Shares in Finnair have fallen over the past week amid intensifying fears about the spread of the coronavirus. (Heikki Saukkomaa – Lehtikuva)


SHARES in Finnair have continued to fall due to concerns related to the coronavirus, reports Helsingin Sanomat.

The Finnish state-owned airline saw its share value slide from 6.26 to 5.72 euros during the course of last week and further to 5.44 euros yesterday, most likely because investors began to wrap their heads around how fears about the spread of the deadly virus would affect the airline’s operations in China.

China, as well as the whole of Asia, is a key element of the growth strategy of Finnair.

Helsingin Sanomat on Monday highlighted that the flag carrier is already deriving roughly a half of its net sales from passengers who travel through its main hub, Helsinki Airport, en route to other destinations in Asia or Europe.

The airline is set to have over 100 weekly services to Asia by mid-2020, following the launch of services to Daxing International Airport in Beijing, China, and New Chitose Airport in Sapporo, Japan, in November and the upcoming launch of services to Gimhae International Airport in Busan, South Korea, and Haneda Airport in Tokyo, Japan.

China on Saturday announced it would suspend all tour groups and sales of flight and hotel packages to its citizens headed overseas in a bid to stop the spread of the coronavirus, which has sickened over 4,500 and killed at least 106 people in the country.

The decision could have a major impact also on other tourism industry operators. Statistics from Visit Finland indicate that Chinese visitors made over 340,000 overnight stays in the country between January and November 2019, signalling an increase of 14 per cent from the corresponding period one year earlier.

Almost 50,000 (47,000) of the stays took place in February.

Aleksi Teivainen – HT