Pilot action forces Air Berlin cancellations

Ann Santiago
September 13, 2017

In mid-August, Air Berlin, the second largest German airline, filed for bankruptcy following the refusal of the Etihad Airways, which holds a 29.2-percent stake in the airline, to continue providing it with financial support.

Passengers booked to travel on the cancelled services as part of a package deal should contact their tour operator, Air Berlin said in a statement.

A wildcat walkout by Air Berlin pilots could "threaten the existence" of the under-fire carrier, its chief executive has said.

Some 200 of its 1,500 pilots suddenly called in sick.

German media reported that the airline is in a dispute with pilots about the transfer of staff to a new owner.

Lufthansa's low-priced subsidiary Eurowings, which is renting aircraft as well as pilot and crew from Air Berlin, has also been forced to cancel some flights. Germany's government has backed a €150 million ($179 million) bridging loan, and talks with potential investors are under way. "That is the only way to secure as many jobs as possible", Mr Winkelmann said.

"We must return to stable operations". That is crucial in order to bring talks with investors to a successful conclusion.

Verdi board member Christine Behle said: "All the conversations surrounding insolvent Air Berlin are always about its economic interests, never about the jobs of its more than 8,000 employees".

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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