LONDON – Finnish national flag carrier Finnair (AY) has announced that it will begin to cut frequencies of flights in Europe through September. The move follows the increased travel restrictions added by many countries over the last few weeks.

The carrier stated that with these new restrictions, the demand for travel will now be lower than expected. AY also sees a drop in demand for domestic destinations and will accordingly reduce flights in the coming month.

As it stands, AY is still scheduled to fly in September to all its European destinations but with a lower frequency. The exceptions to this announcement were Nice and Turku, destinations that the carrier will stop all flights to in September.

Finnair Airbus A330-302 [OH-LTR] | Photo: Airways Magazine File

Comments from Finnair

Mikko Turtiainen, VP, Market Management at Finnair said, “The corona situation has changed in many countries in recent weeks, which is why several countries have imposed new travel restrictions.”

“There are still no connecting passengers from Asia and the United States to support European flights because of severe travel restrictions in these regions.” 

“Also, the local demand is more moderate than estimated due to the same restrictions. Therefore, we must adjust flights accordingly, in September, we will operate about 30% of the flights we had in September 2019.”  

Finnair Airbus A340-300 | Photo: Airways Magazine File

Domestic Market Increase

It is all not all bad news for Finnair however. It has seen an increase in demand for flights to domestic destinations such as Lapland and Kuusamo. The airline said this was not expected and as such will now see it add additional flights to these destinations.

There would be an increase in flights to Ivalo, Kittilä, and Kuusamo in September by flying with an eight times weekly service to the first two and to Kuusamo on a nine times weekly service. Flights to Rovaniemi continue to be served with 28-weekly flights.

Finnair said that it will contact all customers on said flights and re-routed onto others.

Many of these flights would be able to accommodate travelers on the same day as initially planned. However, the carrier did not go into great detail on how this process will take place.

Finnair Airbus A350-900 taking off. | Photo: © Vincenzo Pace (IG: @jfkjetsofficial)

Tough Calls to Continue to Fly

This announcement today continues to show the larger impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

With airlines trying desperately to capture just a small percentage of the normally high-frequency Summer traffic, it is clear to see that as long as the risk of spreading the disease remains high, it is almost impossible for airlines to plan for their future.

This situation leaves many carriers to have to make tough calls now in hopes it will allow them to continue to fly in the years to come.