Laudamotion says it is in talks with “more than 50 airports”, as Ryanair expands its shareholding to 100%.
Austrian low-fare airline Laudamotion confirms that Ryanair completed the purchase of a 100% shareholding in Laudamotion GmbH in late December. It is now a 100% subsidiary of Ryanair Holdings Plc.
With Ryanair’s support, it is announcing a series of growth initiatives including increasing the fleet of Lauda-branded planes to 25 in summer 2019, from 19 aircraft last summer.
The former Formula One racing champ Niki Lauda, who founded Laudamotion last year after buying the assets of the failed carrier Niki, has quickly given Ryanair the option of taking full control.
Lauda has signed LOI agreements with a number of lessors, which will increase its summer 2020 fleet to 30 Airbus aircraft. That will allow it to boost traffic from 4 million passengers in its first year to 6 million in year two ending in March 2020 and to 7.5 million in FY March 2021.
Bases to grow
Laudamotion will operate from four bases this summer as it grows in Vienna from four to eight aircraft, seven planes in Dusseldorf, three in Stuttgart and two in Palma.
In winter 2019, the Vienna base will increase further to 11 aircraft, making Laudamotion Vienna’s number-two airline, “just behind Austrian Airlines”, it says.
Details of up to 20 new routes from Vienna, Stuttgart, Dusseldorf and Palma will be announced in the next month or two, the carrier promises.
“With the backing of Ryanair, Laudamotion is set to grow strongly over the next three years,” said Andreas Gruber, Laudamotion’s chief executive, speaking in Vienna.
“We will release details of up to 20 new routes for winter 2019 once we have completed our airport and handling negotiations by the end of March.”
Laudamotion will also hire hundreds of pilots to facilitate the growth.
“We are currently negotiating new routes and handling agreements with more than 50 new airports, all of whom want to share in Laudamotion’s exciting growth plans for the coming years,” said Colin Casey, deputy chief executive of Laudamotion.
“As other airlines falter, close bases or put themselves up for sale – as in the case of Germania recently – we are inundated with applications from pilots and cabin crew.”
He added: “In winter 2019 we hope to announce at least one new base, which will be outside of Austria and Germany, and there are a number of new airports both in central and western Europe who are pitching to win this business.”