German minister urges Air Berlin pilots to drop walkout

Air Berlin cancels dozens of flights after filing for sick many pilots

It prompted the airline to accuse them of sabotaging rescue talks with potential investors. It is telling customers: "Affected passengers are kindly asked not to come to the airport".

It said at least 32 flights would be canceled on Wednesday, and that it was unable to operate 35 flights for Lufthansa's LHAG.DE budget airline Eurowings.

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. Air Berlin employs approximately 1,500 pilots.

Chinese businessman Jonathan Pang has joined a growing list of investors offering to buy the insolvent German carrier Air Berlin, German newspaper BILD reported on Wednesday.

The deadline for offers for the airline is Friday, with the creditors' committee hoping to make a decision on September 21.

The German government has provided the insolvent company with a credit facility of 150 million euros (179.8 million US dollars) to ensure continuity of operations until a buyer is found. "That's the only way we can secure as many jobs as possible".

"We must return to stable operations".

After losing £2m per day in 2016, and seeing its financial life-support cut off when Etihad abandoned its investment in the company in April, Air Berlin is in liquidation.

Germany's giant services sector union Verdi expressed solidarity with the absent pilots and warned that more workers could call in sick.

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

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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