Published: Wed, September 13, 2017
Money | By Charlene Sutton

Air Berlin furious as 'ill pilots' force flight cancellations

Air Berlin furious as 'ill pilots' force flight cancellations

Air Berlin filed for insolvency in mid-August, after its main shareholder, Gulf carrier Etihad, unexpectedly pulled the plug on its cash lifeline.

Air Berlin chief executive Thomas Winkelmann suggests that pilots who have absented themselves are "playing with fire".

German press estimated that over 100 national and global flights were to be grounded, affecting schedules at Berlin's Tegel airport, Düsseldorf, Munich and others. Stable operations are a prerequisite for the success of these negotiations.

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The aforementioned mass-sickness pushed Air Berlin to cancel flights as the company's website reveals cancelled flights from several German airports.

Some 200 of its 1,500 pilots suddenly called in sick.

Germany daily Bild reported Tuesday that the airline is in a dispute with pilots about the transfer of staff to a potential buyer. "This is the only way we can protect as many jobs as possible". That is crucial in order to bring talks with investors to a successful conclusion. Air Berlin has been dogged by delays and cancellations, which have resulted in it paying millions of euros in compensation to passengers.

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German service-sector union Verdi argues that it is "not at all surprising" that pilots have called in sick, given Air Berlin's current situation.

Intro wants "Air Berlin as a whole" rather than buying up chunks, Woehrl emphasised, urging other potential buyers nosing around the airline like Lufthansa, Condor, TUI, Germania and Austrian former Formula One driver Niki Lauda to join his offer.

The German government has agreed to provide a bridging loan of 150m euros to keep the airline flying for three months during the busy summer season.

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