Irish budget carrier Ryanair has confirmed it is in contact with administrators for the former Air Belin owned NIKI with a view to purchasing NIKI assets.
NIKI entered administration yesterday when Lufthansa pulled out of a deal to buy the subsidiary as regulators were concerned about a monopoly.
Ryanair is looking to pick up assets from the Vienna based airline which could include operational slots and routes from Vienna as well as aircraft although, under Austrian regulations, slots are normally returned to a pool when an airline ceases trading.
NIKI’s current fleet includes 8x Boeing 737-800 (the same type as Ryanair currently operate), 5x Boeing 737-700 along with 15 Airbus A321 and 2 Airbus A320.
Founded in 2003 by former Formula 1 world champion Niki Lauda, the airline operated a low-cost but full-service operation from Vienna on both scheduled and charter routes. The airline merged with Air Berling in 2011.
As well as Ryanair, Niki Lauda and Thomas Cook have expressed an interest in buying the airline or its assets.