Pilot absences bring 'life-threatening' disruption for Air Berlin

Air Berlin scraps more flights as pilots call in sick

A spokesperson for the carrier said that an unusually high number of pilots had called in sick to work on Tuesday, forcing Air Berlin to cancel flights including those to Düsseldorf and Berlin from Zurich.

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

The aforementioned mass-sickness pushed Air Berlin to cancel flights as the company's website reveals cancelled flights from several German airports.

The company had to cancel more than 110 flights out of a planned 750 on Tuesday because of the walkout.

Bidders for Air Berlin's assets have until Friday to submit offers.

Thomas Winkelmann claimed the move by almost 200 pilots to call in sick at short notice was "the equivalent to playing with fire" and would cost the troubled airline "several million euros". Stable operations are a prerequisite for the success of these negotiations.

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.

Air Berlin filed for insolvency in mid-August, after its main shareholder Gulf carrier Etihad pulled the plug on its cash lifeline.

"Many" of these declarations were made at short notice, during the pilots' pre-flight crew briefings or as they made their way to the aircraft, adds Air Berlin, noting that the ensuing disruption is "life threatening" for the German carrier.

Pilot union Vereinigung Cockpit says it is "surprised" by the cancellations and stresses that it has not called on its members to call in sick.

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