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Finnair Delays Unveiling of New Business Class and Premium Economy Seats Because of Omicron Staff Sickness Surge

Finnair Delays Unveiling of New Business Class and Premium Economy Seats Because of Omicron Staff Sickness Surge

Finnair has decided to “slightly delay” the official unveiling of its brand new long-haul cabin which is expected to feature a revamped Business Class seat and the airline’s very first true Premium Economy Seat.

The Helsinki-based carrier has been teasing the new look cabin and products since early December 2021 and executives were expected to draw back the curtain on the seats and new design ethos later this month.

Instead, the event has been scrapped and will be rescheduled to an as yet to be decided later date. Finnair blamed “the current pandemic situation and restrictions in Finland” for the delay.

Restrictions in force in the Helsinki area currently include a ban on all public events and public meetings until the end of January 2022 at the earliest and a work from home recommendation for employees who are able to do so.

Restaurants must also shut by 6 pm and the sale and service of alcohol is prohibited after 5 pm. Finnair must also abide by these rules by shuttering its premium lounges at Helsinki airport and removing alcohol from sale on domestic flights.

On Wednesday, the airline said that Omicron-induced sickness amongst its workforce had become so bad that it would be forced to slash its flying schedule because there weren’t enough healthy or non-isolating staff available.

“Staff sick leave is now significantly impacting Finnair and airports in Finland as well as throughout the world,” commented Finnair’s chief commercial officer Ole Orvér. “We aim to meet these resourcing challenges through the cancellation of flights, to avoid last-minute changes and better manage our customers’ expectations.”

The airline plans to cut its February schedule by as much as 20 per cent and will delay the launch of its new service between Helsinki and Dallas until March 2022. The launch date of a new service to Nagoya will also be pushed back, while frequencies to Osaka, Singapore and Hong Kong are being cut back.

Finnair’s current long-haul cabins are dominated by a beige theme but the airline has teased a much darker colour palette with a rich dark blue dominating and accented by touches of gold.

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