Austrian airline Niki says to stop flying Thursday

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Vienna (AFP)

Austrian airline Niki said Wednesday that it would stop flying from Thursday after it applied to open insolvency proceedings.

A statement on Niki's website said flight operations "will cease as of December 14."

Niki added that several airlines "are currently looking into solutions for bringing back passengers on standby-basis for a small fee from abroad destinations back to Germany, Austria and Switzerland."

It told passengers who have booked their flight with a tour operator to contact the operator directly.

The announcement followed a decision by Germany's Lufthansa to drop plans to buy Niki from the bankrupt Air Berlin after the European Commission expressed competition concerns.

Niki has around 20 aircraft and some 1,000 employees, flying to holiday resorts in southern Europe and north Africa from Austria, Germany and Switzerland.

Earlier Wednesday Niki applied with a court in Berlin to open insolvency proceedings.

The Austrian government said that it was ready to help repatriate any Niki passengers stranded abroad if necessary.