Finnair prepares for extended flight ban over Russia

Finnish air carrier Finnair’s updated strategy for North America, India and the Middle East is gearing up for a ten-year flight ban over Russia, Finnair CEO Topi Manner said.
Doha, Qatar, June 19-21 hosts the World Air Transport Summit and the meeting of the International Air Transport Association (IATA), hosted by Qatar Airways.
“There is poor visibility in Russian airspace (for forecasting). We do not know how long this will last – two, five or ten years, and therefore we must change our strategy and adjust to the fact that Russian airspace will remain closed for a long time. The role of Middle East airports in communication between East and West is growing, and Doha in Qatar is becoming a major transport hub,” Manner said in a commentary to the public broadcaster YLE.
The increase in traffic in the Persian Gulf means closer cooperation with Qatar Airways, which, like Finnair, is part of the OneWorld alliance.
Russia’s flight ban is boosting aviation cooperation between the European Union and Qatar as airlines look for alternative ways to connect with Asia, the report said. In October, the EU signed an air transport agreement with Qatar that allowed EU airlines to fly to Qatar and Qatari airlines to EU countries.
“Qatar is the first country in the Persian Gulf to sign the agreement and will become a stronger partner for Europe,” Henrik Hololei, spokesman for the European Commission’s Transport and Mobility Directorate, was quoted as saying.
A similar air transport agreement between Oman and the EU will be signed this year, he said.
It is expected that flights to China will not be allowed this year, the report said.
“In Asia, it is important that Finnair continues to fly to the Japanese and South Korean markets. Over time, we will also continue to fly to China, which is currently closed due to the zero covid policy,” Manner said.
Airlines, and especially European airports, have been surprised by the rapid recovery in air travel following the easing of coronavirus restrictions. Finnair has leased 10% of its capacity to British Airways and Lufthansa.
“Airlines are short of crews and planes. Demand will continue through the winter and partly until next summer,” Manner said.
On Sunday, Helsinki-Vantaa Airport handled a record 24-hour passenger count of 35,000, leading to crowds and crowds. The situation is similar at other airports, where hundreds of flights have been canceled due to lack of staff. According to the European Commission, the reason is the poor readiness of airports to increase the number of flights and passenger traffic.
According to Henrik Hololei, before the coronavirus pandemic, 230,000 ground handlers worked at airports, and now there are only 130,000.
“It’s not easy to recruit 100,000 new employees quickly. Those who are at work are very tired, and this also brings problems,” said the representative of the EC.