In­sol­vent Air Ber­lin scraps flights over ‘ill’ pi­lots

Daily Mirror (Sri Lanka) - - AVIATION/SHIPPING -

Bank­rupt Air Ber­lin said it was forced to can­cel dozens of flights on Tues­day, af­ter “an ex­cep­tion­ally high num­ber” of pi­lots called in sick.

“We regret the in­con­ve­nience for our pas­sen­gers,” said the air­line on its web­site. Both do­mes­tic and in­ter­na­tional flights were af­fected, in­clud­ing links be­tween Ber­lin and Los An­ge­les or Dubai. Lufthansa’s low-cost sub­sidiary Eurow­ings, which is rent­ing air­craft as well as pi­lot and crew from Air Ber­lin, has also been forced to can­cel some flights. Air Ber­lin filed for in­sol­vency in mi­dau­gust, af­ter its main share­holder Gulf car­rier Eti­had pulled the plug on its cash life­line. The air­line had for years strug­gled for sur­vival, and booked losses amount­ing to 1.2 bil­lion eu­ros ($1.4 bil­lion) over the past two years. 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. The in­sol­vent group is now hoping to com­plete its sale this month, with a Fri­day dead­line for po­ten­tial bid­ders to present their of­fers.

Lufthansa -- which al­ready leases 38 of Air Ber­lin’s 140 planes -- could buy up to 70 air­craft with as many as 3,000 crew for Eurow­ings, Ger­man me­dia had re­ported. Other in­ter­ested air­lines cited in me­dia re­ports in­clude pack­age hol­i­day firm TUI, Bri­tish low­cost car­rier Easyjet and Thomas Cook sub­sidiary Con­dor.

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