Niki was acquired by Air Berlin in 2011. | Archive

Austrian airline Niki, which has ceased operations leaving thousands of European passengers stranded, most of them here in Majorca, is being helped in flying its clients home. Airlines including Condor, Eurowings, Lufthansa, Austrian Airlines, Swiss and TUIfly, are organising repatriation flights from various destinations back to Germany, Austria and Switzerland until 31 December.

Founded by former F1 racing champion, Niki Lauda, Niki was Austria’s second largest airline. He sold it in 2011 to Air Berlin, which went bankrupt earlier this year after its biggest shareholder, Etihad Airways, withdrew financial support.

Lauda has shown interest in buying back the airline after it filed for insolvency. Niki had been in talks with Lufthansa over a possible takeover but the deal fell through earlier this week following competition concerns by the European Commission.

Austria’s transport minister warned that as many as 10,000 passengers could be affected by the airline’s failure. Most of the stranded customers are in Majorca.

A message on its website advised those who have booked through a tour operator to contact that operator. Anyone who had booked direct were told about the repatriation plans. The online message also thanked customers for their loyalty over the years.