Lufthansa Takes Over Austrian Airlines

Lufthansa Airlines last year signed an agreement to acquire a 41.6% stake in loss making Austrian Airlines (AUA) and last week the European Commission granted a cautious approval for the deal.   Austria had to make big concessions to secure the agreement including a €500 million (Dh 2,617m) payment.  Niki Lauda, owner of budget carrier Niki Airline and former Formula 1 world champion describe it as “The biggest catastrophe [for Austria] since the Second World War”. 

Finance Minister Josef Proell said the agreement is a “great success” following the European Commissions approval but the Austrian Chanceller Werner Freeman said it was an emergency solution.  He said he was relieved the deal went through but “When the taxpayer has to pay €500m that’s no success story.”  Mr. Lauda is satisfied with his part of the deal because his budget airline will now have seven new take off and landing slots in Germany, allowing him to expand next year.

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