Air Berlin pilots call in sick

Lucy Bush
September 14, 2017

The bankrupt German airline Air Berlin recently announced major cut in flights rather than fare cuts. About 200 of Air Berlin's 1,500 pilots reported being ill.

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

"Passengers holding tickets for cancelled flights will be offered other travel options", the website states.

Lufthansa's low cost subsidiary, Eurowings, which is renting aircraft and pilots from Air Berlin, also had to cancel flights.

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Frank Kebekus, the company's chief representative, said the events "seriously endanger the entire insolvency proceedings under self-administration" and that if the situation did not change quickly, "we will have to cease operations and thus any restructuring efforts".

"A stable operation is an essential precondition for successful negotiations", Mr Winkelmann said.

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

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

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A deadline to submit bids to acquire Air Berlin or parts of it has been set for 15 September.

"All the conversations surrounding insolvent Air Berlin are always about its economic interests, never about the jobs of its more than 8,000 employees", said Verdi board member Christine Behle.

An empty Air Berlin counter at Tegel airport in Berlin.

The Berlin carrier is expected to cancel more flights on Wednesday.

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In the meantime, the airline has been kept aloft by a hastily-agreed 150-million-euro loan from the German government.

Other reports by Info About Network

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