Air Berlin furious as 'ill pilots' force flight cancellations

German investor bids 500 mln euros for Air Berlin

Departures information on Air Berlin's website showed flights cancelled from a range of German airports including Berlin Tegel, Duesseldorf, Hamburg and Cologne.

Both domestic and global flights were affected, including links between Berlin and Los Angeles or Dubai.

The Gulf-based company said last month the decline of Air Berlin was "extremely disappointing", especially as it had provided extensive support to the German carrier over the past six years, notably with a €250m (£227m) cash injection in April this year.

Some 200 of its 1,500 pilots suddenly called in sick.

"We are in the middle of final negotiations with potential investors".

"VC is convinced that talks about a social plan for an orderly staff transfer is the only way to safeguard as many jobs as possible", says the union, adding that it has urged its members at Air Berlin to honour obligations in their labour contracts unless there is an "acute reason" to call in sick.

The airline had for years struggled for survival, and booked losses amounting to 1.2 billion euros ($1.4 billion) over the past two years.

In an internal memo, chief operations officer Oliver Iffert said: "We must return to stable operations". The measure comes as pilots have called in sick in curiously high numbers.

Air Berlin has announced it will end long-haul flying, which many crew regard as the best option - it offers higher earnings and, for some, a better lifestyle.

"The fear and anger among Air Berlin staff is escalating because the future of whole families are at stake".

Air Berlin continues to fly during the preliminary insolvency proceedings due to an EU-approved loan of EUR€150 million (USD$179 million) agreed at the beginning of September.

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