Finland’s flag carrier Finnair will reduce its traffic program for February by around 20% and offer other flight options to its customers, the airline said in a statement.
The reduced traffic program is put in place to cope with the resource challenges caused by the omicron coronavirus variant and flu season which has led to a significant increase of sick leave among staff at Finnair and its partners.
Finnair will, amongst other things, reduce weekly frequencies to Singapore to twice a week and Hong Kong to three. Finnair will be in touch with those customers affected by the cancellations via email and do its best to find alternative flights for them. Finnair will send the new flight details via email and customers can check them online through the Manage Booking or via the Finnair mobile app. Customers with canceled flights also have the option to apply for a refund for unused tickets, the airline stated.
Speaking on the matter, Ole Orvér, Chief Commercial Officer at Finnair said, “Staff sick leave is now significantly impacting Finnair and airports in Finland as well as throughout the world. We aim to meet these resourcing challenges through the cancellation of flights, to avoid last-minute changes and better manage our customers’ expectations. This will give customers more time to prepare for flight schedule changes and adjust their travel plans if needed.”
Moreover, the airline noted that during the pandemic, Finnair has offered exceptional flexibility for all bookings and customers have been able to change their travel dates without a change fee. Until 28 February 2022, customers can change their travel dates as many times as they need, without any additional change fee. After that, they can make one additional change. Customers have used this opportunity actively, and the change requests have caused backlogs at Finnair’s Customer Service, which has recruited dozens of new employees to cope with the demand. In most cases, customers can make the change themselves online through the Manage Booking service.
Despite these proactive actions, last-minute changes to flights are still possible due to sick leaves or weather-related disruption. In addition, the strike announced by the Finnish labor union Pro for 17 January can also cause more disruption and therefore flight cancellations. Finnair is not a party in the dispute between the two labor unions, but any strike action would still have an impact upon Finnair’s aircraft maintenance. With our continued priority on safety, Finnair has therefore made special arrangements to secure the continued maintenance of its aircraft during the potential strike.