Ryanair plans to buy stake at new Austrian leisure carrier Laudamotion

Niki Lauda aims to turn a profit from next year with Laudamotion, the airline he has rebranded after buying it back from insolvent Air Berli. (Reuters)
Updated 21 March 2018
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Ryanair plans to buy stake at new Austrian leisure carrier Laudamotion

BERLIN: Ryanair plans to buy a stake in new Austrian leisure carrier Laudamotion, helping former motor racing champion Niki Lauda to get the airline up and running and giving the Irish carrier a bigger presence in Germany and Austria.
Ryanair has agreed to buy an initial 24.9 percent stake in Laudamotion, formed out of insolvent carrier Niki which was part of Air Berlin, and plans for that to rise to 75 percent “as soon as possible,” subject to EU approval.
The Irish budget carrier will invest less than €50 million, though will provide an additional €50 million in funding for start-up and operating costs in the first year.
“This Laudamotion partnership is good news for Austrian and German consumers/visitors who can now look forward to real competition, more choice and lower fares,” Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary said in a statement.
Niki, which flies to tourist destinations from Germany and Austria using A320 planes, was seen as the most attractive part of insolvent Air Berlin.
Germany’s largest carrier Lufthansa dropped plans to buy Niki in December over competition concerns.
British Airways parent IAG then won a bidding round, before that decision was canceled over legal action. Lauda eventually won a new bidding process to buy back the airline he founded.


Calm in Hodeidah as observers move in to monitor cease-fire

Sporadic clashes continued until about 3 a.m. on Tuesday, but residents said there was calm after that. (AFP)
Updated 19 December 2018
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Calm in Hodeidah as observers move in to monitor cease-fire

  • “Both parties said publicly they are abiding by the cease-fire,” a UN official said
  • The truce in Hodeidah officially began at midnight on Monday

JEDDAH: Truce monitoring observers will be deployed in the Red Sea port city of Hodeidah on Wednesday as the first 24 hours of a UN-brokered cease-fire passed without incident.

The Redeployment Coordination Committee comprises members of the Yemeni government supported by the Saudi-led coalition, and Houthi militias backed by Iran, and is overseen by the UN. 

The head of the committee will report to the UN Security Council every week.

Deployment of the observers is the latest stage in a peace deal reached after talks last week in Sweden. Both sides in the conflict agreed to a cease-fire in Hodeidah and the withdrawal of their forces within 21 days.

“Both parties said publicly they are abiding by the cease-fire,” a UN official said on Tuesday.

Local authorities and police will run the city and its three port facilities under UN supervision, and the two sides are barred from bringing in reinforcements.

UN envoy Martin Griffith said the committee was expected to start its work swiftly “to translate the momentum built up in Sweden into achievements on the ground.”

The truce in Hodeidah officially began at midnight on Monday. Sporadic clashes continued until about 3 a.m. on Tuesday, but residents said there was calm after that. 

“We are hopeful that things will go back to the way they were and that there will be no aggression, no airstrikes and lasting security,” said one, Amani Mohammed.

Another resident, Mohammed Al-Saikel, said he was optimistic the cease-fire would pave the way for a broader truce. “We are hopeful about this cease-fire in Hodeidah and one for Yemen in general,” he said. “We will reach out in peace to whoever does the same.”

The UN Security Council is considering a draft resolution that asks Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to submit proposals by the end of the month on how to monitor the cease-fire.

The resolution, submitted by the UK, “calls on all parties to the conflict to take further steps to facilitate the unhindered flow of commercial and humanitarian supplies including food, fuel, medicine and other essential imports and humanitarian personnel into and across the country.”