Rash of sick pilots grounds Air Berlin flights

German investor bids 500 mln euros for Air Berlin

German investor bids 500 mln euros for Air Berlin

The German airline Air Berlin canceled more than 110 flights on Tuesday because of a high number of sick leaves.

Lufthansa's low-priced division Eurowings - which is wet-leasing Airbus A320-family jets from Air Berlin - has been affected.

"No company could possibly be seen in a worse light than Air Berlin today", Chief Operations Officer Oliver Iffert said in a internal memo to staff seen by Reuters.

Passengers booked to travel on the cancelled services as part of a package deal should contact their tour operator, Air Berlin said in a statement.

Shortly after the insolvency announcement bidders lined up to acquire Air Berlin's assets with major European airline Lufthansa the most likely.

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"We are now conducting final talks with potential investors".

"Besides, long-haul flights are not affected as Air Berlin is not operating any Airbus A330 on behalf of Eurowings". It is essential that operations be stable in order for these negotiations to go well.

The financial support given by the German Government will keep Air Berlin flying for 90 days. "That is the only way to secure as many jobs as possible", Mr Winkelmann said.

An estimated one-sixth of the airline's 1,500 pilots called in sick on Tuesday, which is likely to represent one-third to one-half of the total rostered to work. Germany's government has backed a €150 million ($179 million) bridging loan, and talks with potential investors are under way.

Board member Christine Behle states: "All talks about insolvent Air Berlin revolve around economical interests, but not the jobs of more than 8,000 employees".

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