Insolvent Air Berlin said it has cancelled around 70 flights so far on Tuesday, affecting both its own operations and flights it carries out for Lufthansa's Eurowings, after pilots called in sick in unusually high numbers.
Flights from Air Berlin's key hubs in Berlin and Dusseldorf were especially badly hit by cancellations, the airline said.
About 100 flights had been cancelled by late Tuesday morning after 200 Air Berlin pilots called in sick.
Representatives from pilots' union Vereinigung Cockpit were not immediately available for comment.
After losing the lifeline of regular cash infusions from Gulf carrier Etihad in June, Air Berlin filed for insolvency on August 15.
Parties interested in buying its assets have until Friday to submit binding offers. "That is the only way to secure as many jobs as possible", Mr Winkelmann said.
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"Besides, long-haul flights are not affected as Air Berlin is not operating any Airbus A330 on behalf of Eurowings".
Air Berlin, Germany's second largest carrier, has been forced to suspend over a hundreds flights after a large portion of its pilots failed to report for duty.
About 150 pilots called in sick today, Air Berlin said.
The flight cancellations represent a "massive threat" to Air Berlin's insolvency proceedings, in the view of the carrier's court-appointed executive director Frank Kebekus. But a loan from the German government is keeping the carrier afloat while attempts are made to sell off parts of the airline.
Nuremberg-based Woehrl first rose to prominence when he bought airline Deutsche BA from British Airways for a symbolic one euro in 2003, later selling it to Air Berlin.
Ryanair said on Tuesday that Air Berlin could be of interest to the Irish low-priced carrier but it didn't want to wait until after Lufthansa had finished talks.
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