Niki (airline)

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Niki
Niki (airline) logo.svg
IATA ICAO Callsign
HG NLY FLYNIKI
Founded 2003
Ceased operations 14 December 2017
Fleet size 30
Destinations 36
Company slogan The Passenger Comes First
Headquarters Schwechat, Austria
Key people Oliver Lackmann, CEO
Employees ~836
Website flyniki.com

Niki (also styled as NIKI or flyNiki, legally NIKI Luftfahrt GmbH) was[1] an Austrian low-cost airline headquartered in Office Park I at Vienna International Airport in Schwechat.[2][3] It operated scheduled and charter services to European and North African leisure destinations from Vienna, Salzburg, Graz and Innsbruck and also started services from several German airports in March 2017.

Niki has had a variety of owners, including two stints of ownership under Niki Lauda.

History[edit]

Early years[edit]

Niki Airbus A321-200 wearing the airline's first livery

In 2003 Niki Lauda, ex-Grand Prix driver and founder of Lauda Air, acquired the former Aero Lloyd Austria operation. The airline started operations on 28 November 2003.

Although Niki was often described as "low-cost", it provided full service, such as free refreshments, newspapers and baggage. It offered a sandwich or a cold snack, soft drinks, tea and coffee on all short-haul flights as well as on charter routes to Greece, Tunisia and Turkey. On mid-haul charter flights to the Canary Islands and Egypt all passengers are offered a warm snack. Also, gourmet menus from Demel can be ordered before the flight. There was also a buy on board service.[4]

Development as an Air Berlin subsidiary[edit]

Niki Airbus A321-200 in the livery used until 2012

On 9 January 2004, Niki announced cooperation with Air Berlin. In late 2011, Niki merged completely with Air Berlin, sharing operations, booking systems and aircraft. On 20 March 2012, Niki became an "affiliate member" of Oneworld as a subsidiary company of Air Berlin.[5] Since late 2012, Niki successively repainted their aircraft in the Air Berlin paint scheme, using the Niki logo only at the nose. The new paint scheme was applied during regular C checks.

In October 2014, Niki announced the cancellation of their flights from Vienna to Copenhagen, Moscow and Frankfurt due to decreasing demand. In exchange, new leisure routes will be started by summer 2015.[6] Also in spring 2015, Niki started to replace its fleet of Embraer 190s with Airbus A319-100s from its parent, Air Berlin, with the used Embraers being transferred to Helvetic Airways.[7]

Sale to Etihad Airways[edit]

On 5 December 2016, parent company Air Berlin announced plans to sell its entire 49 percent stake in Niki to its own minority owner Etihad Airways. Etihad Airways itself would merge Niki into a new joint-venture to be created with the German leisure carrier TUIfly.[8][9] At the same time, Niki and Air Berlin would exchange several aircraft to harmonize each fleet.[8] It had also been announced that Niki would take over several routes to southern European, north African and Turkish leisure destinations from Air Berlin as part of the new joint-venture.[9] However, the sale never happened.

Also in December 2016, Niki announced the termination of its only medium-haul route, from Vienna to Abu Dhabi, Etihad's home base, by March 2017.[10] Niki later also announced it plans to terminate all of its 12 routes from Vienna to non-leisure destinations such as Milan or Zürich by 30 January 2017.[11][12] In January 2017, it was also announced that Niki will cease all operations to and from Linz Airport at short notice due to the restructuring measures. The announcement was made after the 2017 schedule had already been made available for booking.[13] For the 2017 season, Niki reduced the number of flights from Austria to 56 flights a week to 20 destinations, compared to 34 destinations in 2016.[14]

Shortly after, it was announced that Niki would take over several Air Berlin leisure routes to and from Germany.[15] It also has been announced that Niki's fleet will be switched over to Airbus A321s only while the smaller A319s and A320s are handed to Air Berlin.[8] It has also been announced that TUI fly Deutschland will additionally start to operate 15 Boeing 737s currently wet-leased to Air Berlin for Niki.[16]

Failed takeover by Lufthansa and IAG[edit]

On 17 August 2017, Niki's parent Air Berlin announced it was filing for bankruptcy but that all operations would continue until further notice. On 9 October 2017, Air Berlin announced to its staff that it would cease all remaining operations under its own brand name, but that Niki flights would continue after this date.

On 12 October 2017, it was announced that German Lufthansa would purchase some of the assets from Air Berlin which included Niki and operations would continue and jobs were to be saved.[17] On 24 October 2017, it was announced that Niki was to be absorbed into Lufthansa's low-cost subsidiary Eurowings Europe.[18] It was announced that Lufthansa plans to cease the Niki brand by the end of 2017 all together.[19]

However, on 13 December 2017, Lufthansa pulled out of the agreement due to signs from the European Commission that the merger would not be approved.[20] Niki declared bankruptcy and ceased all operations on 14 December 2017.[1] The day after, former owner Niki Lauda expressed interest in repurchasing the airline named after him.[21]

On 29 December 2017, it was announced that International Airlines Group (IAG), parent company of British Airways, Iberia, Aer Lingus and Vueling, would acquire for 36.5 million euros major parts of Niki including 15 Airbus A321 aircraft and traffic rights in Düsseldorf, Munich, Vienna, Zürich and Palma de Mallorca.[22] IAG planned to establish a new Austrian subsidiary of Spanish low-cost carrier Vueling as a replacement for Niki.[22] For this purpose, a new subsidiary of Vueling in Austria was to be founded and act independently. Of the approx. 1000 Niki employees, 740 were to be retained. On January 8 2018, a Berlin administrative court ruled that only an Austrian court had the jurisdiction to handle the insolvency of Niki.[23]

