At a press conference in London on Wednesday, O'Leary commented on the Finavia-operated Helsinki Airport, saying: "It's a bit expensive, but I think they’re coming around to the realisation that Finnair are going to keep cutting traffic and they need to broaden their customer base because there are no low fares airlines up in Helsinki."
The head of Europe’s largest airline in passenger volumes takes a dim view of Finnair’s future.
“Finnair is a very good airline but a bit like [Ireland's] Aer Lingus, it’s one of those outmoded old flag carrier models where they have very high costs and very high fares,” he said. As European air traffic shifts to the low-cost aviation model, it will eventually be taken over by one of the big companies, he predicted, adding that this doesn’t bother Ryanair much.
At present the no-frills carrier flies to Tampere and Lappeenranta, with the latter only linked to airports in Spain, Italy and Germany. In 2012, Ryanair dropped its Turku route.
Its main rival, easyJet, cancelled its Helsinki route in 2011, now only flying as close as Tallinn.