LONDON – Finnish national carrier Finnair (AY) has announced it will defer deliveries of its remaining three Airbus A350-900 aircraft due to low demand caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The carrier said that this was part of the airline’s “comprehensive measures to ensure that the company can emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic as a strong airline.” The three aircraft in question were due between the second quarter of next year and the second quarter of 2022 originally.
Instead, the aircraft will be delivered in 2Q23 and 2Q24 respectively, which will save the airline around €200m going into the next year.
Financial Preservation Key
Commenting on the news was Christine Rovelli, Senior VP of Finance and Fleet Management at AY who stated that such negotiations over deferrals were intense.
“Finnair has been in intensive negotiations with all of its suppliers during the COVID-19 pandemic, seeking to reduce expenditures in order to support our ramp-up plans when traffic recovers. This agreement will give us more flexibility to deploy the existing fleet more efficiently and improve cash flow.”
One of its suppliers will of course be Airbus, which if negotiations are intense, suggests that the manufacturer may not be able to afford further deferrals on deliveries.
Current A350 Fleet
According to Planespotters.net, the airline currently owns a fleet of 16 Airbus A350-900s being the following aircraft delivered between October 2015 and September this year:
Such A350s operate on services to the likes of Hong Kong (HKG), London Heathrow (LHR), Nanjing (NKG), Seoul (ICN), Shanghai (PVG), and Tokyo Narita (NRT). As far as we know, the airline will be launching services to Krabi (KBV) on January 6 next year followed by Phuket (HKT) on January 2 next year.
A350s in the AY fleet delivered between October 2015 to April 2017 offer more Business Class seats than the ones delivered between June 2017 and present day. OH-LWA to OH-LWH seat 46 in Business, followed by 43 in Premium Economy as well as 208 in Economy whereas Oh-LWI to OH-LWR sits 32 in Business, 42 in Premium Economy and 262 in Economy.
A Sensible Move…
Like with other carriers around the world, AY has taken the initiative in order to bring overheads down not just this year but going into 2021.
This is because the COVID-19 pandemic appears to be far from over and such cash preservation is needed in order to stay afloat and running sufficiently.
It will be interesting to see whether the airline will launch KBV and HKT at the start of next year, or whether AY will defer accordingly.
Featured Image: OH-LWA, a Finnair Airbus A350-900. Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons