Pilot action forces Air Berlin cancellations

Troubled German airline Air Berlin, which entered preliminary insolvency proceedings last month, has cancelled more flights as it reduces its long-haul fleet.

Air Berlin filed for bankruptcy on August 15 after losing support of its former shareholder, nited Arab Emirates' Etihad Airways.

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.

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.

About 200 of Air Berlin's 1,500 pilots reported being ill. Stable operations are a prerequisite for the success of these negotiations.

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"That's the only way we can secure as many jobs as possible", he added.

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. Germany's government has backed a €150 million ($179 million) bridging loan, and talks with potential investors are under way.

"Today is a day that threatens the existence of Air Berlin".

Christine Behle, the federal president of the United Service Union, Verdi, claimed talks about a sale of Air Berlin had not focused on the 8,000 employees and that workers were "increasingly perceived as part of a game of purely economic and political interests".

"The fear and anger among Air Berlin staff is escalating because the future of whole families are at stake".


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