Finnair is to increase the number of flights it operates by 20 per cent beginning in July as the airline looks towards a slow Corona crisis recovery. Since April, the Finnish flag carrier has only been operating around 10 per cent of its normal scheduled service due to travel restrictions and a lack of demand stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic.
The airline’s chief commercial officer, Ole Orvér said he expected the aviation industry to “recover gradually” beginning in July. “Our intention is to operate approximately 30% of our normal amount of flights in July, and we will also start long-haul flights to our key Asian destinations,” Orvér said of Finnair’s plans.
“We will then add routes and frequencies month by month as demand recovers,” he continued. Finnair’s strong focus on Asian destinations will see the carrier resume long-haul services to mainland Chinese destinations including Beijing and Shanghai. The airline is also eyeing a return to Hong Kong, although all three destinations will require regulatory approval before services can resume.
“Our recent customer survey shows that customers are already planning both business and leisure trips,” Orvér said of the pick up in demand. While many airlines have acknowledged a demand from leisure travellers, there remains concern that high yield business travel could take years to recover to anything like pre-Corona levels.
Remaining long-haul destinations planned by the airline in July include Nagoya, Osaka and Tokyo Narita in Japan; as well as Singapore, Seoul and Bangkok. Finnair signalled that passenger demand would be tempered but that the profitability of the routes would be supported by an increase in cargo demand.
By August, Finnair has pencilled in a return Delhi and New York, and by November a service to Tokyo Haneda should also be operating. This winter, Finnair also has flights to Miami, Krabi and Phuket.
European services will also be amped up and Finnair said it was planning a number of charter services to holiday hotspots in southern Europe,
Last week, Finnair published new rules for passengers planning to take flights with the airline in the coming months. Passengers will be expected to wear a mask for the duration of the flight, avoid unnecessary movement around the cabin and pack as little as possible in hand luggage.
While Finnair isn’t promising social distancing measures like blocking the middle seat, passengers will board the aircraft in groups from rear to front and will disembark from front to rear. At off-pier stands, Finnair will also cap the maximum occupancy of buses to just 50 per cent.
“I’m confident everyone also understands that they won’t be able to board a flight if there is the slightest suspicion of a Covid-19 infection or if they have respiratory symptoms,” explained Finnair’s head of customer experience Piia Karhu.
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.