DALLAS — Finnair (AY) has repeatedly taken the spotlight for being the biggest victim of the Ukraine crisis, with the entire Russian airspace shut off for its use.
While it was a severe shock to them earlier this year, as months went by and for 2023, a jiffy away, “time” has surely got the carrier to go above and beyond to redesign its operations in order to survive and generate profit.
Finnair has tried and tested several strategies, one being the deployment of its largest aircraft, the Airbus A350, on several short-haul routes within Europe. Airways’ Siddharth Ganesh talks to AY’s Communications Manager, Pauliina Palttala, about the latest from Helsinki.
Finnair is Changing
The airline’s communications head said that the company’s strategy is to return to profitability regardless of the closed Russian airspace. “We face a different competitive situation, and the weight of the different markets in Finnair’s business is changing.”
“Finnair’s new strategy focuses on building a competitive airline, with the target of reaching the pre-pandemic comparable EBIT level of at least 5% from mid-2024 and a sustainable balance sheet that allows the company to invest in the future,” Pauliina mentions.
Palttala continued, “For example, we now have a more geographically balanced network connecting Europe to Asia, India, the Middle East, and North America through Finnair’s home hub in Helsinki, and we optimize our fleet accordingly.”
“We aim to strengthen unit revenues through an enhanced digital offering, competitive products, and customer choice. We focus on partnerships, most notably oneworld Alliance and joint businesses, to strengthen distribution, network reach, and product offering.”
Short Haul on Widebody
The carrier’s widebody fleet consists of the A350 and the older A330s, each type serving specific long-haul markets. But as previously mentioned, the airline’s A350 is also flying within Europe.
The communications manager commented on the topic, “Currently, Finnair operates the A350 between Helsinki and London Heathrow almost daily. We also have one weekly frequency to Frankfurt operated by A350. When booking a ticket, it is good to note, though, that for operational reasons, the aircraft type may change even at very short notice”.
“We reduce unit costs by approximately 15%* from the 2019 level to be competitive in all markets. Our ambition to be one of the sustainability leaders in the aviation industry remains unchanged. Work towards these goals is ongoing.”
“New Mumbai and Doha routes are examples of a more geographically balanced network. During Q3 we have also taken significant steps forward in renewing distribution, and made a long-term IT contract with Amadeus to further improve the digital offering and customer choice for our product.”
Positive Year Ahead
“We have seen a positive trend in travel demand in 2022, and we predict it will continue in the short term. For the outlook for 2023, we will comment in connection with the financial statement for 2022,” she ended.
The Helsinki-Osaka route will reopen on March 26, 2023, as part of the carrier’s new “balanced network,” and will be operated three times per week by the Airbus A350. Besides its daily service to Tokyo Haneda, four weekly flights to Tokyo Narita will commence on March 27 and thereafter.
Daily flights will also be brought back on the Helsinki-Hong Kong and Helsinki-New Delhi routes. The possibility of adding a third Indian destination (besides DEL and BOM) also remains high. On comparing the number of flights, December stands 27% higher compared to back in January.
Featured Image: Francesco Cecchetti/Airways