10/02/2011

Two flying Swiss

IMG_0737[1].JPGOn the tenth anniversary of the Grounding of Swissair we can all celebrate two flying Swiss: the airline of that name and the runner who has just won the Morat-Fribourg race.


It is ten years ago to the day since the Swissair fleet of aircraft was grounded when UBS AG, under their chairman Marcel Ospel, refused to extend the line of credit. He may or may not have been correct, but this decision was unpopular: he was referred to as "Bin Ospel", and his bank as the "United Bandits of Switzerland". Somewhat ironic, since the nickname of Swissair was "the flying bank".

Since that time the fortunes of both Marcel Ospel and the UBS bank have waned considerably. The recent substantial financial losses, supposedly due to a rogue trader in London, have meant that UBS shares have fallen substantially and Oswald Grübel has followed Marcel Ospel into an enforced retirement.

The airline Swiss, rising like a phoenix from the ashes of Swissair, is the reverse of UBS. It is currently enjoying substantial growth, to the satisfaction of its new senior partner, Lufthansa, so that people are even wondering whether Lufthansa paid a sufficient amount for it.

Swissair was still in its prime when, in 1998, the Morat-Fribourg race had a Swiss winner in both the mens and the womens race. The winner of the womens race, Franziska Rochat-Moser, also set the record time,

IMG_0735[1].JPGToday, there is another reason to celebrate, with the victory of the Swiss runner, Stéphane Joly. In fact, there are three reasons to be happy, since a Swiss woman, Martina Strähl, was third in her race and the record time of Franziska Rochat-Moser is still intact. The down side to this is, of course, the tragic death in 2002 of Franziska, caught in an avalanche while skiing. However, it is not impossible that the foundation which carries her name and tries to help young athletes, could have been of assistance to Stèphane Joly.

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