Finnair has warned that the industrial action planned for Friday, 10 March, in the labour dispute between the Finnish Aviation Union (IAU) and Service Sector Employers (Palta) is set to have a considerable impact on its operations.
The strike and sympathy strikes, it points out, are set to take place during one of the busiest times of day at airports, between 3pm and 7pm.
Jaakko Schildt, the chief operating officer at the state-owned carrier, states that if the airport security and ground handling staff follow through with their strike warning, the airline will be forced to cancel dozens of flights on Friday. Finnair, he adds, is currently working on an alternative traffic plan and will announce the cancellations during Wednesday and Thursday.
“We will inform customers whose flights are cancelled directly with text messages and do our best to find a suitable re-routing for them,” he promises in a press release.
Finnair also reminds that passengers with bookings on Friday or on either of the two other dates affected by the possible strikes – 14 March and 17 March – will be allowed to change their travel date until 2 April.
The strikes are expected to inflict losses of millions of euros on the state-owned airline, according to the press release.
“It is extremely unfortunate that the strikes can disrupt the travel plans of thousands of Finnair customers during a very busy winter travel season,” laments Schildt. “We also hope that the strike will not affect the image of Finland as a travel destination.”
Finnair adds that the planned strikes are also set to disrupt catering and baggage handling services, forcing it to scale down its on-board meal and drink services on both domestic and continental flights.
The airline also reiterates its recommendation that passengers who are able to do so should travel only with hand luggage in order not to be affected by the expected disruptions in baggage handling services on 10 March. Normal size and weight limitations will be applied to hand luggage irrespective of the special circumstances, it reminds.
Aleksi Teivainen – HT
Photo: Vesa Moilanen – Lehtikuva