Suter plans new airline

 - August 4, 2008, 11:05 AM

Crossair founder Moritz Suter announced on July 17 that he plans to launch a new regional airline. The airline’s first service would link Geneva with Lugano three times daily.

Although the project remains in its infancy, Suter has already submitted proposals for support to the township of Lugano and the local government of the canton of Ticino, as well as the Lugano Agno Airport for “symbolic” (low) landing fees.

According to Suter, “This will be the beginning of a new airline.” He did not reveal the planned name of the new company, nor did he name any investors, but he did indicate he will serve as chairman of the board, while a management team takes responsibility for daily operations. Suter also stressed his desire to build a “lean” company, offering much lower fares than Swiss. Depending on availability, the first airplane could be a Saab 2000 twin turboprop. Suter said he wants to start flight operations in late October, when Swiss executes plans to discontinue its Lugano-Geneva service.

Lugano, in southern Switzerland, will lose all its Swiss links in October, except four daily flights to Zurich. The flight over the Alps between Lugano and Geneva shows particular promise, because turboprop aircraft can make the trek in only 45 minutes, while road and rail travel takes well over five hours. On the Geneva side, the local minister of commerce had earlier called on other airlines to fill the void left by Swiss flights slated for cancellation in October.