Finnair is set to increase its international flights from July, and will review the schedule on a monthly basis depending on how many tickets are sold.
The airline cut 90% of its services during the coronavirus crisis when travel restrictions were imposed, and maintained just a skeleton international route network serving some major cities in Europe, mostly to cater for passengers returning home.
“Our goal is to fly just over 30% of our normal number of flights in July, and start long-haul flights to major destinations in Asia” says Ole Orvér, Finnair’s Commercial Director.
“Our recent customer survey shows that people are already planning both business and leisure trips […] we want to respond to this need as well as possible through our network” he explains.
The travel planning also takes into account any possible changes in travel restrictions which could mean some services get suspended if a particular country re-introduces coronavirus lockdown measures.
Asia routes driven by cargo demand
Starting from 1st July, long-haul services will be re-introduced to a number of Asian destinations, but not all – particularly in China.
Flights will start with Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong in July, as well as Tokyo Narita, Osaka and Nagoya, Singapore, Seoul and Bangkok.
The Asia destinations are driven by cargo demand and this week Finnair announced it had converted two Airbus A330 aircraft to carry cargo, by ripping out the economy class seats in the cabin to give more stowage space.
About half the existing capacity on the A330s is reserved for cargo below the cabin, but now cargo can be loaded through the normal doors into the space where economy class seats used to be.
“By offering cargo connections between different continents, we can do our part to help the world to recover from the impacts of the pandemic. Thanks to the demand for cargo, we’ve been able to keep more of our planes in the sky and people employed both in the air and in our terminal operations” says Mikko Tainio, Managing Director of Finnair Cargo.
Flights to Delhi and New York will begin in August, with Tokyo Haneda coming online in November.
Two dozen European flight connections
Most of the new flights in July are to European destinations.
Finnair will fly twice daily from Helsinki to London, Paris and Amsterdam; while major cities across the Nordic region, Germany and Switzerland will have 5-7 services each week.
Other Europe routes starting in July include Edinburgh, Riga, Vilnius, Vienna, Manchester and Malaga; while flights to Barcelona, Milan, Madrid, Rome and Warsaw will begin in August.