Swissair used to be Switzerland’s national airline and came into being when Ad Astra Aero and Balair merged during 1931. The company was renowned for its amazing financial stability and was – to a large extent – considered to be a Swiss national icon.
It was during 1990 that Swissair initiated what it called its ‘Hunter Strategy’. The strategy was part and parcel its market expansion plans. The world renowned consulting firm, McKinsey & Co., devised a strategy which would involve Swissair acquiring small sized airlines so as to increase its base.
The strategy was unusual in the sense that it had become more en vogue for airlines to enter into alliance agreements as opposed to pursuing growth by acquisition. As a direct result of their ‘Hunter Strategy’, Swissair managed to gain significant stakes in small and poorly performing airlines like AOM, Sabena, Volare, TAP Portugal, South African Airways, Air Littoral, LTU, Air Liberte, Portugalia etc.
The strategy would prove to cost them dearly. Their continuous acquisition of airlines resulted in a cash crunch for the Swissair parent company, SAirGroup. The credit line could not be extended anymore and on the 2nd of October 2001, Swissair was grounded.
Crossair started acquiring Swissair and on the 31st of March 2002, the name of Crossair was changed to Swiss International Air. Thus the name of Swissair was removed altogether.
Swissair is part of a major frequent flyer programme which is called ‘Miles and More’. This programme is currently in use by 12 European airline companies. Originally started in 1993 by Lufthansa, ‘Miles and More’ allows members to redeem points in exchange for flight tickets on any of the integrated airlines as well as on any of the flights operated by Star Alliance members.
Status levels can be earned, with higher levels affording members more privileges. Registration for ‘Miles and More’ is free of charge. There are mainly 3 kinds of miles as part of the ‘Miles and More’ programme: These are Award Miles, HON Circle Miles and Status Miles.
The Award Miles points can be redeemed in exchange for upgrades, tickets, as well as merchandise from Lufthansa’s WorldShop. Award Miles Points earned on the ‘Miles and More’ programme are valid for 36 months.
In the case of senators, frequent travellers or card holders of the HON Circle, no expiry date is applied to any of the points earned and, in addition to earning points when flying with Star Alliance partners, points can also be accrued when travelling through Air-Rail in Germany or when flying with any of the integrated partner airlines.
Status Miles, on the other hand, are accrued only when flying through one of the partner airlines or members of Star Alliance. These points remain valid for redemption 1 year after receipt.