Finnair has cut back its flight schedule for the upcoming winter season and is planning to increase flights next year.

“The update comes as the airline responds to a temporary softening of demand in the market due to widespread travel restrictions,” reads a statement from the carrier.

Starting from October 25, 2020 to March 31, 2021, Finland’s national carrier will serve 45 domestic and European destinations with reduced weekly frequencies on almost all routes.

Finnair will operate long-haul international flights to Tokyo, Seoul, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Nanjing and Bangkok, which it says are also important cargo destinations.

On the Bangkok route, Finnair will only fly passengers on the inbound Bangkok-Helsinki sector. Finnair will also continue cargo-only flights to Singapore and New York.

“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,” said Ole Orvér, Finnair chief commercial officer.

The airline says it will temporarily close its lounge at the Schengen area of Helsinki Airport due to low customer numbers.

Between November 2020 to March 2021, Finnair says it is scheduled to operate approximately 75 flights per day, and it will continue to review its traffic program based on estimated demand “as the changing travel restrictions continue to impact demand for air travel”.

In 2019, Finnair flew about 350 flights a day and had more than 100 destinations in Europe, Asia and North America.

The carrier says it is allowing flexibility in changing travel dates for all flights booked between 1 April 2020 and 31 March 2021.

“Affected Finnair customers will be contacted directly by the airline and offered an alternative flight wherever possible. Customers can also opt for a full refund of the ticket, if the new flight offered is not suitable,” reads a statement from the airline.

More flights planned for summer 2021

Finnair has also updated its preliminary flight schedule for the summer season 2021, which starts on 1 April 2021.

The carrier is planning to open its new Busan route to South Korea in the summer season 2021. Finnair also intends to start services to Tokyo Haneda Airport during the summer.

However, flights to San Francisco in the United States, Xi’an and Beijing Daxing in China and Sapporo in Japan will remain suspended, says the airline.

“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.”