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Work permit hiccup delays Finnair’s plans to outsource cabin crew

Plans by national carrier Finnair to outsource part of its cabin crew personnel appear to have stalled as the Norwegian crew services subcontractor reported difficulty obtaining work permits for newly-recruited staff. Last year Finnair announced that it would outsource cabin crew on its Hong Kong and Singapore routes.

Finnairin lentokone.
Norwegian crew services subcontractor OSM Aviation says no work permits have been granted to some 80 cabin attendants recruited to work with Finnair. Image: Sven Hoppe / EPA

Last Autumn Finnair said that it planned to purchase cabin crew services from the Norwegian subcontractor OSM Aviation.

According to reports in the South China Morning Post daily, so far some 80 cabin attendants recruited to work on Finnair’s Hong Kong and Singapore routes have been told to start looking for employment elsewhere.

This in spite of the fact that the recruits have already received some six weeks’ training in Helsinki and were due to take up their positions in mid-January.

The paper quoted OSM Aviation as saying that it had not yet been able to secure work permits for the contracted cabin staff from Finland’s Ministry of Employment and the Economy, but believed that the permits would be granted in the coming weeks.

OSM Aviation said that because of the unexpectedly lengthy delay receiving the permits, it was encouraging staff to seek other work options.

However Finnair’s communications department has rejected the claims that the flight attendants would have to look for alternative positions.

“They will have work, that’s clear. The permit process has just taken regrettably long,” said Finnair’s Manti Väätäinen-Pereira.

However she did confirm that the prospective employees had not yet received Finnish work permits.

“It’s unfortunate that the permit process has taken longer than anticipated. Of course Finnair hopes that the matter will soon be resolved and that we will be able to begin our cooperation as planned,” she added.

Finnair’s decision to outsource cabin attendants was agreed to last autumn when the airline closed a savings deal with members of the Finnish Cabin Crew Union after protracted negotiations.

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