Austrian startup LaudaMotion and German leisure carrier Condor will end their cooperation agreement by the end of April, both carriers confirmed April 9.

On Feb. 16, German leisure carrier Condor had agreed to market selected LaudaMotion flights from Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, Stuttgart (Germany) and Basel (Switzerland) to Palma de Mallorca, Ibiza and Malaga (Spain), with more destinations to follow. 

However, at the end of March LaudaMotion founder Niki Lauda agreed to sell a 24.9% stake to Irish LCC Ryanair, with the option of taking the share up to 75% following regulatory approvals. Ryanair is investing close to €100 million ($123 million) into the equity as well as startup support.

“The two business models became too different; the Ryanair investment has changed the fundamentals completely,” a source close to LaudaMotion management told ATW.

Thomas Cook Group chief airline officer Christoph Debus said Condor will continue the sales cooperation until the end of April.

LaudaMotion was created using assets acquired from Austrian carrier NIKI, which Lauda also founded. NIKI became a 100% subsidiary of airberlin in 2011, but ceased operations in December after airberlin went into bankruptcy in October. Lufthansa had wanted to acquire NIKI, but was blocked by European competition authorities.

To help with a rapid resumption of flight operations, Lauda at the time agreed for Condor to provide administrative, operational and IT support. Flight operations will be transferred to LaudaMotion within weeks.

“It is logical that we establish now our own flight operations, which is possible and no problem at all to do so. Meanwhile, more and more aircraft from Lufthansa are joining our fleet,” Lauda told ATW in Vienna. He said the Condor partnership enabled the carrier to build up operations in a short time.

LaudaMotion flights can now be booked via Ryanair. “Our cooperation with Ryanair is working very well,” Lauda said.

Lufthansa LCC subsidiary Eurowings MD Oliver Wagner said in an April 11 telephone conference that the carrier will continue to wet-lease four Airbus A320s from LaudaMotion until the end of May. It is unclear if the agreement will be extended and is currently subject of negotiations.

Kurt Hofmann, hofmann.aviation@netway.at