It is now possible to travel in Europe and to the United States, but to many countries in Asia, travel is still very limited. Finnair however still expects the Asian market to open towards the summer, HBL writes.
Finnair’s CEO Topi Manner says that the airline expects that the countries in Asia will open up gradually during the first half of this year, with the exception of China and Hong Kong.
The airline is ready to launch new destinations both in Japan and in South Korea and despite travel restrictions to China, Finnair has one flight a week to Shanghai which is mostly fully booked.
“Our Asia strategy does not stand or fall with China, it applies to the entire continent,” Topi Manner says.
During the last quarter of last year, Finnair filled almost half of its aircraft, while occupancy throughout 2021 was just over 42 percent. But despite the growing passenger numbers, both the full year and the last quarter were strongly loss-making. The losses were still smaller than in 2020 and sales also increased compared with the previous year.
“It is positive that our operating profit before depreciation was positive during the last quarter,” Topi Manner says.
The number of flights increased from October last year and passenger numbers grew month by month. When the United States, Singapore, Thailand, and India opened their borders, long-distance traffic also recovered. New destinations are also on the program in the United States.
According to Finnair, there is a pent-up need to travel and the company expects that the company’s earnings will be less and less affected by the pandemic restrictions. Traffic will return to the same level as before the pandemic in 2023, Finnair reckons.