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Pilot action forces Air Berlin cancellations
13 September 2017, 12:29 | Ruby West
An Air Berlin aircraft takes off from Duesseldorf airport
Air Berlin filed for insolvency in mid-August, after its main shareholder Gulf carrier Etihad pulled the plug on its cash lifeline.
The airline's chief executive, Thomas Winkelmann, accused pilots of "playing with fire", as the cancelled flights would cost the company several million euro, making it less attractive to potential buyers.
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.
On Sunday his company Intro offered 50 million euros immediately for the stricken airline, with up to 450 million euros of further payments "depending on performance", he said.
"A stable operation is an essential precondition for successful negotiations", Mr Winkelmann said.
Domestic and global flights have been affected, stranding passengers.
A spokesman for Eurowings, which leases 33 crewed planes from Air Berlin, said it also expected short-haul flight cancellations as a result of the sickness-related absences. "That's the only way we can secure as many jobs as possible".
The airline has been struggling for some time and over the past two years has announced losses amounting to 1.2bn euros (£1.1bn).
Lufthansa's low-priced division Eurowings - which is wet-leasing Airbus A320-family jets from Air Berlin - has been affected.
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".
This has the potential to unsettle any potential rescuers for Air Berlin, which filed for administration last month when it was given a €150m (£135m) loan by the German government.
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