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Finnair on Monday said it will reduce its capacity by 90 per cent in response to the sharp drop in passenger demand caused by the coronavirus outbreak and subsequent travel restrictions. (Mikko Stig – Lehtikuva)

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FINNAIR on Monday revealed it will adjust its operations considerably due to the sharp decline in passenger demand brought about by the coronavirus pandemic and reduce its capacity by 90 per cent as of 1 April.

The Finnish majority state-owned airline till thereby operate flights on no more than around two dozen routes as of the start of next month.

The capacity will be reduced gradually toward the targeted 90-per cent level, with anything between 1,500 and 2,000 flights set to be cancelled between 16 and 31 March. The airline typically operates roughly 110 routes and 12,000 flights a month.

The plan, it said, is to ramp the capacity back up once the situation starts to improve.

Topi Manner, the CEO of Finnair, said the coronavirus outbreak is affecting air travel dramatically, but the state-owned airline is determined to guarantee services on some of routes of great societal importance.

“We are monitoring how the situation develops closely and will be adding routes and flights to our operational plan based on demand. We hope to be able to revert back to normal operations as soon as the coronavirus situation has subsided,” he commented in a press release.

“We are very sorry about the inconvenience and uncertainty the situation has caused to the travel plans of our customers. These changes, however, are inevitable in these circumstances – as we cannot fly customers overseas when we cannot guarantee a return connection amid the rapidly changing situation.”

Finnair will only operate the following flights on a reduced schedule as of the start of next month, providing that no new entry or travel restrictions are imposed by authorities:

  • Kuopio, Mariehamn, Oulu and Rovaniemi in Finland
  • Ivalo, Kittilä and Kuusamo in Finland over the Easter period
  • Amsterdam (NL), Berlin (DE), Brussels (BE), Frankfurt (DE), London (GB), Munich (DE), Paris (FR), Stockholm (SE) and Zurich (SW) in Europe
  • Flights to Copenhagen (DN), Oslo (NO), Moscow (RU), St. Petersburg (RU), Riga (LV) and Tallinn (EE) are to resume once the relevant travel restrictions have been lifted.
  • Tokyo (JP)

The airline communicated yesterday that the dramatic cut in capacity will result in a significant operating loss in the ongoing fiscal year, adding that it will consequently suspend dividend payouts due to the extraordinary situation.

“It is clear that the coronavirus is the greatest crisis in the history of aviation,” stated Manner.

“The significant deterioration of our financial outlook is entirely attributable to the coronavirus situation. At the same time, Finnair has retained its solid competitiveness in a normal operating environment.”

Aleksi Teivainen – HT
Source: Uusi Suomi

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