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Balair out of business?

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Balair out of business?

Old 1st Jul 2001, 14:39
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Hot Rod
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Red face Balair out of business?

Heard a rumour that swiss charter company Balair is out of business. Anyone knows any facts about this?
 
Old 1st Jul 2001, 16:28
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Avman
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Balair presently operating as normal. Will, I believe, be absorbed into Crossair at some later date this year.
 
Old 1st Jul 2001, 17:43
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Richthofen
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Seen Balair the day before yesterday at VRA, Cuba. So they still flying.
 
Old 1st Jul 2001, 18:15
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rock_the_tower
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According to a recently published interview with the president of Aeropers,Swissair's pilots union, in "travel inside" magazine (a swiss travel magazine), Balair planes operated by Crossair pilots would not match the standard of "quality" of the currently operating Balair drivers (most of them are actually coming from Swissair).No joke !
If "quality" of a pilot is only given by the amount of his/her pay check at the end of the month, Mr Joehl is then obviously quite right.
But what is a good or "high quality" pilot ? Do you need a master of science, an MBA, a PhD or even a title of professor in aviation in order to qualify for the best of the best to drive a swiss charter plane and to guarantee "quality" ?????
What about the performance/cost ratio of a e.g. Crossair driver compared to e.g. a Swissair driver ???
And what is "quality" all about then ???
If the quality of operations of the Swissair-origin Balair drivers is represented by the "quality" of arguing of its union president about "quality" issues, then Balair will be most probably history.

I am very curious to see how this chapter will finally move on !
My bet: Crossair will take over short and medium haul charter and long haul will be taken over by Edelweiss and foreign charter ops like Condor and LTU.

rtt
 
Old 2nd Jul 2001, 03:56
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Cisco Kid
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BALAIR STILL OPERATING NORMALLY.INDEED MOST PILOTS ARE FROM SWISSAIR WHICH LIKE IT OR NOT ´ROCK´DOES HAVE A LONG HISTORY OF QUALITY TRAINING & WORLD WIDE OPERATIONAL EXPERIENCE .AS FOR SALARIES BALAIR COMMANDERS ARE PAID LESS THAN THEIR COLLEAGUES IN SWISSAIR,BY A CONSIDERABLE MARGIN,THEY ARE OFFERED AN EARLIER COMMAND IN BALAIR & MAY RETURN TO SR. AFTER MIN 2 YRS OR WHEN SENIORITY ALLOWS THEM TO UPGRADE TO CMDR.ON THE SR.A320 FAMILY.SO AS YOU SEE PILOT COSTS ARE NOT A MAJOR FACTOR ,IN FACT DESPITE THE BRAINWASHING ,THEY SELDOM ARE .ON THE OTHER HAND,GOOD MANAGEMENT IN THE CHARTER BUSINESS IS VITAL SOMETHING THAT COULD BE IMPROVED IN SWITZERLAND GENERALLY.MY GUESS, THE WHOLE OPERATION ABSORBED INTO SR.WHOSE FLT. CREWS ARE AMONGST THE WORLD´S MOST PRODUCTIVE ,POSSIBLY SEPARATE CABIN CREWS DUE TO THE SEASONAL VARIATIONS IN THE IT BUSINESS IN EUROPE.ACTUALLY AS LONG AS IT´S A SAFE OPERATION & A GOOD PLACE FOR THE BOYS & GIRLS TO WORK,I DON´T GIVE A s*** WHO RUNS IT .
 
Old 2nd Jul 2001, 13:36
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Hunter58
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You guys should read more news... Here's the facts.

Balair did end the year with a nominal 25 Mio CHF loss, and that on a revenue of approx 130 Mio CHF (or 19%!!!). Based on that horrific number Dr. Mario Corti (the new guy in charge of the group) urged to find a decision of how to improve these numbers quickly. The first draft by this whisperers was, that Balair should be broken up and the short hauls should be integrated in Crossair, the long hauls in Swissair. It seems nobody remembered that exactly the same scenario in 1996 lead to the creation of Edelweiss (by TO Kuoni, as they did not like the ways taken), and then, a year later to the recreation of the present Balair, as Swissair discovered that Charter is a different business which is far more complex than they thought. On the short hauls TOs had to learn the hard way, that Crossair must be the inventor of air traffic, as they did everything different (and by no means better) than any other leisure carrier does. Hotelplan (behind Kuoni the largest TO in Switzerland) then came up with the McDonald's MD80 of LX, but the contract was not continued, as Hotelplan had enough of dealing with Crossair's own ways. They opted for buying two 757ERs and have them operated by Balair, as it was strongly recommended to them by Flightlease and the then called SAirGroup. Balair operates the airplanes under a 10 year contract, which is beneficial for both sides, as Balair has a high standard of service, knows the business very well, and can offer crew commonality with it's existing fleet. It is estimated that Hotelplan invested some 5 to 8 Mio CHF in the last five years in the Balair trade mark themselves.

