Published: Tue, September 12, 2017
Money | By Armando Alvarado

Air Berlin cancels flights as pilots on sick leave

Air Berlin cancels flights as pilots on sick leave

The insolvent German airline is taking another hit as an "unusually high number" of pilots have called in sick leading to a series of flight cancellations.

Several corporations, including German flag carrier Lufthansa, are expected to submit bids for Air Berlin's assets before a deadline slated for Friday.

Because the carrier no longer offers compensation for cancelled flights, customer advice centres recommended that people affected by the strike book replacements at their own expense.

"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.

Nuremberg-based Woehrl first rose to prominence when he bought airline Deutsche BA from British Airways for a symbolic one euro in 2003, later selling it to Air Berlin. Stable operations are a prerequisite for the success of these negotiations.

Representatives of the German pilots΄ union Vereinigung Cockpit (VC) fear however that massive price increases on Air Berlin΄s long distance flights recently are meant to render those routes unprofitable. "That is crucial in order to bring talks with investors to a successful conclusion", he added.

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Air Berlin declared bankruptcy last month following years of losses and the decision of its biggest shareholder, Gulf airline Etihad, to cease payments.

Around 200 pilots, mainly captains, had called in sick.

Air Berlin continues to fly during the preliminary insolvency proceedings due to an EU-approved loan of EUR€150 million (USD$179 million) agreed at the beginning of September.

The firm has given potential buyers until September 15 to make offers.

German newspaper Bild reported that the cancellations were caused by "a revolt among pilots" over concerns that their jobs would not be saved after Air Berlin was sold.

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