Niki, a subsidiary of Air Berlin founded by Niki Lauda, in the viewfinder of Lufthansa

Among the assets of Air Berlin sought-after by Lufthansa figure Niki, the addition, austrian subsidiary of Air Berlin, which in the framework of the restructuring of the latter launched before its bankruptcy filing on August 15, flies to tourist destinations of the group in Spain and Greece. According to Reuters, which cites a source close to the discussions, Lufthansa has submitted a letter of interest to Niki and other assets of Air Berlin. This subsidiary based in Austria was founded in 2004 by former Formula One driver Niki Lauda, which had already established Lauda Air.

Battle of the connections to Spain with Ryanair

Analysts at Goodbody felt that a redemption of Niki would strengthen the position of Lufthansa in the face of Ryanair on these routes. The Lufthansa group, by integrating its subsidiary low-cost Eurowings, currently holds a market share of about 22.4 per cent on the bonds of Germany, Spain, against 16.4% for Ryanair.

A redemption of the entire Air Berlin Lufthansa is considered unlikely and would face veto by the competition authorities, because the two groups would control for example in Germany, approximately 95% of domestic flights.

According to sources, the Condor, the airline of Thomas Cook, Ryanair, EasyJet and TUI were among the parties interested in the assets of Air Berlin, the sale of which will be decided by a creditors ‘ committee, which met for the first time this Wednesday.

Air Berlin, which is in deficit for several years, filed for bankruptcy on August 15, after the decision of its major shareholder Etihad Airways to cease any financial support.
The German government then granted to the second German airline a bridge loan of 150 million euros, so that it can continue its activities for three months. Since the company is attracting the interest of potential buyers willing to purchase all or any part of its assets, including its slots for takeoff and landing at airports such as Düsseldorf in the most densely populated region of Germany.

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