Finnair Revises Schedule, Citing Russia Airspace Closure

Finnair has updated its network offering for the winter 2022-23 season, taking into account the closure of Russian airspace to most overflights by foreign carriers.

The closure has hit Finnair particularly hard, given its trademark polar routes from its home base to Asian destinations that utilize Russian airspace. This has resulted in longer flight times on routes to Asia.

Speaking on the sidelines of the Airlines4Europe Aviation Summit in Brussels last month, Finnair CEO Topi Manner said that in the short run, given continuing COVID-19 curbs in Asia (notably in China), the impact of the Russian airspace closure was not that significant.

“But of course, if the situation prolongs, then it is a different story,” he added.

High yield cargo is allowing Finnair to fly longer routes, for example to Japan. “It is also a sort of level playing field at this point in time because also the Japanese airlines are not using Russian airspace,“ Manner said.

Finnair will fly to 10 Asian destinations in the coming winter season. It also will serve five airports in the US and 62 throughout Europe from its Helsinki (HEL) hub during the winter. Finnair also has nonstop flights to the US and Thailand from Stockholm Arlanda (ARN).

“We are happy to see travel recovering at a rapid pace, and our winter network caters to the needs of both corporate and leisure travelers,” Finnair CCO Ole Orvér said April 19.

Alan Dron

Based in London, Alan is Europe & Middle East correspondent at Air Transport World.