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Thomas Suritsch appointed Managing Director at NIKI

Effective immediately, Thomas Suritsch (59) will serve as the Managing Director of the Austrian airline NIKI Luftfahrt GmbH, following Christian Lesjak, who has decided to leave the company. In his new job, Suritsch will be responsible for overseeing both the operational and administrative divisions of the company.

A native of Vienna, Thomas Suritsch was previously Vice President of Crew Operations at airberlin, overseeing, among other things, all pilot and flight attendant schedules of the airberlin group. In this capacity, he successfully restructured and significantly improved productivity by consolidating crew bases and introducing a new flight plan optimised from the crew's perspective. Suritsch holds an advanced engineering degree from the Vienna University of Technology, where he specialised in computer technology and has many years of experience in the airline industry. Within the Austrian Airlines Group, he was responsible for IT management for Tyrolean, Lauda Air and Austrian Airlines. As Managing Director of Lauda Air from 2002 to 2010, he successfully positioned the brand for the leisure segment in the Austrian market. In addition, he headed global ground operations as well as Austrian Airlines' restructuring team. Thomas Suritsch is married with one daughter.

Christina Hackl (48) will join NIKI as a member of its Management Board, leading the company together with Thomas Suritsch starting on 1 June and be responsible for the commercial sector. A native Austrian, Hackl also has extensive experience in the aviation industry. Most recently, she served as Senior Vice President of Revenue Management and Pricing at airberlin, overseeing operational capacity and price management. Prior to joining airberlin, she held various managerial positions at Austrian Airlines starting in 1995 where she focused on pricing, sales, and network planning. From 2009 to 2013, she was responsible for worldwide sales and all sales channels as Vice President of Global Sales and Distribution.

"We thank Christian Lesjak for his commitment and service. I am pleased to have Thomas Suritsch and Christina Hackl with us leading NIKI - two experienced aviation experts with excellent knowledge of the Austrian market who will strengthen NIKI's position within the airberlin group. Sending a clear signal with a very profitable cost structure, NIKI continues to carve out growth prospects with an excellent unit cost position. At the same time, NIKI is following a clear strategic direction within the airberlin group as a growth carrier for the DACH region with a sharp focus on tourism," says Stefan Pichler, CEO of airberlin.

NIKI is the second-largest airline based at Vienna Airport. In the air transportation market between Austria and Germany, NIKI and airberlin have already climbed to the top in the 'best product' and the 'best pricing' categories.

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