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Political Strikes Take Their Toll On Finnair as Airline Swings to First Quarter Loss, Adjusts Annual Capacity Target

Political Strikes Take Their Toll On Finnair as Airline Swings to First Quarter Loss, Adjusts Annual Capacity Target

people sitting in a terminal waiting area

Finnair swung to a first-quarter loss for the period January to March 2024 as a wave of political strikes across Finland led to flight cancellations and disruption for the country’s flag carrier.

In February, Finnair said that it hoped to increase its annual capacity by more than 10% for 2024, but on Tuesday, the airline said it was adjusting that estimate down to around 10% with the focus remaining on building capacity in its key Asia and European markets.

The airline reported a Q1 loss of €11.6 million, compared to a profit of €0.9 million during the same period in 2023. Finnair blamed political strike across Finnair for the loss which had resulted in the airline carrying 100,000 few passengers than during the first three months of 2023.

Finnair also blamed lower cargo yields for the Q1 loss, with higher ancillary revenue unable to make up for the shortfall.

The strike action has also impacted Finnair’s on-time performance, while snowy weather, which was even impacting the carrier Helsinki hub on Tuesday, had also dragged on-time performance down to just 75% for Q1.

Finnair was badly affected by pandemic-era restrictions as Asia remain cut off from most of the rest of the world for a protracted period. When Asia did start to reopen, the airline was further hit by the closure of Russian airspace.

In an attempt to stem massive losses, Finnair embarked on a cost-cutting and transformation programme that helped the airline return to a full year profit of €254.3 million in 2023, helped massively by booming travel demand.

Finnair’s interim CE­O Jaakko Schild said on Tuesday that strict cost controls and lower fuel prices had helped to keep operating costs unchanged in 2023 and that travel demand, especially for the busy summer period, remains strong.

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