Finnair has reviewed its strategy and reorientated itself towards markets in South and Southeast Asia while increasing frequencies to the United States. This was a strategic move by the carrier following the closure of the Russian airspace for EU airlines, explains Javier Roig, Director France and Southern Europe of Finnair to ITB Asia News.
“We have to open another chapter.” After establishing its reputation as a ‘niche company‘ with the shortest flights between Europe and Asia, the challenging geopolitical situation has forced Finnair to completely rethink its model. “We had to work on a new strategy that takes into account the flight ban in Russian airspace,” explains Javier Roig.
Finnair has therefore revised its network and suspended the service on secondary routes, in particular to Japan and China. This includes non-stop flights from Helsinki to Fukuoka, Nagoya, Osaka-Kansai. In China, Finnair used to serve seven destinations, including Daxing, Beijing new airport. With longer flying times, Finnair decided to concentrate on trunk routes.
“We are not giving up on Asia. We are still flying to Hong Kong, Guangzhou, Seoul, Shanghai and Tokyo Haneda- which replaces our flight to Narita. We are also focusing more on South and Southeast Asia, where we remain competitive compared to other companies in terms of frequencies and product. We serve Delhi and Mumbai in India as well as Bangkok, Phuket and Singapore in the ASEAN. We have put our Airbus A350-900 with the new business class and the brand new Economy Premium on Singapore. It will also arrive for Bangkok in November “, says Javier Roig.
The new business class and premium economy were launched earlier in 2022. According to Roig, the whole fleet of long-haul aircrafts will be equiped with the new cabins by early 2024. “The new product helped us get voted the Best Airline in Northern Europe by air travellers at the World Airline Awards by Skytrax in 2022,” highlights Roig.
Another new area of development is the launch of routes to Doha in partnership with Qatar Airways. “Here too, it is a question of maximizing the use of our fleet. We will thus be offering three daily flights in the A330 from Copenhagen, Helsinki and Stockholm”, the Director of Southern Europe adds. In Doha, Asian travellers can connect in Doha on Finnair flights from all Asian destinations served by the Qatari carrier.
With an expanding network in the United States – in particular the opening of Dallas, and aircraft rentals to other airlines, Finnair hopes to return to profit in 2023. “It would be a good sign because the company will celebrate its 100th anniversary next year,” tells Javier Roig.