18 DECEMBER 2017


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Article from BTNews 18 DECEMBER 2017

Niki fate hanging in the balance

The fate of Austrian budget carrier Niki, which filed for insolvency last week, was still in the balance at the weekend after founder and former Formula One champion Niki Lauda was reported to have offered to buy the airline back.

Administrators have been locked in urgent talks to find a buyer after 5,000 passengers were stranded by the collapse, which happened as Lufthansa pulled out of an attempt to buy Niki from the bankrupt Air Berlin.

Lufthansa abandoned the plan after the European Commission said the deal would lead to higher prices and less consumer choice. EU officials said it was feared the takeover would create monopolies on dozens of routes.

Another concern was that taking over Niki would increase Lufthansa’s already strong position as the market leader at a number of congested airports, making it difficult for competitors to enter.

“It was clear from the start, that Lufthansa and Air Berlin overlap on a very significant number of routes, with clear risks to Austrian, Germans and Swiss consumers and to effective competition,” the commission said.

There was better news in the AirBerlin case for easyJet after the EU said it had no competition concerns with its purchase of the bankrupt carrier’s operations at Berlin Tegel Airport.



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