Sick pilots force ailing Air Berlin to cancel flights

Posted September 13, 2017

Flight passengers crowd in front of the desk of German airline Air Berlin at the airport in Duesseldorf, western Germany, on September 12, 2017, after the troubled airline had to cancel flights due to "operational reasons". It is essential that operations be stable in order for these negotiations to go well.

The ailing carrier was forced to cancel more than 100 flights, including transatlantic connections, as a result of the sick notices, causing chaos at several German airports.

The airline has been struggling for some time and over the past two years has announced losses amounting to 1.2bn euros (£1.1bn).

"All the conversations surrounding insolvent Air Berlin are always about its economic interests, never about the jobs of its more than 8,000 employees", said Verdi board member Christine Behle. Germany's government has backed a €150 million ($179 million) bridging loan, and talks with potential investors are under way.

Frank Kebekus, the company's chief representative, said the events "seriously endanger the entire insolvency proceedings under self-administration" and that if the situation did not change quickly, "we will have to cease operations and thus any restructuring efforts".

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.

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.