200 pilots call in sick, forcing Air Berlin to scrap flights

200 pilots call in sick, forcing Air Berlin to scrap flights

"Air Berlin is now seeing an exceptional high number of sickness reports of their pilots".

"I think Air Berlin is in a decidedly hard situation at the moment and the pilots, with their behaviour, are putting at risk a reasonable handover or sale".

It seems like sickness is in the air since their cancelled flights aren't.

Some 149 pilots and first officers had already called in sick for Wednesday, Air Berlin boss Thomas Winkelmann said, according an internal memo.

On Sunday his company Intro offered 50 million euros immediately for the stricken airline, with up to 450 million euros of further payments "depending on performance", he said.

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

Several corporations, including German flag carrier Lufthansa, are expected to submit bids for Air Berlin's assets before a deadline slated for Friday.

More news: Intel victory over €1bn fine poses problems for Brussels

"We are in the middle of final negotiations with potential investors".

Germany's giant services sector union Verdi expressed solidarity with the absent pilots and warned that more workers could call in sick.

Meanwhile, easyJet is keen to take on some of the routes flown by Air Berlin by buying the slots the German carrier owns at airports rather than planes.

In order not to leave travellers stranded during the busy summer season, the German government agreed to provide a bridging loan of 150 million euros to keep the airline flying for three months.

Air Berlin announced on Monday that it would end its flights to the Caribbean from Düsseldorf beginning September 24.

Air Berlin is Germany's second largest airline and employs over 8,000 staff.

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