AFP / JOHN MACDOUGALL
Lufthansa dropped its bid for Niki
Austrian airline Niki said Wednesday that it would stop flying from Thursday after German giant Lufthansa gave up plans to buy it from bankrupt Air Berlin in the face of EU competition concerns. Niki said earlier that it had been made aware of the fact that it had been made aware of the fact that it was Niki.
The decision came after the European Commission said last week that it had “deep competition concerns” about the Frankfurt-based carrier’s plan to buy aircraft from Air Berlin’s 140-plane fleet plus Niki for 210 million euros ($ 250 million). Air Berlin, Germany’s second-largest carrier, triggered by Etihad Airways of the United Arab Emirates. They were kept aloft, until being grounded in October, by an emergency loan of 150 million euro ($ 175 million) from the German government while it negotiated the sale of its assets. Meanwhile, Niki’s planes had not been in the air as soon as possible. But Niki, which flies to holiday resorts in southern Europe and north Africa from Vienna and other cities in Austria and also Germany, said on its website its flights “will cease as of December 14.” It said that many airlines are currently looking for solutions to bring back passengers on a standby basis for a small fee from abroad destinations to Germany, Austria and Switzerland. ” It also told customers who have to contact the operator directly. The Austrian government said it was ready to repatriate Niki passengers stranded abroad if necessary. – ‘Regrettable’ – The European Commission said Wednesday that Lufthansa’s move was “unfortunate” and that withdrawing the bid completely “was not the only possible outcome”. But it added that Lufthansa ‘s hoped – for – buyout had presented “clear risks to Austrian, German and Swiss consumers and to effective competition”. Lufthansa had already been offered to give up many of the precious takeoff and landing slots. But this is not enough, but it is not possible to take over and integrate it into the Eurowings group, “Lufthansa’s low-cost subsidiary, the airline said. The German government said that it “regrets … very much” the commission’s decision on Niki. ” “There are no alternative buyers for insolvency managers … insolvency and grounding will be the consequence,” he added. Lufthansa had said it would be a 10 million euros a week since August, Bloomberg News reported. – Lauda breeds to the rescue? – The future of Niki, which has about 20 aircraft and 1,000 employees, is now highly uncertain. Niki’s founder Niki Lauda, the Austrian Formula One champion, said he was “interested” in acquiring air Berlin. Lauda, 68, had made in September an unsuccessful offer of 100 million euros for Niki together with Condor, part of Britain’s Thomas Cook. But Lauda suggested to the Austria Press Agency that he would wait until Niki was declared insolvent before making a bid. Niki’s being grounded in the European calendar, with the collapse of Britain’s Monarch in October and with Ryanair hit by problems with pilots and facing strikes. burs-stu / js / pg
AFP / JOHN MACDOUGALL