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McDonnell Douglas MD-11

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McDonnell Douglas MD-11 Swissair

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McDonnell Douglas MD-11 - Swissair

During 71 years Swissair (Schweizerische Luftverkehr AG) was the national airline of Switzerland. It was formed in 1931 by a merger between two older airlines, Balair and Ad Astra Aero. Swissair was famous for its financial stability for a long time, but in 2002 the airline collapsed after an expensive expansion by (partially) taking over other airlines, including Sabena (Belgium) and LTU (Germany), Air Liberté and AOM (France) and others. The investments became a too heavy financial burden after the economic turndown following the September 11 attacks in 2001. The airline was grounded in October 2001 and on 1 April 2002 a new Swiss airline was formed out of the regional subsidiary Crossair: Swiss International Air Lines. In 2005 this airline was taken over by Lufthansa.

Swissair was an important widebody user. The first widebody aircraft in the fleet was the Boeing 747-200 Jumbo Jet, in 1971, and one year later it also introduced the McDonnell Douglas DC-10-30. Both types were used for long-haul flights. Later, Swissair was the first airline to introduce both the Airbus A310-200 and the Boeing 747-300. Swissair was also the launch customer of the McDonnell Douglas MD-11.

Swissair used a total of twenty MD-11s. It initially ordered twelve aircraft as a replacement for ageing DC-10s, but later added four more and took over four ex-LTU aircraft. After the collapse of the airline, thirteen MD-11s were taken over by Swiss International Airlines. From 2004 these were replaced by Airbus A340s. A number of ex-Swissair MD-11 aircraft are in service with United Parcel Service (UPS) now.

One Swissair MD-11, operating Flight 111 from New York JFK to Geneva, crashed due to fire and subsequent instrument failure off the Atlantic coast, 80 km southeast of Halifax, Nova Scotia, on 2 September 1998. All 215 passengers and 14 crew members died.

The large photograph shows a Swissair MD-11 in the last colour scheme of the airline. On the second picture a MD-11 in older colours is taxiing at Geneva Cointrin Airport. On the third photo a MD-11 is seen in the colours of Swissair Asia for flights to Taiwan.

McDonnell Douglas MD-11 Swissair

McDonnell Douglas MD-11 Swissair Asia

© All text and pictures: © copyright © The Widebody Aircraft Parade ©

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