Air Berlin cancels flights as pilots call in sick

14 September, 2017, 00:54 | Author: Brian Mcdaniel
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According to a report in Germany's Bild newspaper, the pilots are responding to a decision by Air Berlin's management to cut off negotiations over transferring 1200 pilots to a potential new buyer for the carrier.

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

In response, Air Berlin CEO Thomas Winkelmann accused pilots of "playing with fire".

In a similar incident past year, German leisure airline TUIfly was forced to cancel flights after cockpit and cabin crew called in sick.

The German government has provided the insolvent company with a credit facility of 150 million euros (179.8 million USA dollars) to ensure continuity of operations until a buyer is found.

Air Berlin filed for bankruptcy on August 15 after losing support of its former shareholder, nited Arab Emirates' Etihad Airways.

Departures information on Air Berlin's website showed flights cancelled from a range of German airports including Berlin Tegel, Duesseldorf, Hamburg and Cologne.

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The mass "sick-out" comes ahead of a Friday deadline for potential investors to submit bids for Air Berlin assets.

The carrier said Monday it will cancel numerous routes to the Caribbean and some USA flights from September 25, and only customers who bought tickets after the company filed for insolvency on August 15 will be reimbursed.

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.

Germany's giant services sector union Verdi expressed solidarity with the absent pilots and warned that more workers could call in sick.

An industry source said Air Berlin could lose 4 million to 5 million euros a day because of the cancellations.

"The fear and anger among Air Berlin staff is escalating because the future of whole families is at stake".

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