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Air Berlin cancels flights as pilots on sick leave

12 September, 2017, 16:26 | Author: Jeff Stephens
  • Pilot action forces Air Berlin cancellations

An airplane of Airberlin is pictured during a warning strike by ground services, security inspection and check-in staff at Tegel airport in Berlin March 10, 2017.

"We worked hard to be able to make this offer, with help not only from experts but also supportive comments and suggestions from employees, passengers and business partners of Air Berlin", the Bavarian airline tycoon wrote in a Facebook post late Sunday.

Bankrupt German airline Air Berlin has canceled dozens of flights, citing an "unusually high" number of pilots calling in sick.

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However, union Vereinigung Cockpit said in a separate statement it was surprised by the absences and that it had not called on its members to call in sick. Worldwide flights were also affected. Flights from Düsseldorf to Curacao, Cancun, Havana, Varadero, Punta Cana and Puerto Plata will end on September 25, Air Berlin said.

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

The German government has argued that competition rules prevent any single airline taking over Air Berlin, the country's second-largest carrier after Lufthansa.

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

In the meantime, the airline has been kept aloft by a hastily-agreed 150-million-euro loan from the German government. Air Berlin employs approximately 1,500 pilots.

German flagship carrier Lufthansa - which already leases 38 of Air Berlin's 140 planes - could buy up to 70 aircraft with as many as 3,000 crew for Eurowings, German media had reported. A formal decision on a sale of Air Berlin could be reached as early as September 21.

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