A London-bound Finnair aircraft at the gate at Helsinki Airport on Monday, 21 December 2020. (Roni Rekomaa – Lehtikuva)

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THE RESUMPTION OF PASSENGER FLIGHTS from Great Britain to Finland will be postponed from 4 January to at least 11 January, under a decision made by the Finnish Transport and Communication Agency (Traficom).

The decision was made at the recommendation of the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) on Thursday.

Passenger flights from Great Britain to Finland were originally suspended for two weeks over concerns about a new, more transmissible variant of the coronavirus on 21 December. THL on Thursday stated in a press release that it believes the suspension should be extended by at least one week due to uncertainties linked to the epidemiology, extent of spread and countermeasures necessitated by the variant.

“The new viral variant represents a significant threat of a new pandemic, the spread of which to Finland should be prevented effectively,” it said.

Two people have tested positive for an infection caused by the variant after arriving in Finland from Great Britain. Another passenger had an infection caused by yet another, also possible more contagious, variant after arriving from South Africa.

Traficom said yesterday the decision on whether or not to extend the suspension beyond 11 January should be made based on new information received about the variant in the coming days. THL, it highlighted, has adopted various measures in co-operation with stakeholders to ensure everyone arriving from Great Britain to Finland can be identified and referred to testing and quarantine.

Helsingin Sanomat on Thursday wrote that Finnair has reduced its service frequency on the route from Helsinki and Great Britain. The return flights have been operated without passengers.

Päivyt Tallqvist, the director of communications at Finnair, told the newspaper that it remains premature to say what the service frequency will be next week. “We’ll evaluate the situation based on demand. We haven’t flown all of the flights in our plan so far either,” she commented.

Aleksi Teivainen – HT