Air Berlin scraps more flights as pilots call in sick

Pilot action forces Air Berlin cancellations

About 149 pilots and first officers had already reported sick for Wednesday, Air Berlin chief Thomas Winkelmann said, according to an internal memo seen by dpa.

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".

Intro wants "Air Berlin as a whole" rather than buying up chunks, Woehrl emphasised, urging other potential buyers nosing around the airline like Lufthansa, Condor, TUI, Germania and Austrian former Formula One driver Niki Lauda to join his offer.

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The move has also hit Lufthansa subsidiary Eurowings, which said it had been told by Air Berlin at short notice some of the flights the latter carrier runs for it could not be staffed.

"Today has cost us several million euros".

Etihad held 29.2 percent of Air Berlin and has reportedly withdrawn financial support following years of losses.

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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. Germany's government has backed a €150 million ($179 million) bridging loan, and talks with potential investors are under way. "A stable operation is mandatory for these negotiations to succeed".

The carrier said Monday it will cancel numerous routes to the Caribbean and some U.S. flights from September 25, and only customers who bought tickets after the company filed for insolvency on August 15 will be reimbursed.

The Berlin carrier is expected to cancel more flights on Wednesday.

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Germany's giant services sector union Verdi on Tuesday expressed solidarity with the absent pilots.

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