Niki to stop flying after Lufthansa drops bid

Austria’s low-cost airline Niki is ceasing flight operations immediately after German carrier Lufthansa withdrew its takeover offer for the carrier and its 21 aircraft. A statement on Niki’s website said flight operations “will cease as of December 14.” Passengers who had booked their flight with a tour operator should contact the operator directly, Niki wrote on its website. Earlier in the day, Niki applied with a court in Berlin to open insolvency proceedings. The end of Niki is a national disaster for Austria, airline executive Oliver Lackmann said. Approximately 1,000 employees are expected to lose their jobs. Niki airline is part of Air Berlin which went bankrupt in August after losing a cash lifeline from its biggest shareholder, UAE-based Etihad Airways. European Commission said last week it had “deep competition concerns” about Lufthansa’s plan to buy out 81 aircraft from Air Berlin’s 140-strong fleet plus Niki for €210 million ($250 million).