Lauda, legally Laudamotion GmbH (formerly Amira Air), is an Austrian low-cost airline based in the Concorde Business Park in Schwechat, Austria, near Vienna. It is a subsidiary of Ryanair Holdings, and a sister airline to Ryanair, Ryanair UK and Ryanair Sun. Former Formula 1 World Champion Niki Lauda had a minority stake in the airline which he sold to Ryanair in December 2018. In January 2018, the airline acquired Niki, an airline that previously had ties to Niki Lauda, which led to a refocus from business jet operations to scheduled services.
|Founded||2004 as Amira Air|
|Commenced operations||25 March 2018 as Laudamotion|
|Company slogan||The Lauda way to fly.|
|Key people||Andrea Czvitkovits (Director)|
The airline was founded in 2004 as Amira Air by investor Ronny Pecik as a provider of charter flights for executive travel, serving European and international destinations.
In 2018, Niki Lauda took over Amira Air and renamed the company Laudamotion. Up until February 2018, the airline operated chartered business flights with a fleet of business jets. This operation was moved to a new unit to make way for scheduled passenger flights.
On 23 January 2018, the creditors' committee of the insolvent airline Niki awarded Lauda Motion GmbH the contract for the takeover of the airline. It was announced that the Niki brand would be retired and all operations transferred to Laudamotion, which would operate 15 aircraft transferred from Niki and be ready to begin operations for the summer 2018 season.
On 16 February 2018, Condor signed an agreement with Laudamotion to take over sales and marketing of three Laudamotion planes, as well as operational functions. Initial destinations will include flights from Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, Stuttgart and Basel to Majorca, Ibiza and Málaga, which can be booked through the Condor website and travel agencies.
On 20 March 2018, Ryanair announced it would acquire 24.9% of LaudaMotion, to rise to 75%, subject to approval by EU authorities. The deal was reported to be worth an initial €50m plus €50m for first year start up and operating costs. The intention is to reach profitability by the third year of operations with a fleet of 30 aircraft. On 29 March 2018, the airline announced it would open seven bases in Germany in addition to the bases at Vienna and Zurich. However, in May 2018 Laudamotion announced it would not go ahead with proposed routes to and from Zurich Airport owing to unavailability of leased aircraft.
In April 2018, Condor announced it was ending its cooperation and sales agreement with Laudamotion earlier than planned. Condor stopped providing sales infrastructure and stopped selling Laudamotion flights at the end of April 2018. In the same months, Eurowings also announced it would not extend its short-lived cooperation with Laudamotion. The wetlease contract ended on 31 May 2018.
In August 2018, Ryanair announced that it had completed the purchase of 75% of the shareholding of the airline and that it planned to double the Airbus fleet from 9 to 18. Laudamotion is scheduled to receive 18 Airbus A320 aircraft by summer 2019, which will replace and expand its current fleet. In January 2019, Ryanair revealed that it completed the purchase of 100% of Laudamotion from NL Holdings in late December 2018. It also revealed further fleet expansion plans, with 25 aircraft by summer 2019 and 30 by summer 2020. Although Ryanair operates only Boeing aircraft, Laudamotion's fleet will remain exclusively Airbus. During a press-conference, Laudamotion announced plans to purchase at least 100 (50+50 options) Airbus A321neo for future expansions.
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