Government promises to help Finnair as 1,000 jobs on the line

Around 2,800 Finnair staff will be involved in the co-determination talks on job losses, while almost all staff will continue to be subject to temporary layoffs.

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File photo of Finnair plane / Credit; News Now Finland

Government ministers have promised to help Finnair as the national airline says 1,000 jobs are on the line because of the coronavirus crisis.

The airline had to slash 90% of its flights in spring as passenger numbers plummeted. Now the company says it still needs to save €100 million and so all staff will be subject to furloughs as co-determination talks begin.

The Finnish Government is a majority shareholder in Finnair, and Minister of Employment Tuula Haatainen (SDP) says she’s asked the Uusimaa Employment and Economic Office to take immediate action to identify new job opportunities and provide services to Finnair employees who lose their jobs.

“The reduction in travel due to the coronavirus pandemic has led to significant financial losses for [Finnair] and the need to cut both costs and personnel. The news is a drastic example of how Finnish jobs are also linked to the disease situation in other countries” writes Haatainen.

“All necessary support for finding a new job or training path and updating skills is provided to those who are made redundant” the minister adds.

On Wednesday the Aviation Industry Union announced that ground handling company Swissport Finland will start their own job cuts talks which could impact up to 700 people due to their agreement with Finnair which expires next spring.

File picture of Finnair CEO Topi Manner

Finnair’s terrible year 

The coronavirus crisis and travel restrictions have been disastrous for Finnair.

CEO Topi Manner has called Covid-19 “the deepest crisis of aviation.”

“The pandemic and the exceptionally tight travel restrictions in Finland have impacted flight demand and we will operate only a small part of our capacity compared to last year. A rapid turn for the better in the pandemic situation is unfortunately not in sight” says Manner.

“Our revenue has decreased considerably, and that is why we simply must adjust our costs to our new size.”

Although the airline had taken the first steps to progressively increase its flight capacity and route network over the summer heading into autumn, the rising infection numbers in many countries, and ongoing restrictions on free travel have not made this plan possible so far.

Finnair has 6,700 employees and some 2,800 are involved in the job cut talks; while almost all staff will continue to be subject to temporary layoffs.

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