Lufthansa supervisory board chief wants Mayrhuber as successor

Outgoing Lufthansa boss Wolfgang Mayrhuber may become the head of the airline’s supervisory board, according to growing rumours.Current supervisory board head Jürgen Weber said at a business event in Hamburg yesterday evening (Mon) that he hopes the Austrian will succeed him when he retires in 2013.Mayrhuber, who has been head of the German aviation giant since 2003, leaves the company by the end of this year. The 63-year-old Upper Austrian has remained tight-lipped about his plans but many speculate that he could join the Cologne-based firm’s supervisory board.Weber said he could not think of a better choice than Mayrhuber. Company-internal regulations mean that Mayrhuber would have to wait two years before running for the post.Lufthansa is Europe’s biggest airline. The firm, which suffered losses for the first time since 2003 last year with a reported minus of 112 million Euros, made headlines by managing to get Austrian Airlines (AUA), Swiss, Brussels Airlines and British Midland Airways (bmi) back in track after taking over the ailing airlines.Meanwhile, the debate over the planned introduction of a tax on flight tickets continues. The Austrian government coalition announced last month that it will issue every ticket with an amount between eight and 35 Euros depending on the flight’s destination from next April.Mayrhuber and AUA bosses called on the Social Democrats (SPÖ) and the People’s Party (ÖVP) to revoke their plans, claiming the levy would make it more difficult for AUA to get back in the black.FlyNiki CEO Niki Lauda called the upcoming tax “incredibly unfair” last week. Now Lauda revealed plans to relocate operations of his low cost carrier from Vienna International Airport (VIA) to nearby Slovak capital Bratislava.The former Formula One (F1) pilot said he expected the tax to reduce FlyNiki’s annual passenger number by 100,000. “This would mean 10 million Euros less turnover,” he claimed.Both Lauda and AUA co-chief Peter Malanik warned that the competitiveness of Austria and Germany in Europe will suffer if the country’s federal governments did not refrain from imposing flight ticket taxes in 2011.