Air Berlin flights hit by 'ill' pilots

Air Berlin flights hit by 'ill' pilots

It prompted the airline to accuse them of sabotaging rescue talks with potential investors.

After losing the lifeline of regular cash infusions from Gulf carrier Etihad in June, Air Berlin filed for insolvency on August 15.

A spokesman for Eurowings, which leases 33 crewed planes from Air Berlin, said it also expected short-haul flight cancellations as a result of the sickness-related absences.

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.

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Reports in the German media have said that the airline is in a dispute with its pilots about the transfer of staff to a new owner.

The company's website reveals canceled flights from several German airports including Berlin Tegel, Duesseldorf, Hamburg, and Cologne. "A stable operation is mandatory for these negotiations to succeed". "This is the only way we can protect as many jobs as possible".

The airline had for years struggled for survival, and booked losses amounting to 1.2 billion euros ($1.4 billion) over the past two years. That is crucial in order to bring talks with investors to a successful conclusion. A decision on the fate of Air Berlin could come as quickly as September 21, three days before the German national election.

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.

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