You're right, blaming SR
is too easy. That's why I said: "SR
get's blamed because.".....I am surely not blaming SR
solely (and not targetting Swiss people because of it), public opinion in Belgium however is, because that's the impression we got from hearing and seeing the news-reports: SR
came in, sucked the life out of it and dumped SN
when the pool was dry...only to fail themselves shortly afterwards.
However, I disagree that SN
was dead in the water before. When they had to abandon their cost-plus business model on the government's request, in my opinion they should have followed a much more modest business model like Luxair. Find a niche (but surely not LCC since not feasable on Belgian soil) and play it at your best. If Luxair can, why shouldn't SN
could have. Because not sexy enough? Not prestigious enough? Because that wouldn't carry the Belgian flag across the globe? Reasons unclear until today.
indeed should have been wiser, not to not get involved with SN
, AOM and others, but not to start an insane overambitious plan to start a global alliance "Qualiflyer" based on under-capitalized smaller airlines and head on with Skyteam, Oneworld...
Belgian government was blind for these mad plans, and only saw the promised capital injection in SN
, which cut them free of doing something about the under-captilization at SN
The first signs of SR
's different plans were the ordering of many and large Airbusses for SN
....Later on many of the delivered A340's and A330's flew empty, and remained even grounded for a while because this was cheaper then flying them empty!
Many other examples clearly show that the SR
strategy was certainly not the only and oldest reason for SN
's demise, indeed the structural problems for SN
were many and profound, but it made any other realistic business model impossible at the point when it was perhaps still possible.
For the profits, I don't have the books (lot's of papers disappeared...), but from what I've read you can hardly sum up 12 months total showing profits.
They didn't have to make profits, given the cost-plus business model. When they had turned themselves around, the possible positive cash disappeared towards Airbus and SR
It's just something we Belgians should take a good look at and not repeat ourselves in the future. I hope the Swiss and others do the same.