Finnair's strategy based on long-haul flights between Europe and Asia is no longer tenable with Russian airspace closed

Finnair to lose weight as Russian airspace closure hits profits

Finnair’s strategy based on long-haul flights between Europe and Asia is no longer viable as Russian airspace is closed – Copyright AFP/File JULIEN DE ROSA

Finnish airline Finnair unveiled on Wednesday a new cost-cutting strategy, including reducing its fleet as the closure of Russian airspace hurts profitability.

The northern carrier’s strategy so far has been to serve as a bridge between Europe and Asia via a “short northern route” over Russia.

“Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the subsequent closure of Russian airspace, Finnair’s flight times to Asian destinations have increased significantly, reducing the company’s profitability,” the airline said.

The airline has kept in touch with Asia after the European Union’s decision to close its airspace to Russian aircraft and Moscow’s tit-for-tat response, but at the cost of hours of distraction and additional fuel costs.

As a result, Finnair said it was reviewing its strategy.

Among the measures announced, the company said it will add new destinations to achieve a “geographically more balanced network” as well as cut costs by about 15 percent from 2019 levels.

“The goal is to create a more economical Finnair that can return to pre-crisis levels of profitability,” said Finnair CEO Topi Manner.

Like many of its competitors, Finnair has been forced to take major cost-cutting measures to cope with the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

Finnair had 5,365 employees at the end of 2021, about 850 fewer than at the end of 2020 and 1,400 fewer than before Covid-19.

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