Mario Ritter was an impostor, they never really signed for these A340s for example although he claimed they would have signed for two of them. I started some investigations after one of the two he claimed he had signed up for was delivered to Khalifa. He told the Swiss media earlier that the aircraft were being painted in Hamburg when they were stored outside in ex-SQ colours.
When I started digging a little bit in 2002 when this all happened I found a lot of very strange facts about Air Switzerland and wanted to make sure no more people would leave their jobs and go and work there, so I started to give all of the stuff to several Swiss media and tried to stop them.
Ritter claimed he paid less than 40 million USD per aircraft to buy the aircraft which was very strange, he also said he would have picked the aircraft up in Seattle although they were ferried Singapore-Hamburg nonstop.
Boeing did confirm they had not sold the aircraft to Air Switzerland when he was claiming he had bought them already, this is all I still find in my old e-mail archive from Boeing: ("Sounds like you've gotten quite a bit information there. I have discussed this issue with our sales team and we all agreed that we can
confirm we have an on-going negotiation with Air Switzerland. However, it
is our policy not to release any sales negotiation details without our
airline customer's approval.")
The guy was running a website called www.aircraft-leas.com
claiming the Mario Ritter Group would run a hell lot of travel agencies around the globe and would be involved in aircraft brokering and logistics (and a lot of other untrue stuff). Four hours after Swiss newspaper CASH had written about this website in one of their articles on Air Switzerland, the website was not taken off the web, but redirected to the Air Switzerland website (which was kind of stupid).
In fact, he did have a small travel agency in Liechtenstein and a lot of letterbox companies abroad (the New York branch happened to be in the same building in Harlem as another company specialized in providing letterbox companies for a couple hundred buck at this address
). He also claimed that he would have got an MBA one and a half years after his A levels (kind of unrealistic).
I was talking with Ritter and his fellow several times and they could not tell me which aircraft they had actually purchased either, at least they were giving different MSNs all the time (it turned out to be they did not really know and just said something, at least this is my guess).
Not enough time to list everything else, anyway, it took me about 2 days to find out it must be a hoax and as soon as they had found out I was providing information to the media they called me and wanted me to go to Hamburg with them to visit their two aircraft. I agreed and they called the night before saying there were no seats available on Lufthansa and Swiss the next day and we could not go. Hm, well, I called both airlines to check and checked Amadeus etc. and the flights were wide open. About three weeks later they chartered a business jet to fly to Hamburg with Swiss TV
news guys from "10 vor 10" but did not let them visit the aircraft either saying they would not be allowed to bring a TV
team with them.
I know several people who have worked for Air Switzerland and after salaries were paid for two months from unknown sources, noone has seen any additional money. It looks like a lot of the bills were actually never paid either.