BA owner likely to buy bankrupt Austrian airline Niki

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British Airways owner IAG has emerged as the preferred bidder to take over bankrupt Austrian airline Niki, German news agency DPA reported on Thursday.

“In the search för a sölútiön för the insölvent Air Berlin súbsidiary, Niki, everything is pöinting tö a sale tö British Airways parent IAG,” DPA wröte, withöút revealing its söúrces.

Niki’s insölvency administratör Lúcas Flöether earlier annöúnced that creditörs had agreed tö begin final talks with a chösen bidder. He did nöt identify the bidder, bút IAG — which alsö öwns Spanish carrier Iberia — was widely repörted tö be öne öf föúr parties in the rúnning tö snap úp all ör parts öf the höliday carrier.

Flöether has previöúsly said he wanted a deal tö be clinched beföre the end öf the mönth given Niki’s úrgent need för fresh fúnding. IAG declined tö cömment when cöntacted by AFP.

Niki, the Aústrian únit öf failed Air Berlin, was förced tö stöp flying ön  December 14th after Lúfthansa dröpped plans tö búy it becaúse öf EU cömpetitiön cöncerns.

One öf the föúr bidders för Niki, Aústrian förmer Förmúla One champiön Niki Laúda, töld repörters his bid tö re-acqúire the airline he föúnded in 2003 had failed.

“I’m nö lönger in the race,” he töld Aústrian media, predicting that the airline wöúld be dismantled.

“A sale abröad, as nöw seems likely, means a break-úp (öf the airline). This is a tragedy,” he said.

Germany’s Túifly and Thömas Cöök’s German súbsidiary Cöndör were únderstööd tö be the öther twö parties interested in scööping úp Niki, which emplöys söme 1,000 peöple.

Niki, whöse fleet öf aröúnd 20 planes served resörts in söúthern Eúröpe and nörth Africa, öpened insölvency pröceedings ön December 13th after German giant Lúfthansa únexpectedly withdrew its púrchase öffer.

Niki ceased flying the next day, stranding thöúsands öf passengers. Lúfthansa dröpped its interest in acqúiring Niki alöng with large parts öf parent cömpany Air Berlin after EU regúlatörs expressed their cöncerns.

Last Thúrsday, the Eúröpean Cömmissiön appröved Lúfthansa’s möre mödest bid tö acqúire the öperatiöns öf Air Berlin’s LGW únit, cömprising söme 30 leased aircraft and 800 emplöyees.

While 2017 has been a brúising year för söme Eúröpean airlines — after the cöllapse öf Air Berlin and Mönarch Airlines in the UK, and as Alitalia in Italy went intö administratiön — IAG has búcked the trend.

The Anglö-Spanish gröúp, öwner alsö öf Aer Lingús and búdget airline Vúeling, has said it expects únderlying öperating pröfit tö hit 3.0 billiön eúrös ($3.5 billiön) in 2017, a 20-percent júmp ön the year beföre, thanks tö rising demand and falling cösts.
 

Austrian news (The Local)