Air Berlin Cancels 100 Flights After 250 Pilots Call in Sick

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Air Berlin Cancels 100 Flights After 250 Pilots Call in Sick

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Air Berlin Cancels 100 Flights After 250 Pilots Call in Sick

By Ofonime Essien

Air Berlin

Air Berlin lost €782m last year and pilots fear they could be made redundant. Photograph: Roland Weihrauch/AFP/Getty Images

Air Berlin was forced to cancel about 100 flights Tuesday after an “unusually high number” of pilots called in sick, in what is believed to be a wildcat strike against possible redundancies at the bankrupt airline, reported The Guardian. 

The carrier, which declared bankruptcy last month after years of losses, is negotiating the transfer of staff to a potential buyer. Bids for the airline must be submitted by Friday, with a decision on the sale expected as early as next week.

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On its website, Air Berlin cited “operative reasons” for the cancellations on Tuesday, and asked passengers to call a helpline and refrain from travelling to the affected airports.

Because the carrier no longer offers compensation for cancelled flights, customer advice centres recommended that people affected by the strike book replacements at their own expense.

Berlin’s Tegel airport and Düsseldorf airport, Air Berlin’s hubs, were hit hard by the strike action, which also affects 42 planes run by Air Berlin on behalf of Eurowings and Austrian Airlines.

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Spiegel Online said about 250 pilots called in sick on Tuesday morning. Air Berlin employs approximately 1,500 pilots.

Vereinigung Cockpit, a collective bargaining group for German pilots and flight engineers, has expressed concern that the airline is planning to offload its long-haul flights branch, which pays staff higher wages.

The airline’s chief executive, Thomas Winkelmann, accused pilots of “playing with fire” as the canceled flights would cost the company several million euros (dollars), making it less attractive to potential buyers.

“A stable operation is an essential precondition for successful negotiations,” Winkelmann said. “This is the only way we can protect as many jobs as possible.”

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

Air Berlin has already announced that it will cease to operate flights to the Caribbean and Boston from 25 September.

Air Berlin made a loss of €782m (£703m) in 2016. Last month, Etihad Airways, which owns almost 30% of Air Berlin, said the developments were “extremely disappointing”, but it could not keep injecting cash after investing an additional €250m in April.




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About Author

Ofonime Essien

Mr. Ofonime A. Essien, is a Helicopter Pilot. He is also a Microsoft Certified Database Administrator (MCDBA), Oracle Certified Associate (OCA), a Computer Forensics Expert, a Blogger, Web Master, a Writer and an Entrepreneur. He is an avid reader. He likes motivating others to achieve their dreams through writing and speaking.

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