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Lauda resigns from his own airline

RETIRED triple World Champion Niki Lauda has resigned from his post as chief executive of his airline Lauda-air after auditors reportedly discovered financial irregularities over the manner in which the Vienna-based operation was being run.

This news comes just three weeks after Lauda admitted he was confident that he had seen off opposition to a restructuring program from minority shareholder and partner Austrian Airlines. Lauda had originally planned a sale and lease-back of several of his company's airliners in an attempt to free up more cash for operational use after Lauda-air costs had spiralled this year due to the increased cost of fuel oil.

This is not the first setback the 51-year old Austrian has encountered since establishing Lauda-air more than 20 years ago. In 1980 he was obliged to cancel an order for a DC-10 jetliner due to pressures brought about by an economic recession.

Lauda is personally rated as captain on his airline's Boeing 737, 767 and 777 jets and there is no news as to whether or not he will continue flying in that role.

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