Finnair Shows Mixed Fortunes in March

A Finnair Airbus A350 parked on the apron.
Photo Credit: Finnair

Finnair’s March 2024 traffic report paints a picture of an airline adapting to a dynamic travel environment.

While passenger numbers dipped slightly by 3.6% compared to March 2023, the airline strategically increased capacity (measured in Available Seat Kilometers, or ASKs) by 3.9%.

This targeted growth, particularly evident in Asian routes to Japan and South Korea (ASK increase of 13.5%), suggests a focus on capitalizing on specific regional travel trends.

Passenger Traffic in March

However, the overall passenger traffic increase, measured in Revenue Passenger Kilometers (RPKs), remained modest at 0.3%.

This indicates that Finnair filled a smaller portion of the increased seat capacity, leading to a decrease in the Passenger Load Factor (PLF) by 2.7 percentage points to 75.0%.

A closer look at regional performance reveals further nuance. The strong growth in Asian RPKs (6.9%) suggests a successful strategy in that market.

Conversely, the significant drop in North Atlantic traffic (7.2%) highlights potential challenges on those routes. The decline in European and Middle Eastern traffic, along with domestic travel, also merits further investigation.

A Finnair ATR aircraft prepares for takeoff.
Photo Credit: Finnair

Comparison with February Performance

Comparing March performance with the previous month – in February, Finnair carried 804,700 passengers. This was 2.3% less than in February 2023, even though there was one day more in February 2024 due to the leap year. 

The turnaround in Finnair’s Asian traffic performance for March is notable. Passenger numbers stayed flat in Asian traffic year-on-year in February, but decreased in North Atlantic traffic by 9.1%. The North American decline has continued through into March.

A 6.7% decline in Middle Eastern traffic was also notable in February.

A Finnair Airbus A350 climbs after takeoff.
Photo Credit: Finnair

Cargo Operations Shine

Despite the mixed passenger traffic results, Finnair’s cargo operations emerged as a bright spot in March. Total cargo tonnage surged by an impressive 8.6% year-on-year, fueled by increased capacity on Asian and European routes.

This growth is further underscored by the 9.2% rise in revenue cargo tonne kilometers, indicating strong demand for cargo transportation services.

Maintaining operational efficiency remains a priority for Finnair, as evidenced by their on-time performance of 83.7% for March. This commitment to punctuality is crucial for building customer trust and maintaining a competitive edge.

Looking ahead, Finnair’s traffic report for April 2024, expected on Tuesday, May 7th, 2024, will provide further insights into the airline’s ability to navigate the evolving travel landscape.

It will be interesting to see if the targeted capacity adjustments and focus on specific regions continue to yield positive results, and how Finnair addresses any identified challenges in other markets.

A Finnair Airbus pulls up at the Seattle gate.
Photo Credit: Port of Seattle

About Finnair

Finnair, the flag carrier and largest airline of Finland, boasts a rich history dating back to 1923. With its hub conveniently located at Helsinki Airport, Finnair reigns supreme in both domestic and international Finnish air travel.

The airline operates a full-service model, offering a comfortable and comprehensive flying experience. Finnair is a member of the Oneworld alliance, providing passengers with seamless connections to a vast global network.

Beyond its impressive passenger services, Finnair is also a major player in the cargo transportation industry.

Their extensive route network and focus on operational efficiency make them a reliable choice for businesses shipping goods around the world.

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By Len Varley - Assistant Editor 4 Min Read
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