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Finnair slashing capacity by 90% from 1 April

Finnair has announced it will severely cut flight capacity, but maintain critical connections.

Finnairin lentokoneita Helsinki-Vantaan lentokentällä Vantaalla 12. maaliskuuta 2020.
A Finnair plane grounded at Helsinki Airport on 12 March. Image: Mikko Stig / Lehtikuva

Finnair announced Monday that it will reduce its normal capacity by approximately 90 percent from the beginning of April. The reduced flight schedule will be in effect until the coronavirus situation improves.

As of 1 April, the flag carrier will temporarily operate only around 20 routes, which it says will ensure certain critical air and cargo supply connections. Finnair will start transitioning to the limited network immediately, cancelling 1,500 to 2,000 flights from 16 March to 31 March.

In an explanation of the decision, Finnair CEO Topi Manner apologised to customers, but stated, "In this situation, the capacity cuts are unavoidable – we cannot fly customers in a situation where we may not be able to fly them back home."

As of the start of April, the national airline will only operate domestically from its Helsinki hub on routes serving Kuopio, Mariehamn, Oulu, and Rovaniemi. During the Easter travel season (early to mid-April) Finnair will also operate routes serving Ivalo, Kittilä and Kuusamo.

European destinations with continuing service are listed by Finnair as Amsterdam, Berlin, Brussels, Frankfurt, London, Munich, Paris, Stockholm and Zurich.

Finnair says it will also fly to Copenhagen, Moscow, Oslo, St Petersburg, Riga and Tallinn once the travel restrictions to these destinations are lifted.

The company's only intercontinental route that will continue during the period of restricted operations will be to Tokyo.

Instructions for customers affected are available on Finnair’s website.

Another profit warning

Finnair also announced Monday that the situation will result in a substantial comparable operating loss this financial year. The profit warning came just a couple of weeks after one in late February, when the airline said its operating result for the first quarter of this year would be lower than that of a year earlier.

It said that due to the rapid deterioration of circumstances, the company's board has concluded that the company should refrain from paying dividends. The Finnish government has also told the company of its intention to vote against the dividend proposal of 0.20 euros per share. As a result, a dividend will not be distributed for 2019.

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