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Published on : Thursday, September 14, 2017
Thousands of passengers faced a wrecked travel plan as Air Berlin has been forced to cancel about 100 flights after an “unusually high number” of pilots called in sick. Believed to be a wildcat strike against possible redundancies at the bankrupt airline, Air Berlin cited “operative reasons” for the cancellations on its website. “We regret the inconvenience for our passengers,” said the airline on its website.
After losing £2m per day in 2016, and seeing its financial life-support cut off when Etihad abandoned its investment in the company in April, Air Berlin is in liquidation. The airline requested that it will end long-haul flying which most of the crew regards as the best option.
Over one-sixth of the airline’s 1,500 pilots called in sick, which represents about one-third to one-half of the total rostered to work. Most of the flights cancellations have were at Berlin-Tegel, Cologne-Bonn and Dusseldorf. 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 had already declared that it will stop flights to the Caribbean and Boston from 25 September.
Lufthansa — which already leases 38 of Air Berlin’s 140 planes — could buy up to 70 aircraft with as many as 3,000 crew for Eurowings, German media had reported.