Ryanair completed its acquisition of Austrian carrier Laudamotion on Wednesday and immediately announced a doubling in size of the airline’s fleet.

Laudamotion will expand from nine aircraft to 18 for next summer with the addition of nine Airbus A320 aircraft.

The Laudamotion workforce will also expand from 500 to 800 next year, as Ryanair also announced pay increases for pilots and new rostering arrangements for flight crew.

Ryanair’s acquisition of a 75% stake in the airline was cleared by EU competition authorities in July.

Laudamotion chief executive Andreas Gruber said: “Laudamotion faces the future with great confidence backed by the enormous financial strength of Ryanair.

“These additional aircraft ensure Laudamotion will grow by at least 20% in 2019 to five million guests a year.”

Ryanair chief commercial officer David O’Brien said: “Ryanair is pleased to complete the purchase of a 75% shareholding in Laudamotion.

“We applaud the work of Niki Lauda, Andreas Gruber and the Laudamotion team in the face of difficult market circumstances and unfair competitor activity.”

The Austrian carrier emerged from the wreckage of Air Berlin subsidiary Niki when the German airline failed last October.

Founder Niki Lauda, who sold Niki to Air Berlin in 2011, re-acquired the carrier in January and relaunched it as Laudamotion in March.

Lauda initially proposed a partnership with Thomas Cook Airlines in Germany, but Thomas Cook pulled out when Ryanair acquired a minority stake in the airline and bid to take control.

British Airways-owner IAG had also bid for Niki and Lufthansa had taken control of some of its aircraft, having acquired other parts of Air Berlin.

In July, Ryanair accused Lufthansa of failing to comply with an EU ruling to hand over 11 former Air Berlin aircraft to Laudamotion.

Lufthansa rejected the “false allegations” insisting it had “fully complied with all EU obligations.”

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