RyanAir has just been given EU approval for it’s effective staged take over of the former Niki brand of Air Berlin, recently won back by its original founder Niki Lauda. He soon realised he could never finance and run the airline so sold a first stake in it to RyanAir of 25.7%, which will rise to 75% in a years time.
In order to operate the airline 9 A320’s were leased from Lufthansa under an E.U. derogation order to balance competition after the fall of AirBerlin and Lufthansa taking up much of the slack.
The derogation order ended following the E.U. approval of RyanAir’s purchase of Laudamotion last week.
RyanAir – with whom Lufthansa has a less than friendly relationship, accused Lufthansa of demanding the A320’s back and terminating the leases without due cause.
Lufthansa is having none of it and claims that the cash strapped Laudamotion “repeatedly failed to make lease payments”. They terminated the leases and are taking the aircraft back.
RyanAir is claiming they’re doing it because of the E.U. approval of the take over – and to be fair it’s the last airline Lufthansa would have wanted owning Laudamotion, and Lufthansa admitted that Eurowings needs the aircraft. However Lufthansa is adamant Laudamotion didn’t pay its leases and that’s the only reason.
In turn RyanAir is accusing Lufthansa of not paying Laudamotion for flights it operated for them, which they deny. The suggestion being that by not doing so, Laudamotion didn’t have the money to pay the leases on the aircraft used to fly for Lufthansa, and Lufthansa allegedly held back the money to stop the leases being paid so they could get the aircraft back.