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Niki’s Resurrection Could Have a Big Problem: Former Staff Have Already Moved On

Niki’s Resurrection Could Have a Big Problem: Former Staff Have Already Moved On

Niki's Resurrection Could Have a Big Problem: Former Staff Have Already Moved On

There’s a very interesting problem facing Niki Lauda and his company Laudamotion in the planned takeover of his namesake airline, Niki.  Yesterday, the former F1 Champion came out victorious in his bid to acquire the insolvent airline after proceedings were moved from Germany to Austria.  But will Lauda have enough staff to get the airline back up and running?

At a staff meeting held in the Austrian capital, Vienna today, Lauda reportedly reiterated his promise that all former staff would be offered a new job at the airline.  But many of those staff may already have moved on.

Since the airline went into bankruptcy in December, most of its former pilots and cabin crew have applied for jobs with big name airlines like Eurowings and Austrian Airways.  Many are in the final stages of the recruitment process and are simply waiting for formal start dates.

The question is – will they be willing to give up the security of job offers at well backed and financially stable airlines for what is effectively a small start-up?  According to Reuters, Stefan Tankovits, a works council chief claimed around 90% of Niki’s pilots are “currently in an application process with other airlines.”

Tankovits said people were “sceptical” about the chance of Lauda making a success of the new airline.

Yet the airline’s administrators said Lauda was the “best bidder” when they announced the deal yesterday.  He had faced stiff competition from IAG – One of the largest airline groups in the world and also partly owned and backed by Qatar Airways.

Lauda has managed to acquire 15 aircraft for his new operation and has been granted about 1,700 slots for use at Austrian airports.  Tankovits estimates, around 180 pilots will be needed to operate those planes when the airline starts flying again in late March.

Whether staff can be convinced to go back to work at Niki remains to be seen.  Lauda says he’ll offer them broadly similar terms and conditions as before but there are reports many staff have been offered better pay at airlines that also enjoy collective labour agreements.

Lauda may well have his work cut out for him on this one.

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