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Finnair Partners With Qatar Airways In Search Of New Routes

By Dave Simpson

Finnair will establish a strategic partnership with Qatar Airways to open up new routes from Nordic capitals to the Qatari capital Doha, the Finnish national carrier has said.

Finnair has been seeking new commercially-feasible routes since the closure of Russian airspace due to the war in Ukraine cut off its previously lucrative Asian connections via a northern route.

The company has said it plans to unveil a new strategy in the coming months to address the uncertain outlook that includes high fuel prices, the pandemic and the Ukraine war, with the company headed for a third straight year in the red in 2022.

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Finnair said it would establish "a long-term strategic cooperation" on flights between Doha and Helsinki in Finland, Stockholm in Sweden and Copenhagen in Denmark starting between November and December, while exploring the possibility of expanding the agreement to another unnamed European destination.

"These services will be supported by a comprehensive codeshare agreement with shared passenger and cargo capacity between both airlines," Finnair said.

Finnair and Qatar Airways are part of the oneworld global airline alliance.

In a separate release, Finnair said it would downscale its traffic plan for the winter season, cancelling all flights to Krabi and Chicago and discontinuing flights from Stockholm to several other destinations in the United States and Thailand.

"Our aim is to operate a traffic plan that is as economically viable as possible," Finnair said.

Finnair To Lean On Alliances To Return To Profitability

The above news was followed by news that Finnair will reduce its fleet, cut costs and seek to build a geographically more balanced network by increasing cooperation with partner airlines, the Finnish flag carrier has said in a new strategy to return to profitability.

Finnair has been working on a new strategy and seeking new commercially-feasible routes since the closure of Russian airspace due to the war in Ukraine cut off its previously lucrative Asian connections via a short northern route. Read full storyRead full story

The company, headed for a third straight annual loss, had said it needed a new strategy to address high fuel prices, the pandemic and the impact of war in Ukraine.

"Now we need to get along without the geographic competitive advantage and adapt to the reality that geography has changed, the Russian airspace is closed," Finnair's Chief Executive Topi Manner told Reuters.

To adapt, Finnair will seek to reduce costs in order to enter new, more competitive markets such as the Middle East where there is less regulation, Manner said.

The company is seeking additional savings of the same scale as the €200 million programme it has already completed, he said.

The cost savings include reductions to Finnair's fleet, to be decided later according to demand, Manner said.

"For our long-haul fleet, it is clear that we will continue operating our Airbus 350s but also the Airbus 330s because they are part of our recently announced Qatar cooperation," he said.

Finnair said it would aim to build a more balanced network connecting Europe to Asia, India and the Middle East, and North America via its home hub Helsinki.

"The oneworld alliance will be increasingly important in our strategy," Manner said, adding the company would step up its cooperation with partners such as Japan Airlines, China's Juneyao Air, Qatar Airways, American Airlines, British Airways and Alaska Airlines.

The Qatari capital Doha's importance as an air traffic hub will grow, he added.

At the end of August, Finnair said it would establish "a long-term strategic cooperation" with Qatar Airways to open new routes from Nordic capitals to the Qatari capital Doha.

BRIEF-Finnair CEO: Business Travel Is Recovering

All of the above news was followed by the following brief:

Finnair Ltd FIA1S.HE:

  • FINNAIR CEO: WE SEE DEMAND AS QUITE GOOD AT THE MOMENT, BUSINESS TRAVEL IS RECOVERING
  • FINNAIR CEO: WE AIM TO RETURN TO PRE-PANDEMIC LEVEL PROFITABILITY BY MID-2024

News by Reuters, edited by Hospitality Ireland. Click subscribe to sign up for the Hospitality Ireland print edition.

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