Embraer 190LR (ERJ-190-100LR, c/n: 19000435, OE-IHG of NIKI Luftfahrt GmbH) taxiing at Franz Josef Strauss Airport, Munich, October 2012.
The E190 is one of the aircraft belonging to the Embraer E-Jet family – narrow body, twin-engine jets designed for short and medium passenger routes. The first E-Jet aeroplanes were developed by the Brazilian aerospace company Embraer in the late 1990s and were intended to succeed the manufacturer´s earlier series of ERJ airliners.
The E-Jet series began with E170, the smallest aircraft of the family. The aeroplane performed its maiden flight on 19th February 2002 and two years later was introduced into operational service. Although the first E170s were delivered to Alitalia and MidAtlantic Airways it was the Polish national carrier – LOT Polish Airlines – that had the honour of performing the first commercial flight with the E170, on 17th March 2004.
The Embraer E-Jet family includes at least fifteen different variants. The series starts with the abovementioned E170, then there is a stretched version designated E175, followed by another, larger and more longer versions named E190 and E195. The latter are equipped with new, larger wings and horizontal stabilizer. In 2006, the E-Jet series was complemented with business jet, designated Lineage 1000. In addition, in 2022 the Embraer company announced that full Passenger to Freight Conversion programme for the E190/E195 was launched. The E-Jet freighters were designated E190F and E195F, respectively.
Photograph of the Embraer 190LR featured within our Photo of the Week series was taken in October of 2012 at Munich Airport. At that time, the aircraft was operated by NIKI Luftfahrt GmbH, a low-cost airline based in Austria and founded by Niki Lauda, the famous former Formula One driver and three-time world champion (1975, 1977 and 1984).
NIKI was established in 2003, after Lauda´s acquirement of operations of the former Aero Lloyd Austria airline. The first commercial flight of the new carrier took place on 28th November 2003.
In 2011, NIKI merged its operations with Air Berlin and in March of the next year, became an affiliate of Oneworld, a subsidiary company of Air Berlin. Since that time, the NIKI aircraft were being successively repainted in the Air Berlin corporate livery. Therefore, this photo is one of the last taken with the NIKI airline original livery.
Starting from 2015, NIKI replaced its Embraer aircraft with Airbus A319 series, received from Air Berlin. The Embraers were then transferred to Helvetic Airways.
Over the following years, Niki Lauda´s airline was a subject of a few other merges and stock sales. Finally, in 2018, it was taken over by Laudamotion GmbH (commonly known as just Lauda) – the second airline owned by the former Formula One driver and established after Lauda´s acquirement of Amira Air in 2016.
In March of 2018, Laudamotion was taken over by Ryanair Holdings plc.
The ex-NIKI Embraer 190LR was operated by Helvetic Airways until 2020, registered as HB-JVR. Then, the aircraft was sold to Pionair Airlines in Australia, where it received the name ´Cinderella´. In 2022, the E190 was sold again, this time to Aliance Airlines. Currently, the airliner is operated with registration VH-XFC and used for domestic flights within Australia, in October of 2023 covering the route between Adelaide and Olympic Dam airports.