So, now after the announcement of the new split up of Balair, Hotelplan called up the Doctor (Mario Corti) and explained him, that this was no option. First, they bought the 757s because FLightlease and Swissair told them that this would be the best for them. Second, they wanted Balair to operate them the FULL 10 years, third, they would never work with Crossair again on deals like this one, and fourth, they would stop selling SR tickets, should Corti not withdraw the plan (with some estimated 5% of the total Swissair passenger sales, that is a very serious threat!).

So it was back to the spreadsheets for Corti's boys and girls. They, after starting to use their brains discoveed interesting things: Flightlease, being part of what used to be called SAirLines, was the only unit in this part of the company to make money last year. But a careful analysis revealed, that it was making money on the back of Swissair and Balair, in order to be able to offer airplanes to all others on the planet, but basicaly at a loss!!! Corti has decided to close shop on Flightlease.

Second, the service from Flightlease was lousy. Balair started to like their A310 in 1999, as the leases started to be low, the aircraft had the right size for the market and the performance was just sufficient for what they did with them. Someone (Flightlease) thought different. As Swissair was getting A330-200s, BB also had to get them. Nobody ever thought, that a hefty 35% increase in capacity might not be sellable in the Swiss market. Only after the CEO of Balair refused to take responsibility for the balance sheet as soon as the A330 would be around, the thinking process started. At the time they had bought LTU, so the 767 appeared as the instrument of choice. BB was to be supplied with 76es and the European Leisure Group was to be founded (never actually worked out!). And, to perfect the cake with some decent icing, Balair was to give the A310s back in early 2000, as FedEx wanted them (interestingly FedEx leases them out to Oman Air for the time being, as they don't have conversion slots for them before next year, a fact that was known to the Industry at the time, but apparently not to Flightlease). In the same time, Air Europe (another of the half bought companies in the Group) had two 767 too much, as they went into the 777 (flying empty these days, as they are far too big), and Air Canada did not want the airplanes before Autumn 2000. So Balair was to take these 2 for the intermediate time, AT THEIR COST!!! Then, in September they both went to Air Canada, but due to production problems at Boeing, their own 767 were not ready. Guess what, in one of the busiest seasons in the leisure industry, Balair had to wet-lease in other carriers for incredible prices, AT THEIR COST!!! And Flightlease did never give any support to get th correct domumentations, get the right approvals etc. etc. etc.

In short, Balair had to pay for Flightleases F*ck ups! No wonder they make such a tremendous loss.

And now everybody is wondering what will happen. Hotelplan needs Balair, but they are not interested to buy them, Swissair does not want Balair, Crossair wants them, Aeropers (the pilot union) does not want Crossair to fly long haul, and Hotelplan does not want Crossair to operate their aircraft, as there is a 10 year agreement with Balair that is valid!

If you want to buy a fully certified EUropean AOC with a constant business (Hotelplan) I think it is time you call Super Mario...

------------------
There's nothing like a three-holer...
 
Old 2nd Jul 2001, 16:08
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Thanks H58 for the v.informative post & interesting facts,as I mentioned ,inept management has let poor Balair down again,I was merely pointing out that quality flt. ops have been provided to Balair by sr. flt. crews for over 30 yrs.& your facts give a real insight into the problems which are completely unrelated to aircrew salaries(as always)Surely the best opportunity for a succesful Balair operation was lost some years ago when Swissair sold their not inconsideable shareholding in Kuoni,prompting the creation of new charter carriers to fight over a fairly small market.Also the short life of BB. /Cta was a bit of a shock ,not given the chances it deserved?I do agree that the smoke & mirrors financial ploys of Flightlease have done a lot of damage to the bottom line of both SR. & BB.at least they have now been removed ,more parasites to follow.As a consultant are you sometimes not ashamed of the advice often given(at huge cost) to naive management ...nothing personal ..just curious,or is it more often the case that good advice is ignored? after all someone has to take final responsibility ..why can we seldom pin down the culprits? best wishes Cisco..
 
