Friday, 20 September, 2019

Ryanair hitches lift with Lauda from Germany

Courtesy of LaudaMotion Courtesy of LaudaMotion
Russell Knight | 21 March, 2018, 05:03

The Dublin-based low-priced giant said LaudaMotion is an Austrian AOC holder owned by Niki Lauda, which recently acquired numerous assets - including A320 aircraft - of the former Niki Airline.

Since then it's tried and failed to take over fellow Irish airline Aer Lingus and past year was a potential bidder for Air Berlin, before pulling out of an auction it claimed was rigged in favor of Deutsche Lufthansa AG.

"Ryanair Holdings Plc today announced that it has entered into a binding agreement with Mr Niki Lauda to support his plan to develop and grow LaudaMotion GmbH", it said in a statement.

Mr Lauda beat rival bidder and British Airways owner International Consolidated Airlines Group (IAG) to snap up Niki when IAG's 36.5 million euro (£32 million) deal fell through after it was ruled that insolvency proceedings had to switch from Austria to Germany, triggering a fresh round of bids.

Now in a fresh blow to the airline giant, today it was confirmed that Ryanair had agreed to support Lauda in his efforts to develop Laudamotion airline, acquiring an initial 24.9 per cent stake in the carrier.

European Union competition regulators past year blocked Germany's Lufthansa from buying Niki Airline's business.

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LaudaMotion will include a range of both scheduled and chartered flights operating out of Germany, Austria, and Switzerland, traveling to Mediterranean holiday hotspots like the Balearic Islands, Ibiza, Malaga, Santorini and Crete.

Niki Lauda, chairman of LaudaMotion, said: "I have always stood up for competition and have opposed monopolies".

He said he is looking forward to offering an extensive route network and competitive air fares.

The low-priced giant will pay Lauda less than 50 million euros ($61.7 million) for a majority stake in LaudaMotion, which retook control of carrier Niki just two months ago following the insolvency of Air Berlin.

Ryanair estimates that Laudamotion can reach profitability by its third year of operations and grow its fleet to at least 30 Airbus aircraft "if successful".

Ryanair chief executive Michael O'Leary said he looks forward to working with Niki Lauda to successfully develop his vision.

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