|Founded||2003 (as Helvetic Airways AG)|
|Parent company||Helvetic Airways AG|
|Key people||Bruno Jans(CEO)
Helvetic Airways is an airline based at Zürich Airport in Kloten, Switzerland. It operates flights to destinations in Europe and Northern Africa, mainly leisure markets, but also to business destinations. The airline now operates scheduled flights on behalf of Swiss International Air Lines using their fleet of Fokker 100s. In October 2010, the Swiss news media announced a new base in Bern Airport.
Helvetic Airways was established in the autumn of 2003 as a rebranding and extension of the existing airline Odette Airways to serve destinations in South-Eastern Europe. Switzerland's first budget carrier began operating in November with a Fokker 100 flying to 3 destinations. By 2004, the fleet had grown to 7 aircraft. The route network has been continually expanded since then.
In the context of financially restructuring the airline, in March 2006 the investment company Patinex AG, owned by Martin and Rosemarie Ebner, acquired all the shares of Helvetic Airways AG.
On 18 February 2013, in the 2013 Belgian diamond heist, eight men armed with automatic weapons and dressed in police uniforms seized 120 small parcels containing an estimated $50 million (£32,000,000) worth of diamonds off of a Helvetic Airways Fokker 100 passenger plane loaded with passengers preparing for departure to Zurich, Switzerland. The men drove two vehicles through a hole they had cut in the airport's perimeter fence to Flight LX789, which had just been loaded with diamonds from a Brink's armored van. The men were able to execute the operation within five minutes with no injuries and without firing a shot.
In December 2006, the carrier unveiled a new look for its aircraft. Since that time, all the Fokker 100s have livery in red-white-silver grey colours with the Swiss cross on the tailfin, intended to symbolise the values of quality, cleanliness and safety.
|This section does not cite any references or sources. (February 2013)|
Initially, Helvetic Airways operated a small fleet of Fokker 100 aircraft, serving diverse destinations throughout Europe from its base in Zurich. Today the fleet comprises 6 Fokker 100s and operates from Zurich and Bern.
Three of the aircraft have been leased on a long-term basis to Swiss International Air Lines within the scope of an ACMI (aircraft, crew, maintenance and insurance) partnership. Helvetic Airways is using the other three aircraft for scheduled and charter flights. Scheduled flights are currently offered to Bari, Brindisi, Catania, Inverness, Bristol, Lamezia Terme, Olbia, Heringsdorf and Rostock. Helvetic Airways also operates charter flights to additional destinations for various tour operators.
The Helvetic Airways fleet includes the following aircraft (as of August 2013):
- "Imprint." Helvetic Airways. Retrieved on 6 November 2009. "Helvetic Airways AG P.O. Box 250 CH-8058 Zurich Airport"
- "Directory: World Airlines". Flight International. 3 April 2007. p. 90.
- Higgins, Andrew (18 February 2013). "Brazen Jewel Robbery at Brussels Airport Nets $50 Million in Diamonds". New York Times. Retrieved 2013-02-20.
- Casert, Raf, , "Robbers Snatch $50 Million of Diamonds Off Plane in Belgium," Associated Press, February 19, 2013, 4:13 a.m.
- Smith, Vicky, "The Great Plane Robbery: Gang of Fake Police Officers Steal £32m of Diamonds in Airport Heist," Associated Press, February 19, 2013, 18:49
- "Swiss Aircraft Register". FOCA. Retrieved 1 August 2013.
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