Unacceptable for pilots to put Air Berlin fate at risk - minister

Reuters

Reports in the German media have said that the airline is in a dispute with its pilots about the transfer of staff to a new owner.

"I think Air Berlin is in a decidedly hard situation at the moment and the pilots, with their behaviour, are putting at risk a reasonable handover or sale".

In response, Air Berlin CEO Thomas Winkelmann accused pilots of "playing with fire".

Intro wants "Air Berlin as a whole" rather than buying up chunks, Woehrl emphasised, urging other potential buyers nosing around the airline like Lufthansa, Condor, TUI, Germania and Austrian former Formula One driver Niki Lauda to join his offer.

Air Berlin declared bankruptcy last month following years of losses and the decision of its biggest shareholder, Gulf airline Etihad, to cease payments.

"A stable operation is an essential precondition for successful negotiations, " Winkelmann said.

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"Today is a day that the existence of Air Berlin is threatened", wrote Air Berlin chief operations officer Oliver Iffert in an internal memo.

Air Berlin announced on Monday that it would end its flights to the Caribbean from Düsseldorf beginning September 24.

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".

"At the moment more than 110 flights have been canceled, with about 12,000 passengers affected", the spokeswoman said.

In order not to leave travellers stranded during the busy summer season, the German government agreed to provide a bridging loan of 150 million euros to keep the airline flying for three months.

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