Old 3rd Jul 2001, 02:19
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Cisco

and to add to it all, it was not even Balair's own management that did the bad work, it was their owner's... But that is probabaly what happens if you seek for consultancy and look at the price of what you get, not the quality. The more expensive the better....

SO now you have some guys who really walked the extra miles, as pilots, flight attendants, ground personnel, and all they get is a kick in their ass, because the bad figures showed on their balance sheet, not the real money loosers one. I happen to know some of them, and they are not happy.

But, the good thing is, now they have a customer who is fighting for them, and that is worth more than a thousand unions. That is what management understands.

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There's nothing like a three-holer...
 
Old 4th Jul 2001, 20:35
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Myk Hunt
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Heard that they are looking for an operator which can supply B757 pilots to operate those two that they have? Are there any rumours about that?
 
Old 4th Jul 2001, 22:02
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Red face

Icelandair could be thinking about it, they have extra 757 crews.
 
Old 5th Jul 2001, 14:13
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Hunter58
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The problem is, you need the total. Hotelplan is very sensitive about tge service level given, and you cannot have any problems in tat field in the Swiss charter markets. Thy have to be able to use the present crews, especially in te cabin. Otherwise they could charter whoever...

The thing here is, that Balair is a quality brand, and nobody seems to see that! It has to be kept together. Pieces of it have no value.

------------------
There's nothing like a three-holer...
 
Old 6th Jul 2001, 23:11
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Hi Hunter58!
Your analysis is more or less correct. It is true that the whole Flightlease story has not been uncovered yet and everybody's looking forward to see what kind of worms will be dug out

Cisco Kid!
Rereading your messages, I cannot let your comments (which with their superior stance very well reflect those of Aeropers) unanswered.

"MOST PILOTS FROM SWISSAIR LIKE IT OR NOT HAVE A LONG HISTORY OF QUALITY TRAINING & WORLD WIDE OPERATIONAL EXPERIENCE": you guys sure know how to pat yourselves on both shoulders and in the back, don't you? I guess there are thousands of pilots on this planet having the same history and doing just the same you fantastic heroes are doing: it's called a job, and the profession is called pilot. Long range has never qualified as a supertask nor is a proof for the quality of piloting. Just ask all those regional flyers (not only LX) taking off and landing numerous times a day in Europe's interesting weather patterns, or Africa's torrential rains or America's microbursts. Just ask any bush pilot (seen them in AK?) flying in and out of short fields, overloaded, operating too often in marginal VFR. Look at all those airline wanabees, stacking the hours flying a filthy underpowered twin, delivering some stinkin'cargo to out of places during rainy nights, one man show. This is where value shows; not sipping Diet Coke on ice, waiting for the caviar and the 1st class main course while reading the paper. Good things there are fuel checks and position reports to keep you awake, uh? I just remember too well when some of you guys were not even current on the MD-11 anymore, averaging an amazing 0.9 landing a month!!
In this month Flight Recorder people, 2 retiring captains, ex SR. One has 10'424 hours spread over 26.5 years = 394 hours/year. The other 12'967 spread on 31 years = 418 hours/year. And they did not fly for BB

"AS FOR SALARIES BALAIR COMMANDERS ARE PAID LESS THAN THEIR COLLEAGUES IN SWISSAIR,BY A CONSIDERABLE MARGIN,THEY ARE OFFERED AN EARLIER COMMAND": Please give us some figures such as starting level for a 1st year F/O at SR and BB. Then for a SF/O with say 9 years at SR or BB. Oh, I forgot, the guy is already in command at BB, so how do that compares with what he would have gotten, had he stayed at SR? So you see, the savings are mostly done by having younger boys put in the left seat, and not much else.

"SR.WHOSE FLT. CREWS ARE AMONGST THE WORLD«S MOST PRODUCTIVE": oh yeah? You forgot to add a few details. 4 years ago (more or less) you traded a salary freeze against improved productivity (and the rest of the staff got no choice, they just had to bite the dust). So I'd say this was your choice. As for BB, during the A310 ops, I sure will remember (and really enjoyed ) those 7 days layovers in Anchorage or Bridgetown. Ok, those were the longest, the rest were shorter ones. The productivity was so good that it prompted management into the idea (good or not, I will not judge) of founding the "Leisure Group" to operate all the same fleet of A/C, and then, increase as far as could be done this enormous productivity of yours.