Subsequent takeovers[edit]

On January 23 2018, the Austrian Press Agency announced that Niki Lauda's company Laudamotion had beaten IAG in the bid for Niki, and would take over the company.[24] Less than two months later, Ryanair agreed to purchase a majority stake in Laudamotion,[25] initially acquiring almost 25 percent for less than 50 million euros ($61.7 million) with the intent to purchase another 50 percent at a later date. The deal is pending approval by the European Union.[26]

Destinations[edit]

Niki operated scheduled services to leisure destinations mainly in Spain, Portugal and North Africa from its home base in Vienna as well as several more airports throughout Austria, Germany and Switzerland.[27]

Codeshare agreements[edit]

Niki maintained codeshares with the following airlines:[28]

Fleet[edit]

Niki Airbus A320-200 in the latest livery used from 2012 until 2017

Prior to the shutdown in December 2017, the fleet of Niki consisted of the following aircraft:[29]

Niki fleet
Aircraft In Service Orders Passengers Notes
C Y Total
Airbus A320-200 2 3[29] 180 180
Airbus A321-200 15 210 210
212 212
Boeing 737-700 5 144 144 were operated by TUI fly Deutschland[29][16]
Boeing 737-800 8 186 186 were operated by TUI fly Deutschland[29][16]
Total 30 3

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b austrianaviation.net - "Grounding for Niki" (German) 13 December 2017
  2. ^ "Contact form." Niki. Retrieved on 25 January 2011. "NIKI Luftfahrt GmbH Office Park I, Top B03 A-1300 Wien"
  3. ^ "Information about the city plan." City of Schwechat. Retrieved on 5 September 2009.
  4. ^ "book cheap flights online - flyniki". flyniki.com. Retrieved 5 November 2015. 
  5. ^ "günstige Flüge suchen, billigste Flüge buchen - flyniki". flyniki.com. Retrieved 5 November 2015. 
  6. ^ "Niki: Air Berlin bestätigt Streckenstreichungen". austrianaviation.net. Retrieved 5 November 2015. 
  7. ^ "A319 bekommen Niki-Beklebung". austrianaviation.net. Retrieved 5 November 2015. 
  8. ^ a b c aero.de - "Air Berlin separates Niki and A321-fleet" (German) 5 December 2016
  9. ^ a b austrianaviation.net - "Finalized: Air Berlin sells Niki to Etihad" (German) 5 December 2016
  10. ^ routesonline.com - NIKI ends Abu Dhabi service in March 2017 26 December 2016
  11. ^ "Niki stellt City-Flüge mit Ende Jänner ein - Austrian Aviation Net". Retrieved 21 February 2017. 
  12. ^ "Abbau in Österreich: Niki stellt Städteflüge Ende Januar ein - aeroTELEGRAPH". 7 January 2017. Retrieved 21 February 2017. 
  13. ^ Nachrichten, Oberösterreichische. "Fly Niki hebt auch als Ferienflieger weniger oft ab". Retrieved 21 February 2017. 
  14. ^ aero.de - "Niki also reduces leisure offers" (German) 10 January 2017
  15. ^ "Air Berlin and Niki announce new restructured network". Retrieved 21 February 2017. 
  16. ^ a b c http://www.austrianaviation.net/detail/niki-flottet-15-boeing-737-ein/
  17. ^ Air Berlin Seals Asset With Lufthansa
  18. ^ Luftnasa to Ditch Niki Brand
  19. ^ austrianaviation.net - "Niki to be history by year's end" (German) 25 October 2017
  20. ^ "Übernahme gescheitert: Lufthansa verzichtet auf Niki" (in German). Tagesschau. 13 December 2017. Archived from the original on 13 December 2017. Retrieved 13 December 2017. 
  21. ^ "Lauda will Niki übernehmen" (in German). Spiegel Online. 15 December 2017. Retrieved 15 December 2017. 
  22. ^ a b ch-aviation.com - IAG acquires Niki in €36.5mn deal 29 December 2017
  23. ^ "Takeover of Niki airline by British Airways parent hits snag". USA Today. Retrieved 23 January 2018. 
  24. ^ "Report: Ex-Formula 1 star Lauda buys back airline he founded". The News & Observer. Retrieved 23 January 2018. 
  25. ^ "Ryanair to buy Niki Lauda airline in challenge to Lufthansa". 20 March 2018. Retrieved 20 March 2018. 
  26. ^ "Ryanair Buys Niki Lauda Airline in Rare Foray Into Dealmaking". Bloomberg.com. 2018-03-20. Retrieved 2018-03-20. 
  27. ^ flyniki.com - Flightplan retrieved 15 November 2017
  28. ^ "Profile on NIKI". CAPA. Centre for Aviation. Archived from the original on 2016-11-01. Retrieved 2016-11-01. 
  29. ^ a b c d planespotters.net - Niki Fleet Details and History retrieved 15 November 2017

External links[edit]

Media related to Niki at Wikimedia Commons

Coordinates: 48°07′26″N 16°33′45″E / 48.1238°N 16.5624°E / 48.1238; 16.5624