Finland’s national carrier Finnair has updated its network plans to the winter season, saying the routes and frequencies offered reflect the weak demand for air services as a result of COVID-19 travel restrictions.
From Oct. 25 until Mar. 31, the airline plans to serve 45 domestic and European destinations with reduced weekly frequencies on almost all routes.
Six long-haul destinations will be served from Helsinki (HEL), all of which are important cargo routes. Finland’s capital will be connected with Bangkok (BKK), Hong Kong (HKG), Nanjing (NKG), Seoul (ICN), Shanghai (PVG) and Tokyo Narita (NRT).
On the HEL-BKK route, Finnair flies passengers only on the BKK-HEL leg. Cargo-only flights will also continue to Singapore (SIN) and New York (JFK).
“The pandemic situation and the related travel restrictions continue to have a heavy impact on demand for air travel, and thus it is not feasible to operate all the flights we in May planned for this winter,” CCO Ole Orvér said.
Due to the lower passenger numbers, Finnair will temporarily close its lounge in the Schengen area of HEL. The carrier’s lounges at the non-Schengen side have been shut since March.
From November 2020 to March 2021, Finnair is now scheduled to operate approximately 75 flights per day to 51 destinations, compared with about 350 daily flights and more than 100 destinations a year ago.
However, the oneworld alliance member said it hopes to expand its network and increase weekly frequencies during spring 2021. The launch of service to Tokyo Haneda (HND) and Busan (PUS) in South Korea are still being planned for summer 2021 after being delayed this year.
Despite this, flights to San Francisco (SFO) in the US, Xi’an (XIY) and Beijing Daxing (PKX) in China, and Sapporo (CTS) in Japan will remain suspended.
“We continue to follow the demand outlook and will be updating the summer 2021 traffic program accordingly in early 2021,” said Orvér. “We of course hope that travel restrictions and the pandemic situation will alleviate by then, so that we can increase our flight offering.”
Photo credit: Joe Pries