Through his company Lauda Co, Niki Lauda, former Formula 1 world champion has won the sales process to buy back the airline he founded in 2003. The Austrian creditors committee voted unanimously on the bid of Lauda Co.
Niki was often described as a low-cost airline but with a full service on board, on 9 January 2004, Niki announced cooperation with Air Berlin. Niki developed as an Air Berlin subsidiary from 2011 and was sold to Etihad Airways in 2016. However, on 13 December 2017, Lufthansa pulled out of the agreement due to signs from the European Commission that the merger would not be approved. Shortly after, Niki announced that all flights would be cancelled from 14 December 2017.
On 29 December 2017 International Airlines Group (IAG) announced that it had agreed to buy assets of the Austrian airline NIKI under the German insolvency process, subject to customary closing conditions.
On 12 January 2018 NIKI insolvency proceedings opened in Austria initiating a new sales process. IAG resubmitted its bid on 19 January 2018, but without success. In a short statement IAG is disappointed that “NIKI will not be able to develop and grow stronger as part of the Group”.