File photo of a Niki Airbus A320-214 (OE-LEU) painted in the Niki/Air Berlin hybrid livery. Image courtesy of Ken Fielding.
When Germany's 2nd largest airline Air Berlin ceased operations in late October, I predicted that it wouldn't be long before its only remaining subsidiary, Niki (an Austrian low-cost airline founded by Niki Lauda) would either cease operations, or sold to another company, such as Lufthansa.
In August, Etihad withdrew financial support from an already-ailing Air Berlin. The German low-cost carrier barely managed to sustain itself for two months until it finally collapsed on October 28, 2017. From there, multiple airlines, including Lufthansa and EasyJet, have been bidding on Air Berlin's assets. Niki, Air Berlin's Austrian subsidiary, still continued operations despite Air Berlin's downfall, partly due to funding from Lufthansa, as they were originally planning to take over Niki. However, the European Commission did not approve of that deal, citing that there would be less competition (given the downfall of both Air Berlin and Monarch lately), and thus, Lufthansa also withdrew financial support as well. As such, Niki ended all operations yesterday, December 14, 2017. Here's the official statement on their website:
The flight operations of NIKI Luftfahrt GmbH under the IATA airline code HG were suspended on Thursday, 14th December 2017.
Passengers who booked their flight through a tour operator should contact their tour operator directly. The tour operator is responsible to accommodate these passengers.
For passengers who booked their flight directly with NIKI, several airlines have organised repatriation flights from overseas to Germany, Austria and Switzerland for the period until 31st December 2017. The following airlines are participating:
Condor: www.condor.com, tel. +49(0)180 6 767767
Eurowings: www.eurowings.com, tel. +49 (0)180 6 320 320
Germania: www.flygermania.com, tel. +49(0)30 610 818 000 from Germany, +41 43 508 3489 from Switzerland
Lufthansa, Austrian Airlines, Swiss: www.lufthansa.com, tel. +49 (0) 69 86 799 799
TUIfly: www.tuifly.com, tel. +49(0)180 6 000120
The airlines will inform you directly about the exact conditions of the repatriation.
For Information about the insolvency of NIKI Luftfahrt GmbH, please refer to the website here »
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We would like to thank you for your loyalty over the years.
The NIKI team
Unfortunately for Niki's employees, who managed to survive Air Berlin's demise, they were effectively jobless as of yesterday. Furthermore, a takeover of Niki's assets by one airline seems unlikely, given the European Commission's decision on Lufthansa's plan. In addition, thousands of passengers were stranded abroad, as there was no prior warning before Niki ceased operations for good. Thankfully, they are working with other airlines to bring those passengers home.
If you are a Niki passenger currently stranded abroad, I strongly suggest you follow this link, where you'll be able to find more information about airlines participating to help rescue other passengers like you. If you are a former Niki employee, I wish you the best of luck in finding another job in the future.