Swissair Souvenirs

In a week where Virgin Atlantic and Iberia airlines have both launched new designs, it’s apt that a new, beautiful book emerges, presenting the visual history of blighted –and now defunct – Swissair.

Hostesses serving a meal in a Boeing 747-257, 1978
Hostesses serving a meal in a Boeing 747-257, 1978

Once an icon of luxurious air travel, Switzerland’s former national airline Swissair was grounded in 2001 when the company went bankrupt. Just three years previously, in 1998, it bore the disaster when flight SR111 crashed off Canada’s Atlantic coast, marking the beginning of the end for the brand.

Boeing 747-257 B (Jumbo) during landing, 1979
Boeing 747-257 B (Jumbo) during landing, 1979

Far from train-spotter fodder, the new tome, Swissair Souvenirs shows more than a century of gorgeous designs, from the fleet itself, to the Pan-Am style uniforms, to the branding, with the original livery marque by designer Reudi Bircher in the 1950s shown on the front cover.

Swissair Souvenirs cover
Swissair Souvenirs cover

Alongside these, we also get fascinating insights into the things we’re really interested in – bygone plane food and glamourous hostesses.

Children's menu, 1990-1992
Children’s menu, 1990-1992

Thankfully, its rich trove of photographic imagery has survived, and is now held at ETH-Bibliothek in Zurich. Swissair Souvenirs presents 270 images from the archive, dating from 1910 – 2001.

A model wearing the Swissair hostess1960 - 1970 uniforms
A model wearing the Swissair hostess1960 – 1970 uniforms

 Arranged thematically, rather than chronologically, the photographs document every aspect of flying – including dinners, the working day of hostesses, pilots and flight attendants and the technological aspects of the aircrafts themselves.

Sleeping cabin in the first class of a DC-6B, 1952
Sleeping cabin in the first class of a DC-6B, 1952

Swissair Souvenirs by Ruedi Weidmann is edited by Michael Gasser and Nicole Graf, published by Scheidegger & Spiess priced £ 45.00

Loading cargo into a DC-10, 1980
Loading cargo into a DC-10, 1980

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