Niki Austrian airline failure strands many passengers

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A Niki jet on the tarmac in Vienna

The Austrian airline Niki has grounded its planes, stranding thousands of passengers, after filing for insolvency protection.

Niki has about 20 planes serving resorts in southern Europe and north Africa.

Niki was founded by Niki Lauda, the Austrian ex-F1 racing champion, but he sold it to Air Berlin in 2011.

Austria’s Der Standard daily says about 5,000 Niki passengers are stuck abroad and need to be brought back to Austria.

Most of the stranded passengers are in Majorca. Austrian authorities are now trying to get them transferred to other flights.

On Wednesday the German carrier Lufthansa scrapped plans to buy Niki.

According to Der Standard, about 40,000 people are booked to fly home on Niki during the next two weeks.

The airline was planning to operate at least 145 flights per week during the winter holiday season, from Austria, Switzerland and Germany.

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