Finnair has announced plans to shake-up its network as a result of the ongoing conflict in Ukraine.

The carrier’s focus on connecting Europe and Asia has been significantly affected in recent months due to the closure of Russian airspace, which has forced it to suspend some services and take longer routings on others.

Finnair has gradually resumed flights to Far Eastern destinations including Guangzhou and Hong Kong, but admitted that “flight times to Finnair’s Asian destinations are now considerably longer, weakening the profitability of the company”.

Finnair to resume flights to Guangzhou

As a result the carrier said it was “faced with a different competitive situation and the weight of the different markets in Finnair’s business is changing”, meaning that “significant structural renewal is required to be competitive”.

The new strategy unveiled this week will see the airline move towards “a geographically more balanced network connecting Europe to Asia, India and the Middle East, and North America via Finnair’s home hub Helsinki, including a continued strong domestic presence”.

This fits with recently announced plans for a new strategic partnership with Oneworld member carrier Qatar Airways, with new flights from Copenhagen, Helsinki and Stockholm to Doha, alongside a codeshare agreement and shared passenger and cargo capacity.

Finnair to launch flights from Copenhagen, Helsinki and Stockholm to Doha

Finnair also confirmed plans to reduce its fleet, without giving specific numbers, and said that it would look to “further leverage various partnerships, most notably Oneworld alliance and joint businesses, to strengthen distribution, network reach and product offering”.

“The changes in our operating environment require a new strategy and significant renewal of Finnair, especially related to costs”, said Finnair CEO Topi Manner.

“We have, however, an excellent foundation to build on: our excellent, differentiating product, strong safety culture, strong brand, our high-quality execution capabilities, our commitment to sustainability and our track record of adapting and renewing ourselves.”

“The target is to build a leaner Finnair that can return to the pre-pandemic levels of profitability. Reaching this will require profound change throughout the company.

“Especially during the hard pandemic years, the Finnair team has proven its ability to adapt and renew under the most challenging circumstances, and I am confident that we will reach our target as we now continue this journey. Together we can rebuild a Finnair that employees, customers and all Finns can continue to be proud of.”