German carrier TUIfly has cancelled around 98 flights scheduled for Friday. The cancellations occurred after all their flight crews called in sick on "extremely short notice."
German airline TUIfly, a subsidy of tour operator TUI announced the cancellation of almost all its Friday flights in a statement on Thursday.
The affected flights include 49 departures from Germany and 49 return flights from various vacation destinations.
Around 9000 passengers will be impacted by the cancellations, a spokeswoman with the airline's parent company, TUI said.
"TUI has chartered airplanes from other airlines in order to bring vacationers home from holiday resorts," the company said. Further cancellations could be expected over the next few days.
The carrier had initially stated that all 108 flights on Friday were cancelled. However, 10 flights will take place using rented aircrafts and a provisional crew. Four flights will go to the Turkish resort city Antalya, while the other will fly to Palma de Mallorca. All respective return journeys will also take place. Scheduled flight times are subject to disruption.
"All other flights from Germany, Austria and Switzerland scheduled for October 7 are cancelled due to crew shortages," TUIfly announced on its website.
The decision to cancel flights came after all of TUIfly's cabin crew and pilots called in sick. According to TUI, the crew gave "extremely short notice" to the airline, making it impossible "to inform customers earlier and offer alternative travel plans."
The airline has seen less severe disruptions in recent days, with 47 of Thursday's TUIfly flights cancelled due to crews reporting themselves sick.
The mass crew call-offs come amidst rising concerns over the company's future and the future of its 2,400 employees. On Wednesday, the struggling German airline Air Berlin announced it would hold talks with TUI and the Abu Dhabi-based Etihad on possibly merging some of the company's business with TUIfly.
According to earlier statements from a TUI spokesperson, the collective bargaining agreements at TUIfly as well as the company's headquarters in Hannover would not be endangered by the possible reorganization.
Nicoley Baublies, a tariff expert with the cabin crew union UfO, criticized the company's job assurances.
In an interview with German radio station "SWR Info," he said TUIfly and Air Berlin cannot give any guarantees" because the companies themselves have said "they will only be minority shareholders" should reorganization take place.
rs, dm/bw, kl (AP, dpa, Reuters)