Pilot action forces Air Berlin cancellations

swissinfo.ch and agencies/vdv
Air Berlin passengers wait for service at Berlin's Tegel airport, a hub for the airline, after numerous flights were cancelled Keystone

The airline Air Berlin has cancelled around 70 flights, including some at Zurich Airport, because of a pilot protest over the airline’s uncertain future.

A spokesperson for the carrier said that an unusually high number of pilots had called in sick to work on Tuesday, forcing Air Berlin to cancel flights including those to Düsseldorf and Berlin from Zurich. 

According to a report in Germany’s Bild newspaper, the pilots are responding to a decision by Air Berlin’s management to cut off negotiations over transferring 1200 pilots to a potential new buyer for the carrier. The previous owner Etihad announced Air Berlin’s insolvency in August, prompting uncertainty over its future and the search for a buyer. 

On its website, Air Berlin is encouraging passengers affected by the flight cancellations to call a service number for information and not come to the airport.

“Passengers holding tickets for cancelled flights will be offered other travel options,” the website states.

Air Berlin announced on Monday that it would end its flights to the Caribbean from Düsseldorf beginning September 24. This is due to a reduction in its long-haul airplane fleet as part of the insolvency proceedings.

Potential buyers for the airline have until September 15 to submit a bid.


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