Swiss International Air Lines Ltd.
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1 December 2007
SWISS Airbus A320 HB-IJM was formally named “Richterswil” at Zurich Airport at lunchtime today. The aircraft is also SWISS’s ‘Flying Fanclub’, decked out in a special supporters’ livery for the run-up to the European soccer championships next year. The naming act was performed by Ruedi Hatt, the mayor of Richterswil, and Köbi Kuhn, the coach to Switzerland’s national soccer team. Also in attendance were Christoph Franz, CEO of SWISS, Marc Walder, editor-in-chief of the SonntagsBlick newspaper, numerous Richterswil residents, SWISS employees and football fans from all over the country.
Today’s aircraft naming ceremony at Zurich Airport was also a football affair. The fuselage of Airbus A320 HB-IJM has been covered with hundreds of photos that Switzerland’s soccer fans submitted in a joint competition by SWISS and the Blick and SonntagsBlick newspapers. The aircraft has also been named “Richterswil” because competition winner Astrid Schelbert lives in this Lake Zurich town. The specially-liveried aircraft will be known as the ‘Flying Fanclub’ between now and the European soccer championships final in Vienna at the end of June 2008, but will permanently retain its “Richterswil” name.
As well as numerous soccer fans, the naming ceremony was attended by SWISS CEO Christoph Franz, by Marc Walder, editor-in-chief of the SonntagsBlick newspaper, and by Ruedi Hatt, the present mayor of Richterswil and Köbi Kuhn, coach of the Swiss national football team, who performed the naming act.
The unusual event further confirms SWISS’s commitment to the finals of the European soccer championships in summer 2008, for which it aims to act as the ‘Airline for All Fans’, bringing supporters to Switzerland from all over Europe. “We are delighted to serve all the nations that have qualified for next summer’s finals, performing over 700 flights a week to 32 destinations in 15 countries,” says SWISS CEO Christoph Franz. “The balls will fly on the pitch, and the fans will fly with us.” After the ceremony, the ‘Flying Fanclub’ Airbus A320 took off for Geneva on its first flight in its new soccer colours.