Finnair said on Wednesday that it intends to temporarily layoff employees for between 14 to 30 days as the impact of the global Coronavirus outbreak continues to hit the aviation industry. In a statement, the airline said the layoffs could affect all Finnair employees in Finland, as well as employees around the world including Hong Kong, China and South Korea.
Negotiations with employee trade unions surrounding the temporary layoffs are set to begin on March 12 and are expected to last for around two weeks. At the end of February, Finnair issued a profits warning because of the Coronavirus outbreak, with the airline’s chief executive Topi Manner saying it was “difficult to foresee how the situation will evolve during the coming months”.
Finnair has focused its strategy on Asia in the last few years, advertising itself as the shorter Northern route to get between the continent and Europe. Despite the Coronavirus hitting China and South Korea the hardest, Finnair says it still “strongly believes” in its Asia-focused strategy.
The Helsinki-based airline has suspended operations to five destinations in mainland China, with services to Guangzhou, Nanjing, Beijing Capital, Beijing Daxing, Shanghai, Xi´an now cancelled until at least April 30.
Flights to Hong Kong continue but have been halved to just one daily service for the whole of April on the back of weakened demand.
In addition, Finnair has now announced it will cancel its services to Osaka, Japan and Seoul, South Korea. A new route between Helsinki and Busan, South Korea has been pushed back from March all the way to July 1.
In Europe, Finnair has cancelled flights to the northern Italian city of Milan until April 7 citing an updated travel advisory from the Finnish foreign ministry for its decision.
Manner says the airline will attempt to cut costs by between €40 to €50 million in response to Coronavirus uncertainty.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.