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Biz - Money

China's LinkGlobal joins bidding for Air Berlin - Business

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 local newspaper cited a letter of intent sent by Pang's company LinkGlobal to Air Berlin's management dated on Aug 31.

"We are informed," the letter of intent reads, that Air Berlin is looking for a "reliable investor for acquisition. We hereby express our interest and intention for this purpose."

Pang previously acquired the former German military airport Parchim, located between Berlin and Hamburg. He proposed shifting at least part of Air Berlin's activities to the currently disused site in his letter of intent, expressing confidence that such a move could be a "win-win for both Air Berlin and our Parchim airport."

The news of Pang's interest comes as Air Berlin is still reeling from mass flight cancellations caused by pilots calling in sick as a form of protest. At least 32 flights have to be canceled so far on Wednesday, mainly at Berlin-Tegel and Dusseldorf airports.

In response, Air Berlin CEO Thomas Winkelmann accused pilots of "playing with fire."

"We are currently in final discussions with investors," he said, warning that cancellations were costing the already bankrupt firm "millions of euros."

Air Berlin is Germany's second largest airline and employs over 8,000 staff members. The German government has provided the insolvent company with a credit facility of 150 million euros ($179.8 million) to ensure continuity of operations until a buyer is found.

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