by Horst Zoeller, 1996 - 2020, 67th Edition, 22 Nov 2020

Ad Astra Aero

15.12.1919 as Frick + Co.
24.02.1920 renamed into Ad Astra Aero

Junkers 50% (in exchange for four F13)

Management Positions:

Walter Mittelholzer (Managing Director since Feb .1920)
Alfred Comte (Chief Pilot since Feb. 1920 - May 1920)
Altherr (Managing Director since June 1920)
Pillichody (Managing Director since 1921 to 1924)
Hans Sachsenberg (Managing Board since 1922)

Erwin Schwarzenbach (Chief of Supervisory Board since Sept. 1921)
M. Duval (Supervisory Board since April 1920)
J. Gallay (Supervisory Board since April 1920)
J. Michel (Supervisory Board since April 1920)
R. Jenny-Dinner (Supervisory Board)
Hugo Junkers (Supervisory Board since Sep. 1922)
Hermann Schleissing (Supervisory Board since Sep. 1922)
Dr. Wirth (Supervisory Board since Sep. 1922)

1919 - 1920 Charter and Photographic Flights
June 1922 Geneve - Zurich - Nurnberg-Furth
August 1922 extension to Constance Airport
09.05.23 member of TREU until 1925
April 1924 Zurich - Stuttgart - Frankfurt

Company Development:

Ad Astra Aero was already founded on 17th October 1919 in Zurich as Luftverkehrsgesellschaft Frick + Co. by Friedrich Rihner, Ernst Frick and Henry Pillichody. In February 1920 the company was renamed into Ad Astra Aero, when it merged with Aero-Gesellschaft Comte, Mittelholzer + Co. In April 1920 additionally the Avion Tourisme S.A. at Geneve was bought by Ad Astra. In 1920 Ad Astra mostly performed charter flights and photographic flights from Zurich. But on 23rd December 1920 financial difficulties forced the management to reduce its pilots and the number of airport stations. Nevertheless, the financial difficulties continued and when Ad Astra was interested to buy several Junkers F13 in 1921, the required money was not available.

To provide Ad Astra Aero with the required four Junkers F13, Junkers decided to join Ad Astra Aero. The financial capital was push up to 400.000 Franken on 16th March 1922 of which 50% were controlled by Hugo Junkers. On the other hand Ad Astra Aero started operations along the route from Geneve to Zurich and Nuremberg on behalve of Junkers Luftverkehr on June, 1st 1922. This route was the nucleus for the Southern routings of Junkers Luftverkehr. In May 1923 Ad Astra Aero joint the newly formed
Transeuropa Union and served the Geneve, Zurich, Nuremberg route with an extension to Munich on behalve of TREU.

Further routes were introduced in 1924 for TREU. Since 20th April 1924 a new route was introduced from Zurich to Stuttgart and Frankfurt with further connections via TREU airlines to Amsterdam and Berlin. The existing route from Geneve to Zurich and Munich was rerouted via Lausanne at the same time and since 15th May 1924 this route was extended to Vienna.

In 1925 the Swiss Government announced, that it is no longer willing to pay subventions to a non-Swiss airline and figured out, that Ad Astra as part of TREU is not a Swiss air carrier. Therefore Ad Astra was forced to leave the TREU organisation in 1925. However, Ad Astra kept its money of 3000 RM within TREU and still participated in the foundation of
Europa Union in May 1925, but it never became an official operating member of the Europa Union.

After the collapse of the Junkers Luftverkehrs A.G. in autumn 1925, Ad Astra operated their routes from Geneve and Zurich to Munich, Vienna and Frankfurt on its own risc. Mittelholzer performed several record breaking flights with Ad Astra aircraft in the second half of the twenties. However, since 1925 Ad Astra had an opponent in Switzerland with the newly founded Balair, which was based in Basel. Both carriers were strictly depending on states subventions for their operations. Therefore, on 17th March 1931 the Swiss Government forced Ad Astra and Balair to merge into a new airline called Swissair, which was headed by Walter Mittelholzer again.

Further Informations about Ad Astra at following Sites:
Junkers F13 - very detailled German text - German infos about initial Swiss Air Transport
Ad Astra Aero - Another German History Site


introduced Aug 1996, transfered Dec 2017
contents last updated 1 Jan 2005