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Dispute Looms

Potential Air Berlin pilots' strike puts Mombasa flights in doubt

Wolfgang H. Thome, eTN  Aug 18, 2010

(eTN) - Pilots of Air Berlin, presently operating charter flights to Mombasa and intending to add scheduled flights between the German capital and the Indian Ocean resort city of Mombasa, have voted almost unanimously for strike action, should the airline’s management not make an improved offer in their present round of pay and term/condition talks.

Strike action could start any time from now although added talks are scheduled according to a source in Germany for later in August and September. It appears that while most areas of dispute can be resolved amicably, the pilots' demand for a third pilot on board for long-haul flights is a position the airline vehemently opposes for cost reasons. Tour operators' sources in Mombasa were not able or willing to comment yet as to what an impact a strike would have on their tourism business, should one or several of the Air Berlin flights be affected by industrial action. Said one regular, "I have not even heard about this yet, let me find out more from the airline’s representative first before I can make a comment."

The news come hot on the heels of the airline announcing a rise of over 6 percent of passengers in a month on month comparison with the same period last year and continuously high loadfactors in excess of 80 percent for all their flights.

Air Berlin has in recent years established itself, through mergers and internal growth, as Germany's second airline after market leaders Lufthansa.

Potential Air Berlin pilots' strike puts Mombasa flights in doubt
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