Finnair Cuts 150 Jobs Due to Effect of Russian Airspace Closure

A Finnair Airbus A319 flies overhead in falling snow.
Lentokonefani, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

LONDON – Finland’s flag carrier Finnair has ended the change negotiations that were started early October on its plan to reduce 200 jobs globally. The plan was linked to the airline’s new strategy published on September 7, which set out a plan to restore Finnair’s profitability.

Fallout effect of Russian airspace closure

Due to the dramatic changes in Finnair’s operating environment caused by the closure of Russian airspace, Finnair now reduces approximately 90 jobs in Finland. Some employees can be offered a new role at Finnair. Outside Finland, 57 jobs will be reduced.  The personnel reductions will be implemented by the end of February 2023.

“Finnair employees are committed professionals, who in many ways have already had to stretch, first during the pandemic, and then because of the war started by Russia. I’m deeply sorry that we must take these difficult but necessary measures in our quest to restore our profitability,” says Topi Manner, Finnair CEO.

The change negotiations concerned some 770 employees in Finland who work in executive, manager and expert roles. Finnair has a total of approximately 5300 employees globally.

Finnair offers those who will become redundant support in re-employment through a change security program NEXT. This includes among other individual career coaching and training opportunities.

Finnair continues its determined actions to restore its profitability, for example through decreasing unit costs and strengthening unit revenues.

Flight cancellations due cabin crew strike

The news of the job cuts by the airline comes just after Finnair was forced to cancel approximately 100 flights leaving Helsinki Airport on Sunday 20 November and Monday 21 November.

The Finnish Transport Workers’ Union AKT announced a strike regarding Finnair’s cabin crew in Helsinki between Sunday 20th Nov at 3 p.m. EET and Monday 21st Nov at 3 p.m.  

Flight cancellations and rerouting of customers began on Saturday and continued across the weekend.

The strike did not affect flights operated by Norra, nor flights whose cabin service is provided by Finnair’s partners, such as flights to Singapore and India, or flights operated by other airlines’ aircraft and crew, for example to Barcelona and Madrid.   

“We are deeply sorry for the concern and inconvenience this strike is causing our customers, and do our best to reroute our customers as soon as possible,” said Jaakko Schildt, Finnair’s Chief Operating Officer, over the weekend.

“It is sad that the labour union has chosen the path of an illegal strike instead of negotiations. Throughout the autumn we have discussed savings possibilities with the unions, but unfortunately, we have not been able to achieve a result with cabin crew. We still hope to find solutions together,” said Schildt.  

During the autumn, the airline negotiated with all of its employee groups on savings needed to restore its profitability.

Finnair made considerable losses and became indebted during the Covid-19 pandemic, and says that the closure of Russian airspace has significantly impacted its ability to generate profit. 

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