Finnair will focus on leveraging partnerships with individual Oneworld alliance airlines, according to its latest strategy update delivered during a media briefing at Finnair’s Helsinki hub. The shift in focus follows a series of changes to the airline’s inflight operations.
The new strategy is in response to the closure of Russian airspace and the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, adding to existing difficulties from the pandemic in a “double crisis”, according to Topi Manner, CEO, Finnair.
Long-haul routes originally flying over Russia, such as Finnair’s Shanghai route, are now 40% longer as they avoid Russian airspace. By introducing partnerships with individual airlines, Finnair hopes to optimise its fleet utilisation and minimise downtime.
“When we have been facing the kind of adaptation that we have been facing, these partnerships with individual Oneworld airlines have been very important,” said Manner.
Finnair most recently partnered with Qantas Airways to wet lease two A330 aircraft in October 2023 and early 2024, with two more A330s to be dry leased to the Australian flag carrier in 2025.
“We share a history with Qantas. They have also recently celebrated their 100 years [as an airline] and they are a close Oneworld partner to us. When we look at our routes to Singapore and Bangkok, the traffic flows between Australia and Europe have always been a big part of those routes, so for us there’s more synergy there,” added the Finnair CEO.
The Qantas partnership has fully optimised Finnair’s fleet to serve a more geographically balanced network. Its fleet now consists of 79 aircraft, with a delivery of two more A350s expected in Q4 2024 and Q2 2026.
Turning the tide
The airline’s new strategy follows other recent significant changes to the Finnair’s operations, including new limited cabin bag allowances for passengers, removing champagne from the inflight menu and the cancellation of the Tampere and Turku domestic routes in favour of replacement buses.
Finnair hopes the changes will optimise its efficiency, decrease the time taken to board aircraft and improve its sustainability credentials by minimising waste and carbon emissions.
While controversial, the changes place a greater emphasis on passenger responsibility when travelling, allowing passengers to contribute to the efficiency of their flights as well as the airline’s journey to net zero.
Amid these changes, Manner applauded the airline’s bravery: “Courage is one of our values, and it has paid off.”