By Connor Sadler
Finnair Cuts Europe Service Levels for September
Finnair has announced that it is reducing services in September to levels below those that were announced previously due to travel restrictions being re-imposed.
The change, which mainly affects European destinations, has come as many countries have implemented restrictions again following a rise in coronavirus cases.
Finnair stated in a press release that it will fly to almost all of the European destinations that it served in August but at a reduced frequency during the month of September. The only exemptions from this are Nice, France and Turku, Finland, which will receive no flights in September.
In the same press release, the Oneworld carrier also said that it would be operating roughly 30% of the flights in September 2020 as it did in September 2019.
As a result of the reduced travel demand for destinations with restrictions imposed, Finnair will also reduce the service frequency of some of its domestic services. Plans to start flights to Tampere in September have also been postponed due to reduced demand.
Mikko Turtiainen, Vice President of Market Management at Finnair, said: “The corona situation has changed in many countries in recent weeks, which is why several countries have imposed new travel restrictions.”
Turtiainen continued to state: “There are still no connecting passengers from Asia and the United States to support European flights because of severe travel restrictions in these regions. Also, the local demand is more moderate than estimated due to the same restrictions. Therefore, we must adjust flights accordingly.”
On the other hand, the airline will increase flights to Ivalo, Kittilä and Kuusamo in September.
On the subject of Lapland and Kuusamo flights, Turtiainen commented: “Lapland and Kuusamo seem to be of more interest to domestic passengers than expected, which is why we are adding new flights to these destinations.”
A new, fresh rise in infections around Europe has pointed towards a second wave of the virus, so many countries are acting quickly to ensure that they do not experience this effect by having people travelling to and from the countries at risk.
Since August 10, the Finnish Government has been advising against unnecessary travel to Andorra, The Netherlands, Belgium and dozens of other foreign countries.
In 2018, Finland attracted over 6.8 million foreign tourists, according to Business Finland. Now, many who enter must quarantine for 14 days upon their arrival into the country. As of August 12, those arriving from only 18 foreign countries do not need to enter quarantine on arrival. The exempted countries include Japan, South Korea and Ireland.
Re-imposed rules against travel to certain countries have, assumably, not been popular with airlines.
On the return to flying, the Chief Executive of Wizz Air, Josef Varardi, said: “We are seeing now measures taking the industry backwards, actually. We are seeing countries reintroducing restrictions, flight bans and all sorts of regulatory constraints,” in a webcast to The Telegraph.
However, as more airlines hope to encourage their customers to return to the skies with them, their own messaging promoting safe travelling being their number one priority can not be dropped, even in the form of disputing travel advice.