October 7, 2016 / 2:56 PM / 10 months ago

Air Berlin cancels 50 flights due to TUIfly crew's sick leave

FRANKFURT, Oct 7 (Reuters) - Air Berlin said it cancelled around 50 flights on Friday due to a staffing shortage at TUI's carrier TUIfly, from which it leases some planes including crew.

A remaining roughly 40 Air Berlin flights that were meant to be operated by TUIfly on Friday were able to take off because Air Berlin called on staff to put in extra hours and leased additional aircraft from other airlines, it said in a statement.

Pilots and crew at TUIfly have been calling in sick this week, forcing the cancellation of dozens of flights, following news of plans to merge TUIfly with Air Berlin's leisure travel business.

Workers at TUIfly are concerned that a combination with part of Air Berlin in a holding led by Abu Dhabi-based Etihad, Air Berlin's biggest shareholder, could mean job and pay cuts, union Verdi said this week.

TUIfly had said late on Thursday it had to scrap 108 flights scheduled for Friday, bringing the total to around 180 cancellations this week. (Reporting by Maria Sheahan; Editing by Elaine Hardcastle)

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