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Thu, Sep 14, 2017

Airberlin Cancels More Than 100 Flights

Pilots Calling In Sick In Unusually High Numbers

Airberlin pilots are apparently staging a "sick out" labor action, as 200 of the carrier's 1,500 pilots called in sick on Tuesday forcing the cancellation of more than 100 flights, according to the airline.

The carrier said on its website that the "high sickness rate" continued on Wednesday.

Air Transport World reports that the carrier said that if the situation does not improve, it may be forced to suspend operations altogether.

Thomas Winkelmann, CEO of Airberlin, said is a statement that the flights were cancelled because "200 of our 1,500 pilots called in sick on short notice during the crew briefing and just shortly before they arrived at the aircraft."

The Vereinigung Cockpit (VC) pilot union said that it has not called for any kind of labor action against Airberlin. In a statement the union said it is "convinced that a social plan negotiation through a regular transition of staff is the only way to get as large a number of jobs as possible. Therefore, the VC has pointed out to all the cockpit staff represented by it that they have to fulfill their obligations under the employment contract, provided there is no acute reason for an illness."

Winkelmann said that the action cost the carrier "several million euros."

Airberlin filed for insolvency in August after major shareholder Etihad Airways withdrew financial support for the German carrier. Winkelmann said that the company is "currently conducting the final talks with potential investors. A stable operation is the imperative prerequisite for the success of these negotiations. This is the only way to secure as many jobs as possible."

The authorized general contractor for the insolvency proceedings Frank Kebekus said that the actions of the pilots is jeopardizing the overall proceedings, and could lead to a suspension of operations "including all restoration efforts."

(Image from file)

FMI: www.airberlin.com/en/site/landingpages/flight_information.php

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