Topi Manner, CEO and President of Finnair, said in a recent webinar that the airline is not going to change direction because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite the effects of the crisis, Finnair will remain focused on its long-term goals of maintaining connections between Europe and Asia.
Finnair remains focused on Asia post-COVID-19
In the webinar, hosted by Future Travel Experience, Finnair CEO and President, Topi Manner, stated that the airline wouldn’t change direction as a result of COVID-19. He said,
“Our philosophy in this situation is that, even during the hardest of times, if you have the financial standing for it, you need to stay focused on long term goals.
The Asian market remains important to Finnair, and China will remain as the airline’s core destination. It has been building its presence in China for 30 years and intends to continue doing so for the next 30 years. Altogether, the carrier anticipates a significant natural demand for travel between Europe and Asia. Mr. Manner said,
“As an airline, we’re all about connecting Europe and Asia. We think that this is a fairly good and sustainable choice, well into the future.”
It was reported on Thursday that Finnair had decided to partner with Shanghai-based Juneyao Airlines as part of its long-term strategy.
Finnair expects that it will take two to three years for passenger numbers to return to 2019 levels, in line with IATA estimates. If the forecasts are too optimistic or pessimistic, the airline maintains the flexibility to adjust their operations up or down accordingly.
Finnair to ramp up destinations in July
Last month, Finnair said it would start to ramp up operations from July 1st as countries begin to modify travel restrictions. It will initially operate six domestic routes, with four more to be added in August and September.
The airline will fly to major destinations in Scandinavia, Germany, and Switzerland from five to seven times a week. It will also operate twice daily connections from Helsinki to Amsterdam, London, and Paris.
Travelers with their sights set on Asia can choose from 11 weekly services to Japan. Also, there will be services to Singapore, Seoul, Bangkok, Hong Kong, Beijing, and Shanghai. The latter two destinations are subject to government approval.
In August, Finnair will resume flights to New York, its principal United States destination. After operating at 5% of its standard capacity from April to June, service levels will rise to around 20% in July.
Finnair boosts economy and sustainability
According to Finnair, rebuilding its network has had some positive effects. Its versatile fleet enables the airline to leave its larger and older aircraft parked. While the Airbus A350 will be serving long haul routes, its smaller, narrow-body planes will provide services across Europe.
Where possible, the airline will be using the newer A320 aircraft, which have a lower carbon footprint than its older planes. Finnair’s manager of traffic analysis, Aaron McGarvey said,
“We’re parking our older aircraft and trying to utilize our newer, more fuel-efficient planes.”
Simple Flying reported last month that Finnair had converted passenger aircraft for freight operations to sustain its cargo business during the crisis.
Do you think Finnair’s optimism is justified? Let us know in the comments.