The green shoots of recovery have begun to poke through in the figures at Finnair. The airline has today revealed that its passenger traffic more than doubled in June compared to May. However, overall traffic figures are still down 96% from the same month last year, showing just how far there is to climb back up from this crisis.
It’s refreshing to get a bit of good news in the aviation industry right now, and for Finnair, it’s all about the numbers. The airline’s June traffic figures, released today, show that twice as many people flew Finnair in June as did in May 2020. Overall, the increase was 107.2%, a marker of the airline’s increased schedule in Europe over the month.
In April, Finnair hit rock bottom, operating just 5% of its previously scheduled flights. This continued during May, although its cargo operations flourished, but has been ramping up in June to meet 30% of its usual services. June saw it returning to 19 European destinations, those which the airline views as ‘key centers’ for its operations.
This month, the airline will return to the UK, with twice-daily service from Heathrow to Helsinki. Manchester operations too will begin, likely four times per week for now, ramping up to daily by September. This month will also see it return to Asia, with various focus cities added to the network.
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Still a long way to go
Finnair’s passenger count for June of 55,200 passengers is down 96% from the same month last year. Measured in available seat kilometers (ASK), the airline’s capacity was down 96.9% year on year, and revenue passenger kilometers (RPK) down 98.4%. This reflects the much shorter segments being flown by Finnair as it focusses on Europe prior to its relaunch into Asia.
Load factors were understandably low too. In June, the load factor was 43.8%, down more than 42 percentage points from Finnair’s usual standard. Domestic flights performed slightly better on this metric, with a respectable load factor of 67.1%, only four percentage points down from the levels in 2019.
No flights operated into Asia during June, and only one flight went to North America. The load factor on that one flight as 8.1%, suggesting it was a special repatriation flight of some sort.
Although there’s still much to be done to get the Finnish powerhouse back where it should be, the cargo division has carried the airline through the darkest of times. Although available scheduled cargo tonne kilometers were down 99%, due to the lack of scheduled passenger flights, Finnair’s cargo-only missions saw 215 flights operate in June, carrying 3,817 tonnes of goods, often between Asia and Europe.
Demand for cargo flights remains high, as the industry struggles to replace the capacity that would normally be moved in the bellies of passenger planes. On cargo flights across the North Atlantic, Finnair registered a 100% load factor, showing just how important these services are right now.
We can expect better figures from Finnair in July, as the carrier begins its long-haul operations.