One week in aviation is a long time… let alone a couple.
On February 10 Finnair executives were in jubilant mood when the Nordic carrier launched its latest premium classes, as our editorial director Tom Otley reported.
But now the situation has changed dramatically.
Yesterday Finnair announced it was cancelling the bulk of its long-haul network because it will not be overflying Russia.
Ostensibly these cancellations were to last for one week but today Finnair said in a tweet that:
“The potential closure of Russian airspace would have significant impacts on Finnair : the company withdraws its guidance and is preparing for a prolonged situation.”
Aviation reporter Kurt Hofmann quotes CEO Topi Manner as saying that “Bypassing the Russian airspace lengthens flight times to Asia considerably and, thus, the operation of most [of] our passenger and cargo flights to Asia is not economically sustainable or competitive.”
"Bypassing the Russian airspace lengthens flight times to Asia considerably and, thus, the operation of most our passenger and cargo flights to Asia is not economically sustainable or competitive”, CEO @TopiManner says. pic.twitter.com/1tsha6EyvK
— Kurt Hofmann (@HofmannAviation) February 28, 2022
I recall travelling to interview Finnair for Business Traveller in 1988. It was an exciting time when the Nordic carrier was first to gain overflying rights for both USSR and China.
It meant Finnair’s fortunes changed overnight.
It meant this Nordic carrier could operate Helsinki-Beijing in around eight hours… previously a similar flight from Europe to China (taking a southerly route) might take 20 or more hours (including en route stops).
Over the past 30 years Finnair has grown from a niche airline to a force in Europe-Far East aviation.
Many travellers from Scandinavia and Europe connect to Asia via its Helsinki hub.
Judging by reader feedback Finnair is a favourite with many of you.
Of course nobody knows how the Ukraine situation will progress but other European carriers will also be affected although not to the same degree.
Here is our recent report as it concerns UK airlines.
Business Traveller will keep you updated.