Swissair," Journal of Air Transport Management, Elsevier, vol. 8(5), pages 355-363.
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    Cited by:

    1. Coad, Alex, 2010. "Investigating the exponential age distribution of firms," Economics - The Open-Access, Open-Assessment E-Journal, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW), vol. 4, pages 1-30.
    2. Guillaume Burghouwt & Frédéric Dobruszkes, 2014. "Dossier: Institutions and skilled mobility. Guest Editors: Gery Nijenhuis & Maggi W.H. Leung," Tijdschrift voor Economische en Sociale Geografie, Royal Dutch Geographical Society KNAG, vol. 105(5), pages 604-621, December.

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