note: This Interview first appeared on 18. February 2018 at this point. On the occasion of the death of Niki Lauda, the star released his last conversation with the driver, and entrepreneur again.

Mr Lauda, have you been surprised at the reactions on the Takeover of the bankrupt airline Niki, founded it once yourself?

I have never 70 or 80 lovers SMS in a day, a momentum of recognition. To be a world champion or to win a formula 1 race is nothing compared to that.

Why is that? to say

Hard, but what may have helped: I have commanded in my racing life every thing: I became a young champion of the world. And as soon as I was burning I my ear and losing in the last race. The are emotions. So I got the people behind the oven.

There was always hype about you.

it was a real roller coaster. The triggers more, than if it always goes well.

Niki-take-over has only worked in the third attempt. They had to beat large corporations such as Lufthansa, British Airways mother IAG or low-cost airline Ryanair from the field.

Yes, that was a roller coaster: Twice I lost, but in the end, won. A Back-and-Forth.


Niki Lauda is dead


get in for the third Time to the Airline business and have already experienced bad times. A Lauda-Air Boeing crashed in 1991 in Thailand, 223 people. It is not enough for you?

Everyone asks me: Why are you doing this again? The thinking: The Niki is a hundred years old and still has not enough.

you are only 68, but that’s exactly what we’re wondering.

There’s a very simple answer: Everyone does as he wants! If you want to go with 50 in the Board and lying on the beach, then this is wonderful. But I’m different. There are extremes in the one and in the other direction. Through my racing life I was always competitive on the road, and in business life is no different. The more competition, the more fun it is for me.


Three times, Niki Lauda, formula 1 champion was. The assets of the 68-Year-old is estimated to be around 200 million Euro.

©Andrej Isakovic/AFP

What was their Motivation: they Wanted to prove himself again?

The Whole thing was, as I have asked myself: How can it be that there will be an Air Berlin and Niki-Takeover by Lufthansa no competition in Germany, and especially Austria more? To me it is a matter of competition.

Dead Stars

Of those Celebrities we had to 2019 farewell

But if it would have gone to a tractors-monopoly, they would not have purchased, or?

In the case of Airlines, I know myself just a little bit. (Pause) Or we say: I know myself as well.

The Airline Niki slipped back with your name in the Bankruptcy. That was not bad?

Since I can’t do, because I am since 2011. It’s not me.

All of your Airlines have always borne their name. First Lauda Air, then Niki and now Lauda motion. This is not a high risk?

of Course, this is risky. I actually wanted to call of my name completely gone, and the Airline “emotion”. But my Name is the most Famous thing there is. The outshines everything.

you have a pilot’s license. When have you learned to fly?

in 1976, I lived in Salzburg, and to go to Ferrari to Maranello, six hours in the car. A Cousin said to me: You know, I’ve got a single-engine machine. On-the-fly changes with. In the air, he said: Try. Then the thought came to me: I could fly to Ferrari.

That was very thought of in economic terms?

Yes, I made the ticket, had a year later, a plane and was there in 55 minutes. I then made all the licenses and am flown all types of aircraft itself. In the case of the Lauda Air there were long-range aircraft up to the Boeing 777, then at Niki Airbus A320.

Is it something magical for you to be in the air?

no. It is the perfect Master of my aircraft, what is it that fascinates me. When flying, there are no compromises. And it comes down to the subtleties, with which to operate a flying machine, like you can feel them. How to fly economically and passengers as comfortable as possible. There are unmeasured differences in pilots. But also the Economic interested in: Grand Prix win and world champion is easier than to run an Airline.


Lauda on the verge of a formula 1 event

©Herbert Neubauer/DPA


Airlines are a terrible business. You are dependent on the Dollar, the price of fuel and, and, and. To control this vehicle is tedious. Despite the passenger boom is a giant, it remains a challenge to do everything right and earn money with it.

Why do you believe that you can do that with Lauda motion now?

I’m more efficient than others. I’ll give you an example: We had to yesterday, relatively quickly, the books of the Airbus aircraft from the Niki rewrite on the Lauda motion. The only Airbus. So I put my flight operations Manager, the training Manager and the managing Director in my private plane and flew with them to work for Airbus in Toulouse. Two hours later we were again on the way back. Done.

As it helps to be Niki Lauda, and to have a private jet.

Yes, exactly!

are you Planning to get off at Niki back into the Cockpit?

no, I’m not over 65, I can. Just my private jet I can fly more even.

Niki Lauda to experience as a Pilot – this was earlier in the case of Lauda Air for the passengers of the special appeal.

