200 ‘sick’ Air Berlin pilots cause major airport delays

Air Berlin Airbus 320 at Palma Airport Air Berlin Airbus 320 at Palma Airport Rosa-Maria Rinkl Wikimedia

CURRENTLY having filed for liquidation, Germany’s second largest airline Air Berlin has been hit by 200 of its 1,500 pilots calling in sick today (Tuesday).

This has led to more than 100 flights being cancelled and 26 from Palma being delayed, in some cases until the early hours of tomorrow.

The airline is furious with this apparently concerted action by pilots as not only will it cost the struggling airline millions of euros, it comes just a few days before the deadline for  interested bidders to submit offers to take the business over.

Whilst the company sees this action as sabotage, the pilot’s union has indicated that not only does it support the sick pilots, but it expects to see more workers falling sick over the coming days.

Ryanair boss Michael O’Reilly who indicated that he was interested in taking over the struggling airline has already complained that a loan of €150 million from the German Government to help Air Berlin to continue to fly is a thinly disguised bid to help German interests including Lufthansa put their bids together.

Air Berlin has made the following statement on its website;

“Airberlin is currently seeing an exceptional high number of sickness reports of their pilots. For this reason a number of flights will have to be cancelled today. We regret the inconvenience for our passengers.

“Passengers are kindly asked to check the status of their flight before travelling to the airport: www.airberlin.com/flightstatus. Passengers holding tickets for cancelled flights will be offered other travel options. Affected passengers are kindly asked not to come to the airport and to call the airberlin Service Center.”

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