Niki Lauda aiming to take to the skies again?

Niki Lauda (AUT) Mercedes Non-Executive Chairman
© XPB 

Niki Lauda looks to be on the verge of relaunching his career in the aviation business.

The former Formula 1 world champion originally set up Lauda Air in 1979 after retiring from the sport. He sold that business to Austrian Airlines in 2000.

In 2003 he created budget airline Niki after buying up the assets of failed carrier Aero Lloyd Austria.

He subsequently decided to quit the airline business in 2013 in order to focus on his duties as non-executive chairman at Mercedes.

But after the Niki airline was placed in administration, Lauda confirmed that he would be making a bid to reclaim it.

“I will, of course, make an offer for Niki by January 19,” Lauda told Germany’s Handelsblatt business daily this weekend.

That's the new deadline for bids set by the court in the Austrian town of Korneuburg, where Niki's fate is being decided.

Lauda was pleased that the legal process had been moved to his native country. Administrators in Germany had provisionally agreed to sell Niki to British Airways owner IAG.

"The insolvency process is finally there where it belongs, in Austria," he told Reuters. "I regret that so much time was wasted with the detour through Germany."

The 68-year-old had previously been mooted as a possible buyer of the business as part of the breakup of its failed parent Air Berlin.

That bid would have been with a number of unspecified business partners. However, his interest in Niki will be as a sole bidder.

Lauda did not specify how much he was prepared to bid in order to get control of Niki. He would also not be drawn on whether taking back the business might mean he spends less time on Formula 1.

Lauda recently quit his role as F1 pundit for German broadcaster RTL. He's also spoken of retiring after 2020.

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