IAG agrees purchase price for bankrupt Austrian budget airline Niki

NIKIInternational Airlines Group has agreed terms for the purchase of European low-cost airline Niki. British Airways’ parent company IAG will pay €20 million (£17.8 million) for the bankrupt carrier and plough in another €16.5 million (£14.7 million) to get it off the ground again.

IAG says its new stablemate will be run in collaboration with its own budget subsidiary, Vueling. An estimated 750 Niki staff will keep their jobs and be transferred over to the new entity. IAG will gain Niki assets in the deal which include landing slots at airports such as Faro and Salzburg as well as the airline’s home base at Vienna.

Another key Niki asset is a fleet of 17 Airbus aircraft and these will also change ownership. Niki was founded by former Formula 1 race ace Niki Lauda in 2003 but in 2011 sold on to Air Berlin. When Etihad Airways pulled the plug on its support five months ago, Air Berlin was forced into filing for bankruptcy.

Niki was grounded on the 14 December and at the same time as German airline Lufthansa bailed out of an attempt to buy both Air Berlin and Niki. The European Commission had claimed the buyout would be anti-competitive and would not give people travelling between Austria, Germany and Switzerland the best options.

The new deal for Niki hammered out with IAG still requires the same European authorities to give the green light. If the commission does veto the agreement it might be back in the hands of Niki Lauda as he has already expressed an interest in buying Niki back.



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