ZURICH, Feb 28 (Reuters) - The new Swiss national airline to succeed failed carrier Swissair said on Thursday it had obtained the necessary approvals for flights to the United States and was confident it would have further agreements secured in time to start intercontinental operations in April.
The new airline would have had serious problems if it could not fly in the normally lucrative transatlantic market.
But Switzerland and the U.S. have a liberal open sky aviation trade agreement governing which of their airlines can fly where between the two countries.
The new airline, called "swiss", is being built around former regional carrier Crossair AG (CROZn) to operate 70 percent of the routes previously flown by Swissair (SWSZn) which collapsed in October under heavy debts and a drop in traffic.
The government and many businesses teamed up for a 2.7 billion franc ($1.58 billion) recapitalisation of Crossair and the state paid one billion more to keep part of Swissair in the air until end-March, after which it will be folded.
The swiss company said it still faced some difficulties with obtaining landing rights in Russia and India because this was coupled with the payment of royalties to Aeroflot (AFLT) and Air India [AIN.UL]. Swiss said it was having cooperation talks with Air India.
Meanwhile the "swiss" airline obtained a key pay deal with cabin crew representatives on Monday, finding 10 percent cost savings.
But it is still in talks with pilots with the aim of reducing their labour costs by some one-third compared to the costs at Swissair.
There is still no news about which international airline marketing alliance swiss will link up. A decision is expected before end March.
Swiss Chief Executive Andre Dose said last week swiss had narrowed its preferred choice of global alliance from three to two but he did not name them.
The three possible alliances are Oneworld, led by British Airways (BAY) and American Airlines (AMR), Star Alliance, built around Lufthansa (LHAG) and United Airlines, and Sky Team with Air France (AIRF) and Delta (DAL).
Quality service combined with a low cost base are the basic premise of the swiss airline's business plan as it tries to win a profitable slice of the market in competition with European majors and low-cost discount airlines EasyJet (EZJ) and Ryanair (RYA). Crossair is already operating the former European destinations of Swissair.
Which US will be flown?