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Finnair planning joint venture with Chinese carrier

The proposed deal would require regulatory approval before it can be completed.

Kiinasta suojavarusteita kuljettava Finnairin kone laskeutuu Helsinki-Vantaan lentoasemalle.
Finnair and Juneyao Air have been cooperating on Helsinki to Shanghai routes since last July. Image: Ilkka Klemola / Yle

National airline Finnair said on Tuesday that it is planning to set up a joint venture with Chinese carrier Juneyao Air.

Finnair and the Chinese firm have been cooperating on Helsinki to Shanghai routes since Juneyao began operating on the route in July 2019.

The national carrier said that the proposed joint venture would provide customers with more destinations, schedules and fare options between Helsinki and Shanghai's Pudong International Airport.

"Despite these immensely challenging times for our industry, we at Finnair remain steadfast in our belief and commitment to China as a key market and to Juneyao Air as a key partner," chief commercial officer Ole Orver said in a statement.

The establishment of a joint venture company is not a done deal, as it requires regulatory approval.

Finnair has bet heavily on routes to China, positioning Helsinki as a gateway for western passengers travelling to the east and for customers looking for a direct connection from Asian destinations to the west.

However the novel coronavirus pandemic has caused it to cancel much of its traffic to Asia, resulting in the airline announcing a profit warning and temporary staff layoffs.

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