Today, Finnair announced that it would be flying to 51 European and Asian destinations during the winter of 2020/21. The airline has trimmed its winter flight schedule in response to reduced customer demand due to the widespread international travel restrictions.
Finnair reduces its winter schedule
In a press release issued on October 6, Finnair announced that it has cut back its winter flight schedule in line with customer demand. The carrier is responding to the temporary reduction in demand caused by the resurgence of COVID-19 cases and the reintroduction of travel restrictions in many countries.
From October 25, 2020, through March 31, 2021, Finnair will operate to 51 destinations, with short-haul flights to 45 European and domestic destinations. The airline will reduce the weekly frequency of the flights on most of these routes. The airline will operate long-haul passenger flights to Bangkok, Hong Kong, Nanjing, Seoul, and Tokyo, which are also important destinations for Finnair’s cargo services. Cargo-only flights to New York and Singapore will continue during the winter period.
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Ole Orvér, Finnair’s Chief Commercial Officer, said,
“We continue to maintain critical air connections for our Europe-Asia transfer passengers and for Finland. The pandemic situation and the related travel restrictions continue to have a heavy impact on demand for air travel, and thus it is not feasible to operate all the flights we in May planned for this winter.”
The airline now plans to operate around 75 flights a day from November to March. However, it will continue to review the schedule according to passenger demand and the ever-changing worldwide travel restrictions. Last month, Finnair announced that it was cutting its October flight schedule by more than half.
In contrast, last year, the Helsinki-based carrier flew to over 100 destinations in Europe, Asia, and North America, with around 350 flights per day.
Increased flight schedule for summer 2021
Finnair also updated its preliminary flight schedule for the 2021 summer season, which begins on April 1. The new route to Busan in South Korea, which was due to start this year, will now open in summer 2021. The airline will also begin flights to Tokyo Haneda Airport next year. However, flights to Beijing Daxing and Xi’an in China, Sapporo in Japan, and San Francisco in the US will continue to be suspended.
“Our network will expand and we will increase weekly frequencies during the spring. We continue to follow the demand outlook and will be updating the summer 2021 traffic program accordingly in early 2021. We of course hope that travel restrictions and the pandemic situation will alleviate by then, so that we can increase our flight offering.”
Finnair tries to weather the COVID-19 storm
Finnair has repeatedly tried to increase its flight schedules since the aviation industry appeared to be emerging from the global pandemic. In June, the airline doubled its traffic from the May figures, but it was still 96% down compared to last year. As cases of the virus began to surge again in August, the carrier was forced to revise its September schedule downwardly. In the face of the ongoing crisis, the airline looked to cut costs, including plans to cut around 1,000 jobs.
Hopefully, Finnair can weather the storm through the winter and go ahead with plans to expand its services from spring 2021.
Will you be affected by Finnair’s reduced winter schedule? Let us know in the comments.