Air Berlin cancels flights after pilots call in sick

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Bankrupt German airline Air Berlin has canceled dozens of flights, citing an "unusually high" number of pilots calling in sick.

"Air Berlin is now seeing an exceptional high number of sickness reports of their pilots".

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.

It prompted the airline to accuse them of sabotaging rescue talks with potential investors. "A stable operation is mandatory for these negotiations to succeed".

"That's the only way we can secure as many jobs as possible", he added.

The company had to cancel more than 110 flights out of a planned 750 on Tuesday because of the walkout.

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

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

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.

Lufthansa - which already leases 38 of Air Berlin's 140 planes - could buy up to 70 aircraft with as many as 3,000 crew for Eurowings, German media had reported. A decision on the fate of Air Berlin could come as quickly as September 21, three days before the German national election.

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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