Airlines Niki files for bankruptcy protection and ceases operations

Austria’s Air Berlin subsidiary Niki has filed for bankruptcy protection and ceased operations on Thursday.

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The Austrian airline states on its website that the flight operations of NIKI Luftfahrt GmbH under IATA-Airline-Code HG will cease as of December 14th only hours after Lufthansa Group announced it was abandoning its efforts to acquire Niki.

As nearly 10.000 passengers are stranded without return flights, the Austrian government announced to organize charter flights to bring people home. All tickets booked for future flights seem to be worthless.

On the website Niki announced that the German airline TUIfly, which operated 14 aircraft for Niki, will not offer flights to transport the stranded passengers. Until now it is uncertain how TUIfly will react on the insolvency of Niki. TUIfly is expected to publish statement on Thursday.

Niki operated a fleet of 30 aircraft including one A320, 15 A321, five Boeing 737-700 and eight Boeing 737-800. All Boeing aircraft are operated by German TUIfly.

After the insolvency of Air Berlin, Lufthansa planned to take over parts of Air Berlin as well as its Austrian subsidiary Niki and the regional carrier Luftfahrtgesellschaft Walter (LGW). Lufthansa wanted to integrate all carriers into its low cost subsidiary Eurowings. The European Commission confirmed competition concerns as Lufthansa and its low cost subsidiary Eurowings could hold a monopoly on several routes in Germany and Austria.

Beside Lufthansa, British Airways’ IAG Group, Thomas Cook and Niki’s founder Niki Lauda were expected to be interested in Niki. So far, no company has declared an interest in taking over the bankrupt airline.

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