Mateusz Maszczynski is a serving international flight attendant with experience…
When Lufthansa said it was being forced to withdraw its bid for Austrian leisure carrier, Niki on 13th December the airline immediately fell into administration. Around 10,000 of the airline’s passengers were stranded in chaotic scenes across Europe as Niki’s 21 Airbus aircraft were grounded and its roughly 900 staff told they would be made redundant.
Now it looks like administrators overseeing the sale of the insolvent Niki have managed to secure payment of monthly wages for the whole of December for its 700 Austrian staff. It’s still not known whether the airline’s German-based staff who number around 200 will receive December’s pay packet as well.
According to Reuters, Lucas Floether, the specialist administrators are hoping to secure a deal with a new investor within days. It’s widely believed, IAG, the European aviation group which owns British Airways, Iberia, Aer Lingus and Spanish LCC, Vueling is at the forefront of the talks.
Other interested parties include Niki Lauda, the Austrian former motor racing champion who founded the airline in 2003 before selling it onto airberlin. German logistics firm Zeitfracht is also said to be interested in Niki and so too is Thomas Cook.
The successful bidder will be expected to take on all of Niki’s concerns including staff wages going into January 2018.
Niki’s demise after the fall of airberlin
Niki’s future first looked uncertain when the airline’s owner, airberlin filed for insolvency earlier this year. After a tough bidding war, Lufthansa secured a deal to buy Niki’s assets as part of a plan to expand its low-cost Eurowings brand. Lufthansa said it intended to hire many ex-airberlin and Niki cabin crew for its operations.
That deal, however, fell through on concerns raised by the EU Commission over Lufthansa’s likely monopoly in Germany and Austria. Instead, Lufthansa was allowed to buy the assets of another airberlin subsidiary, LGW after making “extensive concessions.”
All of LGW’s staff have been transferred to Eurowings and will retain their old contracts of employment. The smooth transition of staff followed a deal with trade unions to secure collective bargaining agreements with Eurowings.
Eurowings on hiring spree but facing antitrust headwinds
In the last few months, Eurowings is believed to have hired around 500 new staff – many of whom are cabin crew. Thorsten Dirks, the chief executive of Eurowings said he was “pleased” his airline could “offer our new employees promising prospects within Europe’s fastest-growing airline.”
However, Eurowings has been forced to cut at least 300 flights from its winters schedule on continuing monopoly concern by European antitrust regulators. The airline said the axed flights accounted for less than 1% of its normal schedule although admitted the bulk of the cancelled flights would be on domestic German routes.
Earlier, this month the UK’s easyJet said it had already recruited 100 ex-airberlin staff. A further 300 were in the process of signing contracts and 500 more are going through easyJet’s recruitment process.
Mateusz Maszczynski is a serving international flight attendant with experience at a major Middle East and European airline. Mateusz is passionate about the aviation industry and helping aspiring flight attendants achieve their dreams. Cabin crew recruitment can be tough, ultra-competitive and just a little bit confusing - Mateusz has been there and done that. He's got the low down on what really works.