Premium Economy Is Still Coming To Finnair Despite Delay

Finnair is expecting to launch its new premium economy in the next years, according to the airline’s CEO, Topi Manner. The Finnish flag carrier had initially been expected to launch the cabin in Q4 of 2020. The cabin comes as Manner says the premium leisure sector will be increasingly crucial for the airline moving forwards.

Finnair, Premium Economy, Airbus A350
While late, Finnair is still looking to introduce a premium economy cabin. Photo: Vincenzo Pace

Many airlines across the world offer a premium economy. Earlier this year, Lufthansa revealed how important the cabin was in terms of profit per space required. While Qatar remains adamant that it won’t introduce premium economy, its rival Emirates was finally swayed late last year.

Delayed by not forgotten

In November 2018, Finnair issued a press release revealing ambitions to launch a new premium economy cabin across the long-haul fleet. The rollout was supposed to begin in Q4 of 2020, being completed by the end of 2022. We’re now mid-way through 2021, and the cabin hasn’t arrived. The airline’s CEO, Topi Manner, revealed that this soon wouldn’t be the case while speaking at CAPA Live.

Manner commented,

“Going forward we are getting ready to introduce a new premium economy cabin class in our long-haul fleet during the next years”

Finnair, Premium Economy, Airbus A350
The airline had intended to begin its premium economy rollout in Q4, 2020. Photo: Vincenzo Pace – Simple Flying

Finnair has released very few details of the cabin, beyond explaining that it will be separated from the business and economy cabins. When asked if passengers would move up to the cabin from economy or down from business, Manner commented,

“I think that we will be seeing a little bit of both. We are certainly focused on the upsell, so people from economy moving to premium economy. When we look at the early indications of the demand coming back after the pandemic we see that there seems to be a willingness among customers to pay extra.”

While we don’t yet know what to expect from the cabin, given the trend at other airlines, we will likely see a slightly better product than the economy. That is to say, a less dense configuration, more legroom, and wider seats. The soft product would also be a step up from the economy offering.

Finnair, Premium Economy, Airbus A350
The airline sees premium leisure as an essential demographic moving out of the pandemic. Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Edit: Rohan Patel

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Premium leisure is key moving forwards

Moving forwards, Manner sees the premium leisure category as key to his operations. He explained that around 20% of the airline’s passengers were from the corporate travel market before the pandemic, accounting for approximately 30% of the airline’s revenues.

The premium economy cabin would certainly allow Finnair to maximize its profits. Currently, its flagship A350 aircraft have two cabins, economy, and business. Lufthansa recently revealed that premium economy is its highest-earning cabin. According to the German flag carrier, the cabin contributes 39% more per square meter than a business class seat.

When do you think we’ll find out more about Finnair’s planned premium economy cabin? Let us know what you think and why in the comments!