Niki Flights Grounded As Lufthansa Abandons Takeover
Austrian low cost carrier Niki has ceased flying after Lufthansa dropped its offer to buy the airline from its insolvent parent Air Berlin.
Lufthansa agreed to acquire Niki and regional carrier LG Walter for EUR€210 million (USD$248 million) in October, but the deal is being examined by the European Commission on competition grounds.
Lufthansa said in a statement it had offered “extensive commitments”, including releasing some airport slots, but the Commission “considers this to be insufficient.”
The Commission has “clearly indicated that an acquisition of Niki and its integration into the Eurowings Group would currently not be approved,” the airline said, and that “based on this assessment, a takeover of Niki by Eurowings is no longer being pursued.”
Niki’s website had a simple message on it saying the airline will cease flying as of December 14th.
Niki said several airlines are looking at solutions to bring passengers back to Germany, Austria and Switzerland from foreign destinations.
Lufthansa said it will go ahead with its plans to acquire the parts of Air Berlin already agreed with its administrators, excluding Niki. The LG Walter acquisition is still being considered by the European Commission, but Lufthansa said it is willing to “give up numerous slots in order to obtain merger clearance.”
On Tuesday easyJet received European Commission approval for its takeover of parts of Air Berlin, including aircraft and landing slots at Berlin’s Tegel Airport. easyJet said it will employ about 1,000 ex-Air Berlin crew members to operate its new flights from Tegel.