Having announced a momentous change in a policy rigorously adhered to for over 30 years by recognising pilots unions, the carrier also confirmed its interest in purchasing assets from the now-grounded Niki airline.

Founded in 2003 by F1 racing driver, Niki Lauda, the Vienna-based carrier was purchased by Air Berlin in 2011 which itself filed for insolvency in August of this year. In October, Lufthansa agreed to acquiring Niki (including its 20 aircraft) and regional airline LGW for about Eur210m but withdrew from the deal on Wednesday when EU Competition Commissioner stated that it could result in ‘higher prices and less choice for consumers’.

With several parties believed to be interested, including Niki Lauda, Thomas Cook and IAG, Ryanair’s renewed interest follows its earlier withdrawal from the process with CEO Michael O’Leary calling the Lufthansa involvement a ‘stitch-up’. Time is of the essence, however, not just for the 800 Niki staff involved but also due to the possibility that Niki’s valuable airport slots will be returned to pools within a week. The normal procedure for such slots to be redistributed involves 50% going to existing carriers and the remaining 50% to new airlines.

Given its recent interest and then withdrawal in respect of both Air Berlin and Alitalia, Ryanair’s re-visited interest in Niki may well signal that it is intent on success this time.

Padraic currently holds the position of Ussher Assistant Professor in International Strategic Management at Trinity College Dublin. His career to date has spanned both academic and industry worlds. Academically, he obtained his PhD in Strategy from University College Dublin's Smurfit Graduate School in 2009 (he also attained a BA, BComm and MBA from UCD). His experience in management education exceeds twenty years and he has worked for a number of third-level institutions, including the Open University Business School and the Irish American University in Dublin. Commercially, Padraic worked for over twenty years in the aviation sector, specifically Airport Management, and he has held a number of Senior Management positions in Aer Rianta (now Dublin Airport Authority) and Aer Rianta International Middle East, including Head of Business Strategy, Head of Marketing, Head of Business Development, and Head of Services (Operations). Germany, Oman, Turkey and Yemen are just some of the countries where Padraic has undertaken Aviation Consultancy projects. Padraic's current responsibilities include MSc in Management Programme Director, BESS Committee Member, College Tutor, UG and PG Committee Member and Senior Sophister Year Coordinator. Research interests focus on strategic decision-making processes, entrepreneurship, cross-cultural management, and academic integrity. Industry research focuses on Aviation Management.