Europe's resurrected airlines: NIKI & Belair join VLM & Cyprus Airways in a rise from the ashes

Two recent announcements highlight the eternal optimism of some participants in the European airline sector.

On 23-Jan-2018 the administrators of NIKI announced that the Austrian airline would be sold to Laudamotion, a general aviation company belonging to the airline's founder, Niki Lauda. Just over a week before, on 15-Jan-2018, SBC, a Duesseldorf-based investment company, announced the takeover of the Swiss airline Belair Airlines from airberlin's administrators (it was an airberlin subsidiary).

These two deals came quite soon after the relaunch of Belgium's VLM Airlines and the return to the skies of the Cyprus Airways name, both in 2017.

The original versions of both had previously gone bankrupt. There are also a number of older examples of European national airlines that have been reincarnated after suffering what had appeared to be terminal failures.

The increased incidence of resurrected airlines in Europe could be symptomatic of the broadly benign conditions that have helped the global sector to achieve historically high margins. However, it may not always be easy to separate sentiment from rationality in the decision to bring an airline back from the dead.

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