Finnair: Friday's airport strike will cost millions

The national airline will ground nearly 100 European and domestic flights on Friday due to a strike by ground services staff. Finnair itself is not a party to the labour dispute.

Many Finnair planes will stand idle on Friday afternoon. Image: Markku Ulander / Lehtikuva

National flag carrier Finnair says it will lose millions of euros due to Friday's four-hour walkout by Finnish airport ground staff. The Finnish Aviation Union (IAU) has called a strike beginning at 3pm on March 17.

Finnair said late Wednesday that it will cancel more than 90 domestic and European departures. The cancellations will affect some 6,500 passengers.

The cancelled flights are listed on the Finnair website (siirryt toiseen palveluun). The majority state-owned airline is not involved in the labour dispute.

"These are big losses and the most unfortunate thing is that customers have to suffer because of this," says Manti Väätäinen-Pereira of Finnair Communications. She tells Yle that the extent of the financial losses will partly depend on how many flights can be re-routed.

Union: Management-oriented proposal

On Wednesday the IAU gave a red light to the latest compromise settlement proposed by national labour conciliator Minna Helle. The union dismissed it as being overly geared to the demands of employer Airpro and its representative, the service sector employers' association Palta.

In addition to the walkout by Airpro workers, there will also be sympathy strikes affecting customer and ramp services, security checking, food services and cargo handling.

The IAU says that Airpro pays much lower wages than other firms in the sector by employing staff under terms set by different collective labour agreements. Airpro is owned by state-owned airport operator Finavia.