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Mainland China just vanished from Finnair's booking system for February and March

No new cancellations have been announced beyond those affecting Beijing Daxing and Nanjing flights.

Finnairin pääkonttorin aulassa oleva maapallo, johon on merkitty Finnairin reitit.
China is a crucial part of Finnair's market strategy, with daily flights to Beijing and several each week to other major cities. Image: Martti Kainulainen / Lehtikuva

A day after the first confirmed case of the new coronavirus in Finland, flag carrier Finnair has removed all February and March flights to and from its mainland Chinese destinations from its reservation system.

The national airline flies to four mainland airports as well as Hong Kong, which is so far unaffected.

Earlier in the week the airline cancelled all flights in February and March to and from Beijing Daxing Airport and Nanjing. Now flights to two other mainland airports have been removed from its booking site.

Nanjing, Daxing flights grounded from early February

Finnair flies daily to Shanghai and to the Chinese capital's other international airport, Beijing Capital. Under normal circumstances, it flies three times a week to Nanjing as well as twice weekly to Guangzou and Beijing Daxing International Airport, which opened last autumn.

All Nanjing and Beijing Daxing flights are cancelled starting 5-8 February, explains Finnair's head of media relations, Päivyt Tallqvist.

Bookings can still be made for the twice-daily flights to and from Hong Kong.

Tallqvist says that the airline has halted new reservations as it is re-arranging travel for those customers whose flights have been cancelled.

"We have many passengers who want to change their bookings, delay flights, re-route flights and so on. We've promised them this option," she tells Yle.

Passengers from cancelled flights get first dibs

Besides the suspended Daxing and Nanjing flights, all other regularly scheduled flights are going ahead for now. However travellers who were booked for cancelled flights have priority in filling any available seats. The same is true for flights from China to Finland.

"If there are any new cancellations, we'll annuounce that separately," says Tallqvist.

China plays a central role in Finnair's market strategy, with the carrier leveraging Helsinki's geographic position to offer relatively rapid air links to and from Europe. Finnair is approximately 56 percent state-owned.

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