Not a happy ending: The Ryanair subsidiary closes its largest base. Despite leaving Vienna, Lauda continues in Düsseldorf, Palma and Stuttgart.
Niki Lauda is a national hero in Austria. One of his last actions as an entrepreneur was the sale of the Laudamotion, which originated from Niki, to Ryanair. Since then, the Irish have consistently converted the airline into a low-cost airline. In Vienna it was to become the number one.
As Lauda, the airline still carries the name of its founder into the world today. But it is precisely in the birthplace of the former Formula 1 star and self-made multimillionaire that it is soon no longer to be seen. And it was decided almost exactly one year after the anniversary of his death on May 20, 2019. It was decided to close the base in Vienna on May 29, Lauda announced on Friday (May 22).
300 jobs gone
According to the Lauda communication, this was “solely due to the failure of the Vida union to sign a new adapted collective agreement”. The majority of the employees had voted in favour of the new agreement. As a result of the closure, 300 jobs of pilots and flight attendants will be lost.
The management of Lauda recently demanded deep cuts in the negotiations about the future of the Vienna location. One of the proposed measures: Pilots are to accept a 15 percent wage cut, flight attendants a 5 percent cut. Many were also prepared to do so. But the Vida trade union did not sign the new collective agreement.
Vienna International Airport continues to fight
According to the Kronenzeitung, the union argued that it did not want to «be blackmailed». They would not sign a collective agreement «which, at 848 euros net starting salary for flight attendants, is clearly below the minimum security level in Vienna of 917 euros and even more clearly below the poverty risk threshold of 1259 euros».
Nevertheless, Vienna International Airport continues to fight. «Even if the fronts have hardened recently, a sense of responsibility is now required», explained Günther Ofner, member of the Management Board, with reference to Lauda. «A return to the negotiating table is the order of the day.» Ryanair has already announced that it will send other subsidiaries, such as Malta Air or the Polish airline Buzz, to Vienna and receive the offer.
Not affected by the closure are the other bases of Lauda. The low-cost airline continues to operate in Düsseldorf, Palma and Stuttgart. However, the planned new base in Zadar, Croatia, will not be opened. In Vienna, on the other hand, it is time to say goodbye.