Sick pilots force ailing Air Berlin to cancel flights

Sick pilots force ailing Air Berlin to cancel flights”

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 airline Air Berlin has cancelled around 70 flights, including some at Zurich Airport, because of a pilot protest over the airline's uncertain future.

TUIfly was also forced to cancel flights previous year after many pilots called in sick, with their union saying staff were concerned that merger talks, since failed, could lead to job and pay cuts. Flights from Düsseldorf to Curacao, Cancun, Havana, Varadero, Punta Cana and Puerto Plata will end on September 25, Air Berlin said.

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.

Germany΄s second-largest airline was forced to file for bankruptcy protection last month after shareholder Etihad Airways withdrew funding following years of losses. Long-haul flights cut short.

Shortly after the insolvency announcement bidders lined up to acquire Air Berlin's assets with major European airline Lufthansa the most likely.

Bidders have until September 15 to submit binding offers, with a decision possible as early as September 21, three days before a German national election.

Representatives of the German pilots΄ union Vereinigung Cockpit (VC) fear however that massive price increases on Air Berlin΄s long distance flights recently are meant to render those routes unprofitable.

Schulz also described those attempts by Air Berlin as a scandal which the pilots΄ union wouldn΄t tolerate.

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