By Staff writer
Niki Lauda-owned Austrian airline 'open for anything' on cooperation pact with Dubai carrier
Austrian airline Niki and Dubai-based Emirates are in talks about a cooperation pact, the magazine News reported on Thursday, citing executives from the two carriers.
An accord would give Emirates a regional partner to handle passengers arriving in Vienna from Dubai.
"I am open for anything when it comes to cooperation agreements, with Emirates as well," the magazine quoted Niki founder and former race car driver Niki Lauda as saying.
"We could do some things for Emirates," it quoted Niki chief executive Otmar Lenz as saying. "The more flights we offer from Vienna, the more ideal the connections are to and from Dubai."
The magazine reported that Martin Gross, the head of Emirates in Austria, said he saw Niki as a potential partner.
"Although Vienna is a final destination and we have no partner companies here at the moment, in theory we could fill an Airbus A380 daily," he said of the route from Dubai.
Lauder in 2007 lent his name to a now-stalled real estate project in Dubai, in a deal with German developer ACI. The celebrity branded towers, including Michael Schumacher Business Avenue, Boris Becker Business Tower and Niki Lauda Twin Towers, were due to be built in the emirate's Business Bay district.
Construction on all three towers stopped in 2009.
In September, ACI Real Estate filed for bankruptcy on four of its seven property funds. Payments were due in March last year but did not materialise.
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Now Emirates tries to put pressure on Lufthansa through the back door using the small Niki Airline? Niki likely wants compensation for the ACI deals... What a mess.
Mr. Lauda has always been a big critic of Austrian Airlines which now belongs to Lufthansa.
Certainly he is interested in a deal with Emirates.