NIKI files for bankruptcy, ends operations

AirBerlin’s Austrian subsidiary NIKI filed for bankruptcy yesterday after a tumultuous day.

Mid-morning Lufthansa informed the company that it was withdrawing its offer to take over the company.

Minutes earlier the EU Competition Commission had informed Lufthansa that it was almost 100% sure it would block the airlines take over of NIKI. The EU considered it would give Lufthansa not only dominance of Austrian air travel (it owns Austrian Airlines and AirBerlin Austrian regional subsidiary LGW, plus Austrian based Eurowings), but affect in a disproportionate way the European market in general.

NIKI had no choice at that point, as its finances were contingent on the buyout completing. It called in bankruptcy administrators.

There are potential buyers in the wings, including original founder Niki Lauda.