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Thousands of passengers affected by Niki airline’s grounding

December 14, 2017

FILE - In this Aug. 3, 2017 file photo an aircraft type Airbus A320-214 of the airline Niki starts at the airport of Dusseldorf, Germany. Niki filed insolvency on Wednesday, Dec. 13, 2017 and stopped all flight operations. (Haute-Christian Dittrich/dpa via AP)

BERLIN (AP) — Thousands of European travelers could be left stranded by the bankruptcy of Austrian budget carrier Niki.

The airline ceased flight operations Thursday. Hopes for a swift rescue of Niki, a division of bankrupt Air Berlin, were dashed Wednesday when Lufthansa dropped its bid for the airline following resistance from the European Commission.

Niki posted a notice on its website saying passengers should contact their tour operator if possible. It said several other airlines have offered to fly passengers back to Germany, Austria and Switzerland for a small fee if they booked directly through Niki.

Austria’s transport minister said up to 10,000 passengers could be affected by the bankruptcy over the coming two weeks.

The airline’s founder, ex-Formula 1 driver Niki Lauda, has expressed interest in buying back the company.

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