Wednesday, 13 December, 2017

Sick pilots force ailing Air Berlin to cancel flights

Air Berlin scraps more flights as pilots call in sick Pilot action forces Air Berlin cancellations
Juana Turner | 13 September, 2017, 00:27

Air Berlin chief executive Thomas Winkelmann suggests that pilots who have absented themselves are "playing with fire".

The ailing carrier was forced to cancel more than 100 flights, including transatlantic connections, as a result of the sick notices, causing chaos at several German airports. This disrupted some 12,000 passengers, the company said.

The German government has agreed to provide a bridging loan of 150m euros to keep the airline flying for three months during the busy summer season. The deadline for bids is this Friday with a decision expected to be made within a week.

"A stable operation is an essential precondition for successful negotiations", Mr Winkelmann said. "That's the only way we can secure as many jobs as possible".

"Nevertheless, Eurowings is able to operate the majority of its flight programme of 650 daily Eurowings flights as scheduled", a spokesperson said.

It seems like sickness is in the air since their cancelled flights aren't.

Shares in the company dropped roughly 3.5pc on the back of the announcement to 33 cents.

"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.

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

German service-sector union Verdi argues that it is "not at all surprising" that pilots have called in sick, given Air Berlin's current situation.

She added she found the walkout by pilots "by no means surprising".

The bankrupt German airline Air Berlin recently announced major cut in flights rather than fare cuts. Those travelling on Air Berlin as part of a package deal are encouraged to contact their travel agent.

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