Ex-Formula 1 star Lauda buys back airline he founded

Ex-Formula 1 star Lauda buys back airline he founded

But because Niki was registered in Austria, the home country of its founder, two courts there ruled that they should be in charge of the airline's future.

The 68-year-old's company Laudamotion beat rivals including British Airways' owner International Consolidated Airlines Group (IAG) to the purchase of bankrupt Austrian airline Niki, which he founded some 15 years ago.

Niki went into administration in December 2017 when a deal to sell the airline to Lufthansa fell apart following competition concerns raised by the European Commission. "IAG is disappointed that Niki will not be able to develop and grow stronger as part of the group".

"In addition, Laudamotion has asked us for operational support services to enable Niki's flight operations to restart as quickly as possible".

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"This is an exciting opportunity". We have plenty of opportunities, plenty of cash, and we've got significant numbers of aircraft orders. It has not been disclosed how much Lauda paid to reacquire Niki.

Lauda improved an earlier offer and showed "commitment to Niki's base in Austria and openness to negotiating a collective agreement", works council chief Stefan Tankovits said.

Apparently, Niki's joint administrators, Ulla Reisch and Lucas Floether have said Lauda's bid was the most convincing.

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