OneWorld partners Finnair (AY) and Qantas (QF) have on May 19 announced the companies have entered a long-term agreement in which Finnair will first wet-lease two Airbus A330 aircraft with crew, for a period of two years, followed by a dry-lease without a crew after the first lease term expires.
The dry lease will last for a period of two-and-a-half years, totalling the lease agreement to four-and-a-half years.
The agreement between the companies is part of Finnair’s determined efforts to utilize the Airbus A330 fleet, which is currently limited to select destinations in the network due to the Russian airspace closure.
In an effort to secure the use of Finnair’s Airbus A330 fleet, Finnair has agreed on a long-term lease agreement with its OneWorld partner Qantas for a total period of 4.5 years.
Starting in October of this year, Finnair will provide the first of two A330 aircraft with crew on a wet-lease agreement to the Australian flag carrier, as Finnair struggles to utilize the fleet on the long-haul network, due to the Russian airspace closure and range limitations.
The initial wet-lease agreement will be converted to a 2.5-year-long dry-lease agreement in 2025, where Qantas will operate with a crew of their own for the time remaining.
The airframes to be leased are currently unknown.
During the wet-lease period, the aircraft will be operative in Qantas’ network, on routes from Sydney to Singapore and Bangkok. Prior to operating these routes, Finnair’s provided set of crew will operate scheduled Finnair flights from Helsinki to Singapore and Bangkok, from which they will operate scheduled Qantas flights between Bangkok, Singapore and Sydney.
The cabin crew are provided by Finnair partners based in Singapore and Bangkok, and the aircraft maintenance is performed by Finnair partners at the Qantas destinations.
Additionally, Finnair has secured sufficient pilot resources to match its fleet size, also for the aircraft on lease to Qantas.
The cabin crew provided to the Qantas lease agreement will also not impact the number of cabin crew at Finnair, as they will be fully deployed in other operations.
On the agreement, Finnair Senior Vice President, Network and Revenue Management, Antti Tolvanen, said: “We are delighted to expand our collaboration with our oneworld partner Qantas. This agreement enables us to fully deploy our A330 fleet in profitable operations”
As previously mentioned, the Russian airspace closure plays a huge role in this move by Finnair. However, the move does support the efficient and profitable deployment of their A330 fleet, seeing as restrictions decrease the utilization opportunities for the company.
Since the closure became relevant, Finnair has built a geographically more balanced network, as avoiding the Russian airspace lengthened the flight times between Finnair’s Helsinki hub and its Asian destinations.
As a result of this, Finnair also partnered with aircraft manufacturer Airbus to extend range and weight limitations on some of their Airbus A350 aircraft, in order to increase capacity first reduced by the multi-hour re-routes the airspace closure provided.
Finnair’s Qantas agreement also proves another example of Finnair strengthening ties with its oneworld partners as a part of its new strategy.