DALLAS – Finland’s national airline, Finnair (AY), has reported its first positive quarterly operating result for almost three years. Strong demand and an overhaul in its strategy have allowed the airline to post a profit of €35.2m (US$35m) for Q3 2022.
Passenger numbers increased by 255.9% to 2.8 million, with the passenger load factor growing to 80.1%.
In a statement, the airline said it had enjoyed growth in its European and North American networks. However, the closure of Russian airspace, plus the impact of inflation and high fuel costs, is still causing issues for the carrier.
“A Step in the Right Direction”
AY CEO Topi Manner said, “A positive operating result in the seasonally strongest third quarter is a step in the right direction, but we have a long journey ahead of us to nurse the company back to health.”
The CEO added, “Due to the combination of the heavy pandemic and the closure of Russian airspace, we are facing a uniquely difficult challenge. Thus, determined measures to implement our new strategy and to restore profitability at an annual level are vital.”
This new strategy was launched by AY last month in an attempt to return to profitability. This would see the airline slash its fleet, reduce its costs, and utilize its partner airlines through the Oneworld alliance to build a more balanced network.
Previously AY had developed a strong and lucrative network to Asia from its Helsinki (HEL) hub. Indeed, it became the first European airline to fly non-stop between Europe and China in 1988.
However, the Ukraine conflict and ensuing restrictions, plus the stringent covid regulations across Asia, have significantly impacted this part of AY’s operation. Manner explained, “The closed Russian airspace will significantly affect Finnair’s ability to make a profit in the long term.”
These impacts are still expected to give the airline a negative net result for their financial year of €37.2m “due to high financial expenses resulting from heavy indebtedness and exchange losses caused by the strong dollar,” Manner added.
Featured Image: AY Airbus A330-300 (OH-LTS). Photo: Kochan Kleps/Airways