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Finavia plans temporary layoffs as coronavirus scares off airline passengers

The authority said that the number of flights through airports has fallen significantly.

Kuvassa on Finavian kyltti Helsinki-Vantaan lentoasemalla.
Image: Jussi Nukari / Lehtikuva

Finnish airports operator Finavia announced on Wednesday that it will temporarily layoff staff as the spreading novel coronavirus outbreak continues to reduce the number of people travelling by air. The authority noted that the number of flights using the Helsinki-Vantaa airport as well as other airfields has fallen significantly.

Finavia projected that the layoffs would last between 12 and 90 days depending on the unit and the tasks they perform. The company has launched redundancy talks related to the furlough plans that affect a total of 950 staffers.

This week has seen a sharp rise in the number of coronavirus cases outside of China, with more than 10,000 infections and over 600 deaths reported in Italy alone.

National carrier Finnair has cancelled flights to mainland China, and European airlines Norwegian and Ryanair have cut back on flights to some destinations in Europe.

Meanwhile regular shuttle flights from airports in Jyväskylä, Kajaani, Kokkola and Kemi have been cancelled until the end of April.

Finnair also said that it would be reducing capacity on domestic and European traffic by more than 20 percent in April, by scrubbing a total of about 2,400 flights and by using smaller aircraft on some routes.

Fewer flights to many destinations

In addition to the cancellation of domestic flights, the airline has trimmed the number of flights to places such as Oulu, Vaasa, Joensuu, Kuopio, Turku and Marianhamn. Flights to Bologna, Stuttgart, Split, Umeå and Venice have also been suspended until the end of April.

Flights to Nordic destinations are also on the chopping block, with traffic to Gothenburg, Copenhagen, Stockholm, Tromso, Trondheim and Bergen affected.

The airline is also pruning trips to Tallinn, Hamburg and Moscow, while flights to Barcelona have been reduced by one-third. It has announced that it will use smaller planes to fly to St. Petersburg and Vilnius.

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