Air Berlin Cancels 100 Flights After Pilots Call in Sick

German carrier Air Berlin aircrafts are

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.

Chief executive Thomas Winkelmann said the pilots in question were "playing with fire".

Because the carrier no longer offers compensation for cancelled flights, customer advice centres recommended that people affected by the strike book replacements at their own expense. At least 32 flights have to be canceled so far on Wednesday, mainly at Berlin-Tegel and Dusseldorf airports.

"Today has cost us several million euros".

Air Berlin filed for bankruptcy on August 15 after losing support of its former shareholder, nited Arab Emirates' Etihad Airways.

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The mass "sick-out" comes ahead of a Friday deadline for potential investors to submit bids for Air Berlin assets. "That's the only way we can secure as many jobs as possible".

On its website, Air Berlin cited "operative reasons" for the cancellations on Tuesday, and asked passengers to call a helpline and refrain from travelling to the affected airports.

In the meantime, the airline has been kept aloft by a hastily-agreed 150-million-euro loan from the German government.

Other airlines, Ryanair included, are already waiting on the outcome of the conflict in an attempt to acquire a portion of Air Berlin's most profitable routes.

Christine Behle, the federal president of the United Service Union, Verdi, claimed talks about a sale of Air Berlin had not focused on the 8,000 employees and that workers were "increasingly perceived as part of a game of purely economic and political interests".

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