DALLAS – After halting some service to Asia following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Finnair (AY) resumes operations to Tokyo Narita (NRT) on March 9.
The oneworld Alliance member plans to fly to Japan’s capital four times a week, with flights departing from Helsinki (HEL) on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays. Since the route will elude Russian airspace, the flight time will increase from 9 h 30 min to 13 h.
“We aim to keep offering secure and credible links connecting Helsinki and Tokyo even in this situation,” CCO Ole Orvér stated. “Japan is a major cargo market, and air connections are vital to keeping cargo moving.”
After Moscow invaded Ukraine, AY, whose long-haul business model hinges on using Russian airspace, halted passenger and/or cargo flights to Seoul, Osaka, Tokyo, Shanghai, and Guangzhou. The carrier continued to fly to Bangkok, Delhi, Phuket, and Singapore, albeit on a lengthier route that also avoids Russian airspace.
In addition to Helsinki, AY operates in Bangkok and Phuket from Stockholm Arlanda (ARN).
“We’re still assessing alternative routings for our trips to China and South Korea, and we’ll let you know as soon as we have something agreed on,” Orvér added.
The Furloughs within
Finnair met staff representatives on March 3 to discuss strategies for prospective 90-day furloughs, which would affect flight crews if enforced. Starting in April, further monthly furloughs for pilots are expected to range from 90 to 200, and for cabin staff, from 150 to 450.
The airline’s infrastructure is heavily reliant on passenger and cargo business between Europe and Asia. This traffic accounted for more than half of the carrier’s revenue prior to the pandemic.
Featured image: Finnair OH-LWB Airbus A350-900. Photo: Yifei Yu/Airways