Finnair has announced that it is postponing the launch of flights to Dallas in the United States and has also cut capacity across its network due to less demand as a result of Omicron variant of COVID-19 and also due to a significant increase of sick leave among staff at Finnair and its partners.
To cope with the resource challenges, Finnair will cut capacity for the month of February by around 20% and will offer other flight options to its passengers. Finnair says that these flight cancellations will enable it to operate a more flexible schedule and adapt to the expected rise in sick leave across different functions at Finnair and its partners.
Ole Orvér, Chief Commercial Officer, Finnair, said:
Staff sick leave is now significantly impacting Finnair and airports in Finland as well as throughout the world. We aim to meet these resourcing challenges through the cancellation of flights, to avoid last-minute changes and better manage our customers’ expectations. This will give customers more time to prepare for flight schedule changes and adjust their travel plans if needed. We are sorry for the inconvenience and disruption this may cause to our customers. However, reducing our traffic programme is necessary to better offer a smooth travel experience in the face of the expected resource challenges
The plus point is that the majority of the cancelled flights are on routes where Finnair operates multiple daily flights, so many passengers will be offered an alternative flight on the same day. These destinations include Stockholm, Oslo, Copenhagen, Paris and Rome.
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New long-haul flights postponed
As a result of weak demand and sick leaves among staff, changes will also take place to long-haul flights. Flights to Dallas, Texas, which were scheduled to begin on 6th February 2022, will now launch on 27th March 2022 and the start of the Nagoya flights, and added frequencies to Osaka, will move to the summer season of 2022. The Helsinki-based will also reduce weekly frequencies to Singapore to twice-a-week and to Hong Kong to thrice-a-week.
The Finnish carrier says that it will be in touch with those passengers affected by the cancellations via email and do its best to find alternative flights for them. Finnair will send the new flight details via email and passengers can check them online through the Manage Booking or via the Finnair mobile app. Passengers with cancelled flights also have the option to apply for a refund for unused tickets.
Despite these cancellations, Finnair says that last minute changes to flights are still possible due to sick leaves or weather-related disruption. In addition, the strike announced by Finnish labour union Pro for 17th January 2022 can also cause more disruption and therefore flight cancellations. The airline says that although it is not a party in the dispute between the two labour unions, any strike action would still have an impact upon Finnair aircraft maintenance. Finnair has therefore made “special” arrangements to secure the continued maintenance of its aircraft during the potential strike.
Finnair passengers will be able to change their travel dates without a change fee. Until 28th February 2022, passengers can change their travel dates as many times as they need, without any additional change fee. After that, they can make one additional change. Passengers have used this opportunity actively, and the change requests have caused backlogs at Finnair’s Customer Service, which has recruited dozens of new employees to cope with the demand. In most cases, passengers can make the change themselves online through the Manage Booking service.
Featured image by Finnair