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Finnair to cut 200 jobs, 120 in Finland

The national airline’s profitability has been severely undermined by the pandemic, the war in Ukraine and the closure of Russian airspace.

The job cuts will not affect crew or other operative employees, the company said (file photo of two Finnair planes at Helsinki Airport). Image: Mikko Koski / Yle

Flag carrier Finnair has launched redundancy talks aimed at cutting up to 200 jobs. About 120 of the job losses will be in Finland, the national airline said on Thursday.

Finnair said that the staff reductions are part of its new strategy, announced on 7 September.

The plan is aimed at restoring Finnair’s profitability, which has been severely undermined by the double-whammy of the pandemic and the Russian attack on Ukraine. The war led to the airline being banned from flying through Russian airspace, which had given it a competitive advantage on its lucrative Asian routes.

Due to "changes in Finnair’s operating environment, [it] will be operating with a smaller capacity than before the pandemic," the company said in a press release.

The negotiations in Finland will involve about 770 employees in executive, managerial and expert roles. Finnair has some 5,300 employees worldwide. The negotiations do not cover crew or other operative employees.

“Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the closed Russian airspace have impacted our business significantly. Thus, in addition to other actions to restore Finnair’s profitability, we have to discuss measures that are, unfortunately, the most painful ones for our employees,” Finnair CEO Topi Manner said in a statement.

The redundancy talks begin next Wednesday and are expected to take at least 6 weeks.

Cost-cutting changes in employment terms, too

The company said it is carrying out discussions with all stakeholders and employees on changes to restore profitability, including changes in employment terms aimed at reducing unit costs.

Finnair promised a social support programme for those losing their jobs.

Geir Karlsen, CEO of rival Norwegian Airlines, said earlier this month that air traffic has recovered from the pandemic more slowly in Finland than in the other Nordic countries.

Passenger traffic volumes are rebounding to pre-pandemic levels in Denmark, Norway and Sweden, Karlsen said in mid-September, noting that the situation was different in Finland, partly due to how various countries have phased out Covid travel restrictions.

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