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Finnair to Cut Nearly 4% of Staff Worldwide in Bid to Return to Profitability

Finnair to Cut Nearly 4% of Staff Worldwide in Bid to Return to Profitability

Finnair is to cut up to 200 jobs worldwide as part of a major strategy change from the airline that will see it shift flights away from Asia for a more “geographically balanced” route network, connecting Europe with Asia, India, the Middle East and North America through its Helsinki hub.

In a bid to return to probability, the embattled Finnish flag carrier hopes to cut costs by as much as 15 per cent. Chief executive Topi Manner warned earlier this month when the strategy was unveiled that a turnaround would “require profound change throughout the company.”

The airline has now revealed that it could axe as many as 200 management roles worldwide, although most redundancies will be in Finland. Negotiations will affect around 770 employees in Finland who work in executive, management and undefined ‘expert’ roles.

“Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the closed Russian airspace have impacted our business significantly. Thus, in addition to other actions to restore Finnair’s profitability, we have to discuss measures that are, unfortunately, the most painful ones for our employees,” Manner said on Thursday.

Before the devastating effects of the pandemic, Finnair had successfully built its business around linking Europe and Asia via the ‘short Northern route’ which used large swathes of Russian airspace.

That strategy had already been badly damaged by COVID-19 travel restrictions but was rendered completely defunct when Russia closed its airspace to Finnish commercial aircraft in a tit-for-tat political move.

As a result, flying via Helsinki to get from Europe to Asia and vice versa can now take longer than flying via any other European airline hub.

A spokesperson for the airline confirmed that redundancy negotiations did not include pilots, cabin crew or frontline employees. Finnair does, however, plan to downsize its capacity and the airline said would be discussing “changes in employment terms” with staff across the business to help reduce costs.

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