Sick Pilots Ground 100 Air Berlin Flights

September 12, 2017

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Some Air Berlin pilots added to the carrier’s problems on Tuesday after 200 called in sick, causing the cancellation of more than 100 flights.

The airline’s chief executive Thomas Winkelmann said some employees are “playing with fire”, as the number of short-notice sick days was much higher than usual.

“Today has cost us several million euros. We are currently conducting final talks with potential investors. It is essential that operations be stable in order for these negotiations to go well,” Winkelmann said.

Air Berlin is in preliminary insolvency proceedings and continues to operate only through an EU-approved EUR€150 million (USD$179 million) loan. The deadline for offers for the airline is Friday, with the creditors' committee hoping to make a decision on September 21.

The airline’s chief representative Frank Kebekus said in a statement the events “seriously endanger the entire insolvency proceedings under self-administration. If the situation does not change quickly, we will have to cease operations and thus any restructuring efforts.”

Air Berlin announced yesterday the cancellation of flights to Caribbean destinations as it is forced to reduce its long-haul fleet. That decision comes on top of a previous one cutting services to Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles and San Francisco.