Niki Lauda, whom we remember as a Formula 1 legend, is no longer with us. But did you know he had a license to fly and had a history of airlines under his belt?
After dedicating his life to the passion for car engines by winning 3 world titles in Formula 1, he dedicated himself to the air sector in the charter business, which began shortly before the last Grand Prix win in 1985.
After obtaining the license to perform scheduled flights, he declared a battle with Austrian Airlines which held a monopoly over long-haul connections from Vienna.
He created connections to Hong Kong, then to Australia, Brazil, and the United States of America, obtaining gradual important commercial results and a consequent increase in the air fleet that allowed him to plan a series of new routes in Europe by personally managing his company “Lauda Air” in association with Lufthansa.
He returned to the origins of his aerial adventure by transforming Lauda Air into a charter entity, an activity he then sold to Austrian Airlines.
During his new business venture he founded a new airline named Niki Air which was later called Fly Niki, then a subsidiary of Air Berlin, and finally the foundation of Laudamotion, a low-cost airline entirely and finally absorbed by Ryanair.
He transferred his passion for “car driving” by flying at times his own planes.
Niki Lauda leaves a great legacy to both racing and aviation with his passing.
In a message from Michael O’Leary of Ryanair, the CEO said: “Niki Lauda will stay in our heart and memory as a visionary leader, a legend of pioneer Formula 1 and aviation. Niki was an exceptional entrepreneur whose courage and fighting spirit inspired millions.
“While we are devastated at his untimely passing, his spirit and vision will live on Laudamotion, which proudly carries his name and his entrepreneurial spirit.”