In resume, please give us a break about how good you SR or BB FCMs are. The whole Group (if the word Group means anything to you at all...) is in dire straits. Attacking pilots from the other airlines will serve no good. Asked are not destructive acts like the ones you are pursuing, but constructive ideas and team attitude. Just ask the Doc

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... cut my wings and I'll die ...
 
Old 7th Jul 2001, 00:01
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hear hear!!! Well said.
 
Old 7th Jul 2001, 22:32
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Fly for fud.What a rant I hope you feel better now,really if you read carefully no criticism of any other pilots was ever implied or indeed mentioned;who is better ,I don´t know or even really care ,as for torretial rains,marginal airports,bush flying etc,who said those people were any less skilled than anyone else?& be advised many experienced long haul colleages,including myself,have experienced that sort of operation.The trick is to make those safe landings when,by the very nature of lh operation ,landings are fewer,Oh yes doesn´t SR.have a Short Haul operation too mostly in Europe,It´s where the junior & less experienced people start.AS for money ,no way to qualify that,you get what you can negotiate.Do youself a favour & drop the flying club mentality if you can ,jealousy is a poisonous mistress ! & we all know there´s a lot of v. good people out there who didn´t get a break & a lot of average folks who did .PS I dont work for any company assosiated with Aeropers .´Hope this puts things into perspective.by the way 10,000 + hrs. is not bad if you spend 50% of the time working in an office . Hope we can still be pals....Yours Cisco.
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Old 8th Jul 2001, 11:40
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Old 8th Jul 2001, 16:03
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Cool

Ehmmm Cisco, you super massa hero experienced consulting analyst kilo-hours latin-lover long haul pilot !

So who started the quality question then? Some Aeropers folks always try to question non SR/BB operations concerning quality and skills (e.g. its vice-president who recently stated on swiss TV that long-haul ops needs way much more skills than short haul ops !!! No kidding !). Oh, yes of course it needs a lot of skills to wrench yourself into the crew-bunk above business class for a 4 hour nap on a Zürich-Singapore leg, you poor long-haul pilots...
Having more than 10000 hrs and long haul ops equals quality ? Experience, yes, but not quality. Isn't it your general attitude and personality which makes you a quality pilot ?
Some SR-drivers should really watch out about their quality statements. Remember: pride goes before a fall and people who live in glass houses should not throw stones !

Cheers buddy

rtt

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Old 9th Jul 2001, 16:14
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Well, here you have it... What makes me so sad is, that for the pilots, they will find a solution, and be it that they get back to their right seats. Tough, but not the end. What about the flight attendants (they'll never get the same working conditions), th ground staff? The ones that make an operation work?

So you have a lot of peolpe who worked very hard (NOT the pilots, as there is no difference between piloting a BBB 767 and a SWR 332, one is as easy or as hard as the other), and now they should be the ones that bleed, hard?
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Old 9th Jul 2001, 19:32
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I just hope it works out o.k for all staff members,that´s all ,bye for now folks!....Cisco
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Old 9th Jul 2001, 19:41
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Hunter (hope you were not responsible for the namesake strategy ), I agree with you.
Once more somebody will have to pay for management errors. Once more the ones to pay will be the real workers, the ones that don't have the time or the energy left to maintain a powerful union :o

Good luck to all and don't forget your live vest (oh, pardon me, life jackets in JAR-OPS jargon...)
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Old 10th Jul 2001, 00:11
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Fly4Fud

no I was more of an indirect victim. They got all these additional manager layers into the company, and filled them up woth foreigners who could wave good enought with some incredible diploma (if youc ared to look, any Matura in Switzerland was better!!!), and got these into the top seats.

After that you suddently were a stupid little Swiss (well, how was that company named again?), did have no international experience (speaking five languagues, not only two like the new boss, how can that really be?), did not know anything about what the business needed (what were we doing at a profit before, then?), did not have a clue about the strategy (THAT was right on the spot. I never understood it), and were not important enought to be mentioned anyway... unless: they needed someone for the right and correct figures for th board approval and someone who really understood what was going on in the real world etc. etc. etc.

So I quit! I learnt how to do it and how NOT to do it, and the secons I understand is very rare for consultants.

My nick is derived form Hawker Hunter Mk. 58, the most elegant aircraft ever built!
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