Finnish carrier Finnair will be temporarily suspending its Helsinki-Chongqing service between Jan 11 and May 2, 2017 as it looks to create room for pilot training for its Airbus A350 operations. The move follows the carrier’s planned acquisition of additional A350 aircraft in 2017, which will require its A330 pilots go through A350 training, putting a strain on its pilot resources as they are pulled away from regular flight duties.

The airline and travel agencies will be contacting customers with confirmed bookings on the affected flights to offer rerouting, travel date changes or refunds.

Speaking about the change Finnair’s COO. Jaakko Schildt, said: “We apologise for the disruption this is causing to our customers’ travel plans and will do our very best to find a suitable solution for each passenger, during this temporary period when we do not operate to Chongqing.”

The Helsinki-Chongqing service is expected to resume May 3, 2017 and will return to normal year-round operations.

Along with the suspension of the service to Chongqing, Finnair will be wet leasing an A340 aircraft from Portuguese charter airline Hi Fly for its Helsinki-New York route as part of its A350 pilot training next year, in addition to cancelling some of its Helsinki-Nagoya flights next Spring. Finnair will be deploying the A340 on its New York service from November 3, 2016 to January 8, 2017.