RyanAir has purchased the remaining 25% of LaudaMotion from its owner Niki Lauda. The airline was salvaged from the collapse of AirBerlin and in IAG’s eyes effectively stolen from its own takeover bid by a judicial review in a German Court. IAG were so irritated by it they set up a new branch of low cost carrier LEVEL at Vienna to compete.
That lead to original founder of the airlines NIKI, Fly Niki and before that LaudaAir, Niki Lauda, a former F1 world champion driver, to obtain ownership. he then sold a 25% stake to RyanAir, who took that to 75%, and they’ve now bought up the remainder.
RyanAir also laid out expansion plans for its Austrian subsidiary. In a press release, the airline said it’s has signed agreements ‘with a number of lessors’ for additional Airbus aircraft. LaudaMotion plans to create up to 400 new jobs and operate 25 aircraft in Summer 2019 and 30 in Summer 2020. The airline said this expansion will allow LaudaMotion to increase its traffic to 7.5 million passengers in the financial year 2021.
The Austrian low-cost carrier will operate four bases in summer 2019; Vienna, Dusseldorf, Stuttgart and Palma de Mallorca. It will announce up to 20 new routes by the end of March.
Laudamotion is in the process of replacing a number of Airbus A320 family aircraft currently leased from Lufthansa Group, by A320s from other lessors. In October, the airline had signed leasing agreements for 18 Airbus A320. LaudaMotion is an all-Airbus fleet, with the exception for nnow that some LaudaMotion flights are temporarily operated by Ryanair Boeing 737-800s, until the new jets arrive.
RyanAir was at pains to point out that its plans are to maintain LaudaMotion as an Airbus-only operator and the airline is in negotiations for a complete fleet renewal with Airbus.
LaudaMotion currently operates 7 A320’s and 4 A321’s many of which were leased from Lufthansa in a temporary and controversial arrangement that saw Lufthansa on the verge of seizing the aircraft back last year. the matter was resolved before a court ruled on its legality.
LaudaMotion faces huge competition, with easyJet basing 130 A320’s in Vienna, and LEVEL in direct competition. Without RyanAir’s huge resources, it couldn’t possible compete. Its expected to make a loss in 2019 and 202, with RyanAir happy to carry it provided profits begin to materialise in 2021.