Switzerland's Hello ceases operations after bankruptcy

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Swiss carrier Hello has ceased operations after declaring bankruptcy.

The Basle-based charter and wet-lease operator says in a statement that its flights were "temporarily" suspended on 21 October, indicating that it is now working on a recovery plan. But it notes that "all efforts [so far] to recapitalise the company have failed".

Hello, which operated four Airbus A320s from Basle and Zurich, blames a number of reasons for the insolvency. These include the "financial implosion of two large French customers"; high fuel costs; and the strength of the Swiss franc, which purportedly led to the cancellation of a "large" contract with German tour operator TUI.

The airline also blames "serious book keeping errors" in the past for its current financial predicament, while further adding that competition in the tourism sector has become "increasingly fierce".

Hello, which employs about 140 staff members, started operations in 2004 with Moritz Suter - founder of former Swiss regional carrier Crossair - at the helm as board chairman.

All the carrier's aircraft are now on the ground in Switzerland.