Air Berlin’s Austrian subsidiary Niki has filed for bankruptcy protection. The airline stopped flying.
Although parent Air Berlin already filed for insolvency in August, Niki was not part of the proceedings. The airline, originally founded by the famous F1 champion Niki Lauda, has been flying even when the insolvent carrier collapsed. However, on December 13 the Austrian airline has filed for bankruptcy protection after Lufthansa withdrew its takeover bid for the Air Berlin subsidiary. The European Commission said last week it had “deep competition concerns” about the sale. EU regulators are especially worried about a likely dominance of Lufthansa in the European market following the takeover. Meanwhile, the airline’s founder, Niki Lauda, said on Wednesday that he was “still interested” in buying Niki.
Lufthansa informed Air Berlin and its insolvency managers that it will pursue the planned transaction without the purchase of Niki, Lufthansa said in a statement.
Niki has ceased flight operations immediately. Since the airline simply closed down without notice, nearly 10,000 passengers are stranded across Europe with no return flight. The Austrian government has promised to bring them home.
According to Niki website, several airlines are currently looking into solutions for bringing back passengers on standby-basis for a small fee from abroad destinations back to Germany, Austria and Switzerland.