Published: Tue, September 12, 2017
Business | By Max Garcia

Air Berlin cancels flights after pilots call in sick

Air Berlin cancels flights after pilots call in sick

Bids for the airline must be submitted by Friday, with a decision on the sale expected as early as next week.

Insolvent German airline Air Berlin is scrapping more long-haul flights, this time to the Caribbean from Duesseldorf, because it needs to reduce the fleet due to preliminary insolvency proceedings, it said on Monday.

Some short-haul flights at Lufthansa's budget airline Eurowings were also hit because it leases 33 planes with crews from Air Berlin.

Air Berlin filed for bankruptcy on August 15 after losing support of its former shareholder, nited Arab Emirates' Etihad Airways. Potential investors have until September 15 to submit binding offers for the German airline. "Today is a day that threatens the existence of Air Berlin". An Air Berlin statement said that an "unusually high number" of pilots called in sick.

TUIfly was also forced to cancel flights past year after many pilots called in sick, with their union saying staff were concerned that merger talks, since failed, could lead to job and pay cuts.

"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.

Pilots union Vereinigung Cockpit (VC) said it was surprised by the absences and that it had not called on its members at Air Berlin to call in sick.

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

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. They have until September 15 to submit binding offers, with a decision possible as early as September 21.

Like this: