Finnair Expands Europe-Asia Network

DALLAS — European airline Finnair (AY) has announced new connections and frequencies to be added to its current network effective for the summer season of 2024. The airline keeps growing at a good pace despite the Russian airspace closure, which caused the most severe crisis in AY’s history.

Finnair has updated its traffic plan from March 31 to October 26, 2024, in response to the global travel demand and has started adding more frequencies between its large hub in Helsinki (HEL) and the country of Japan. Specifically, AY will add more flights to two of its most profitable destinations: Tokyo (HND/NRT) and Osaka (KIX), both important hubs for partner Japan Airlines (JL).

Additionally, the Finnish carrier will increase connectivity to destinations in Scandinavia and Central Europe, including cities like Tromso (TOS) and Trondheim (TRD) in Norway, as well as Stockholm-Arlanda (ARN) and Billun (BLL) in Sweden and Denmark, respectively. As well, Finnair will introduce a new route to Worclaw (WRO) as part of its expansion in Poland with flights to Krakow (KRK) and Gdansk (GDN).

Ole Orvév, Chief Commercial Officer at Finnair, said regarding the expansion, “We are delighted to introduce Wroclaw as a new destination. We believe Wroclaw is not only a welcome addition for business travelers but also an intriguing leisure destination for people looking for a city break in a picturesque setting.”

Finnair has recently changed the inflight experience on board its aircraft, both in the short-haul and long-haul networks. Photo: Adrian Nowakowski/Airways

Optimistic Traffic Figures in May 2023

Last month, AY carried 960,400 passengers on all of its flights, which represents a 23.4% increase compared to May 2022, and 10.6% more than in April 2023. The carrier feels strong about its results and hopes that the summer 2023 season will perform as well as expected, despite the complications provoked by the closure of Russian airspace last year for EU airlines.

Overall, the Available Seat Kilometres (ASK), which measures the airline capacity, increased by more than 20 points in May. Only in Asia, the ASK suffered a brutal increase of 72% compared to last year, which means that Finnair’s changing strategies on Siberian flights are performing well, despite having to avoid Russian territory on flights to Japan, South Korea, China, and Singapore.

Finnair has seen a significant decrease by 32% in capacity on flights to North America, as the operations from the Stockholm-Arlanda (ARN) hub had been discontinued in October 2022, focusing almost exclusively on their long-haul flights out of Helsinki.

Today, Finnair has changed the role of the Airbus A330, eliminating it completely from the Asian route network. Photo: Adrian Nowakowski/Airways

Finnair’s Recovery from the Russian Blockade

As the territory of Finland is located just on the direct path connecting Europe and East Asia, AY has always directed its strategy towards offering quick and convenient connection itineraries between these two large economic regions for tourists and business travelers.

Now, after Russia has banned EU airlines from overflying its airspace for more than a year now, AY has been one of the most affected carriers, forced to avoid Siberia on routes to Asia, increasing flight times and fuel usage to operate them.

Fortunately, the airline has devised a strategy that will completely alter its aircraft operations and inflight experience, discarding its fleet of Airbus A330s on trans-siberian flights, and destining them to third-party leasing agreements and flights to North America, for the most part.

You can check out the complete report on Finnair’s Network Strategy, published recently during our visit to the airline’s headquarters on board their brand-new Airbus A350 Business Class product.

Featured image: Adrian Nowakowski/Airways

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