Finnair reduces 20% flights in Feb as COVID causes staff shortage

13 Jan 2022, 00:13

  DF Report

File picture of Finnair pilot and cabin crews. Photo: Finnair by Mikko Ryhänen / Woodpecker.

National flag carrier Finnair has decided to reduce its traffic programme for the month of February by around 20% as the coronavirus variant omicron and flu season has led to a significant increase of sick leave among the staff of the airline and its partners.

The airline, however, offering other flight options to its clients, said Finnair in a press release on Wednesday.

These flight cancellations will enable Finnair to operate a more flexible schedule and adapt to the possible rise in sick leave across different functions at Finnair and its partners.

“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,” said Ole Orvér, Chief Commercial Officer of Finnair.

Orvér also apologized for the inconvenience and disruption this may cause to the customers.

The majority of the cancelled flights are on routes where Finnair operates multiple daily flights, so many passengers will be offered an alternative flight on the same day.

These destinations include, for example, services to Stockholm, Oslo, Copenhagen, Paris and Rome.

Changes will also take place to long-haul flights and the airline decided to shift the schedule for inaugurating flight to Dallas route to March 27 from February.

The start of the Nagoya flights, and added frequencies to Osaka, will move to the summer season 2022.

Finnair will also reduce weekly frequencies to Singapore to twice a week and to Hong Kong to three.

The airline authority will be in touch with those customers affected by the cancellations via email and try to find alternative flights for them.

During the pandemic, Finnair has offered flexibility for all bookings and passengers have been able to change their travel dates without a change fee. Until 28 February 2022, passengers can change their travel dates as many times as they need, without any additional change fee.

Despite these actions, last minute changes to flights are still possible due to sick leaves or weather-related disruption. In addition, the strike announced by Finnish labour union Pro for 17 January can also cause more disruption and therefore flight cancellations.