Finnair’s long-haul network was rocked during the dark days of the pandemic that saw a core sector of its network out of bounds to general travel for two years. When travel in Asia started to pick up again, the momentum was again squashed amid the Russian airspace ban. Despite these difficulties, the flag carrier of Finland has found a way to optimize its fleet.
All in the air
The airline holds a fleet of 80 aircraft, split by both narrowbody and widebody units. As per ch-aviation data, when it comes to widebodies, the airline has eight Airbus A330-300s and 17 A350-900s. Notably, all these aircraft are currently active.
The busy plane schedule is thanks to creative thinking and relationship-building with other airlines. This month, Finnair famously began a collaboration with Qantas in a six-year deal, which will see the Australian outfit wet lease A330s to meet demand from Sydney to Singapore and Bangkok for 2.5 years before a dry lease initiative kicks in.
This isn’t the only move in this manner from Finnair. It also has an agreement with British Airways that sees the UK national carrier wet lease four A320s with crew until the end of March 2024.
Expanding further, the airline deploys its A330s on three daily flights to Doha via a partnership with Qatar Airways. The widebodies can be spotted flying from the capital of Qatar to Copenhagen, Stockholm, and Helsinki.
In a press conference attended by Simple Flying in Helsinki last week, Finnair CEO Top Manner explained that the Qantas deal has helped the airline implement a more geographically balanced network. According to him, the carrier has now completed “the optimization of our fleet.”
There are even two additional A350s coming in the next two years. The first will arrive in late 2024, and the other by the second quarter of 2026. The airline is confident in the duo’s ability to help continue supporting the fleet.
Manner added that “now the optimization of the fleet has been done, partnerships have been a big part of the adaptation.” He said for an airline such s Finnair, and the circumstances that it finds itself in, partnerships are a way to seek scale beyond the operator’s size.
The executive explained:
“oneworld is a differentiator for us. As a strategic alliance, it is very important in even normal days. However, when we have been facing this kind of adaptation, these partnerships with individual oneworld airlines have been very important. So let me take a couple of examples. The Japanese market has always been very important for us. In the Japanese market, we have the Siberian Joint Business, together with British Airways, Iberia and Japan Airlines connecting Europe and Asia,”
“The commercial partnership with Qatar Airways in flying to Doha is extremely important. We could not do it profitably without that partnership. We have been also able to increase the flights to US because. We have strong oneworld partners in US in the form of American Airlines and Alaskan Airlines. We have been introducing new routes to Dallas, which is the main hub of American Airlines and to Seattle, the hub of Alaskan Airlines.”
The right resources
Manner concluded that Finnair is known for its safety culture, operational excellence, and people. These attributes attract the attention of other airlines who want to work with the carrier.
Photo: KITTIKUN YOKSAP/Shutterstock
In the past, the likes of Lufthansa have put their faith in Finnair to support their operations. Today, the airline’s presence can be felt all across the continents with numerous carriers.
What are your thoughts about Finnair’s fleet optimization? What do you make of the airline’s current model? Let us know what you think of the carrier and its plans in the comment section.
Reducing costs will play a key role in helping Finnair return to profitability. Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying
- IATA/ICAO Code:
- Airline Type:
- Full Service Carrier
- Helsinki Airport
- Year Founded:
- Topi Manner