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Trade unionist says several parties interested in insolvent airline Niki

Former motor racing driver and company founder Niki Lauda, background, has already said he is interested in buying back the airline. (Reuters)
BERLIN: At least three parties are interested in taking over the Niki subsidiary of collapsed airline Air Berlin, an Austrian trade unionist told broadcaster ORF on Thursday.
After Lufthansa’s planned acquisition of Niki fell through and no other buyer could be found at short notice, the unit filed a petition to open insolvency proceedings with a court in Berlin-Charlottenburg late on Wednesday.
Former motor racing driver and company founder Niki Lauda has already said he is interested in buying back the airline. According to the union’s Wolfgang Katzian other potential investors were in touch on Wednesday as well.
“I know that due to the new situation there are three to four interested parties,” he told ORF.
The collapse of Niki could threaten 1,000 jobs, and render 800,000 airline tickets worthless.
Austria’s transport ministry estimated that up to 10,000 Niki passengers could be stranded in the next two weeks and a spokesman one option for bringing them back was to charter planes.
“The end of Niki is a national disaster,” Niki’s Managing Director Oliver Lackmann said, according to Austrian daily Standard on Thursday.

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