Absolutely right. That’s why I’m going to fly with Lauda motion and certainly more often. I want to see how the customers react in the back. In the case of Niki, I spoke at the time, for example, the safety information itself. I’m thinking of now.

Are you a good boss?

Basically, I know how to communicate with people, I think I’m there quite well.

you should never run out of the skin?

no, never. If one ends up not so good, then I ask him why. I’ve been trying, my pre-lived perfection to reclaim.


Already in his time as a racing driver Niki Lauda acquired a pilot’s license

©Barbara Gindl/DPA

you always had a Vision of how to fly with Lauda needs to be. What can passengers expect in the future?

The biggest laugh for me is that a few years ago Niki brutally down was saved. I had set up Niki as a Low-cost Airline, but with Service, because I had to differentiate myself. For me, you could always buy a Wiener Schnitzel or a Sandwich. And even a newspaper have to get the passengers. There are people to talk to me today on how great their flight was. So what happens today. The Service on Board is everywhere, used to listen to down to nothing. If you want a glass of water, you will have to pay. This is the new concept of Low-cost flying.

Because you see your Chance?

Clearly, I’m going to make a giant leap over the competition, if I offer again. I want to be better than the other.

the staff there is rather the fear, that you provide when you pay too little. Is the justified?

This is an incredible story: As I introduced myself to the pilots, one of them asked: “can we Get a slave contract?” As I say, Where were you slave? They were paid as in the case of Eurowings. And the service times were in the legal framework: between 750 and 830 hours in the year.

by Law, 900 hours are allowed a maximum of.

Niki, you flew last only 640 hours. Air Berlin has slipped your collective bargaining agreement about the Niki. No wonder, then, that all went bankrupt.

Earn pilots too much?

I have nothing against collective contracts with a good salary, just I need to be able to fly yet. And Air Berlin had built things like the “concrete week”. That is to say, the crew plans can not be changed one week in advance, regardless of whether planes are delayed or fail. That is totally inflexible.

Negotiate with the unions?

Yes, looking for the conversation with me. But I haven’t got a single plane in the air. At the moment I don’t have time.

you Want to press because the salaries of the pilots?

no, it’s because an incredible pilot shortage. My Plan is clear: What is now paid for, also paid more.

when to go Lauda motion at the Start?

On the 28. March. The Summer Flight Schedule.

you already Have enough employees?

We need for 15 aircraft, about 200 pilots. We finished doing the contracts and give them out. Let’s see, who writes under. I offer to anyone who was with Niki, a Job. But since Niki is gone in bankruptcy, all have to be re-employed by the Lauda motion. I can’t help that.

you can Use the experience from racing in order to lead your company?

Everything I’ve learned, is the quickest way to the goal, no queue lines. The Sport influences me, but you can’t, of course, give only Gas, but must be economical to drive. And I believe that I can delegate. I have very good people, which lead me to the Store. I’m not fishing, there zupfuschen.

you don’t want to decide everything myself?

I Can’t. I have 1200 employees in the formula-1 team, I lead, with Mercedes head of Motorsport Toto Wolff together.

you have purchased ten percent of the team of Mercedes.

Yes, that is my real main job. But also because I’m only involved in the big decisions.

you want to be formula 1 world champion, and young entrepreneurs …

at the same time Well, more of a entrepreneur who wants to know it again.

Niki has allegedly cost 47 million euros. Have you paid with your own money?

Yes, completely.

There is no other Investor?

no, at first the idea was to make it with Thomas Cook and Condor together. But it went faster, alone to go in. That was the night of the decision is important.

Because it was about many millions of euros. So the decision is easy for you?

I’ve been thinking: How far do I want to offer, where is the end?

Where it is now with the Airline?

Mail from the insolvency administrator

Air-Berlin-Broke: What Victims can now expect

By Till Bartels

First of all: I have not purchased any Airline, but only Slots. I have to use now with my 15 pilots. Otherwise they are quickly out of the way. And that would be bad. Expansion is only the second step.

Had to stop their recent decision, as a formula 1 expert for RTL to do with the purchase of a Niki?

no. I was in the night after the last race thinking: that’s It. In normal life, I’m reliable: If I have a Job, I do the. But sometimes the sense in popping just a question, and then I think: Why am I doing this for 21 years and actually still?

you are also a young father of a family, have two school-age children. How do you get the Lauda motion under a hat?

I find that I can be good, but my wife Birgit scolds sometimes. Logically, it is just a little more difficult.

Go with the project, Lauda’s motion is full of risk? They are poor, when it fails?

Yes. I have to honestly say: There’s a lot of way would be correct.


The most of it. That is the challenge. So I have designed my whole life. It makes me not afraid.


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