October has been a strong month for Finnish flag carrier Finnair, with solid year-on-year growth in passenger traffic and cargo figures.
Enjoying a 6.2% year-on-year increase in traffic numbers with solid load factor, the airline has demonstrated resilience in the face of challenges posed by the pandemic and the closure of Russian airspace.
Rising Passenger Numbers
Finnair proudly reported carrying 920,400 passengers in October. This represents a sound 6.2% increase compared to the same month in 2022.
The good news doesn’t stop there; this figure is only 0.1% less than the previous month, September 2023, a minor dip attributed to normal seasonality.
It’s important to note that comparing month-on-month figures can be tricky due to variations in the number of days, and September had one day less this year.
Pandemic’s Fading Impact
The surge in October passenger traffic can be largely attributed to the fading impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In addition to that, the closure of Russian airspace, which occurred during the same period last year, further contributed to these impressive year-on-year growth figures.
However, it’s worth noting that the lingering effects of the Russian airspace closure are still somewhat visible, particularly in Asian passenger traffic figures compared to pre-pandemic levels.
Capacity and Traffic Metrics
To understand the scale of this surge, let’s look at the capacity metrics. Finnair’s Available Seat Kilometres (ASK) increased by 9.9% year-on-year and by 3.7% month-on-month.
The traffic, measured in Revenue Passenger Kilometres (RPKs), surged by 17.0% year-on-year and by 2.9% month-on-month. This reflects a strong increase in demand.
One of the standout highlights is the remarkable 34.1% year-on-year increase in Asian traffic. This is primarily due to Finnair’s expansion in capacity to Japan and South Korea, reflecting a growing appetite for air travel in these regions.
North Atlantic Traffic
Conversely, North Atlantic capacity decreased by 42.1%, largely because Finnair discontinued operations between Stockholm and North American destinations at the end of October 2022.
European and Middle Eastern Traffic
European traffic saw a healthy 3.6% increase in ASKs. Meanwhile, Middle Eastern capacity soared by an astonishing 799.0%, largely thanks to the cooperation between Finnair and Qatar Airways that began in November 2022.
Domestic traffic faced a 6.4% decrease in ASKs due to the use of smaller aircraft.
October also brought remarkable growth in cargo figures for Finnair. The airline experienced an increase in many cargo figures due to its partnership with Qatar Airways and the expansion of Asian capacity.
This growth offset the loss of North Atlantic cargo capacity due to discontinued operations between Sweden and the US.
Available cargo tonne kilometres surged by 23.2%, and revenue cargo tonne kilometres increased by 21.8% year-on-year. The total cargo tonnes carried by Finnair increased by an impressive 27.4% year-on-year and by 10.0% month-on-month.
Punctuality is crucial metric in the airline industry, and Finnair takes this seriously. In October, 81.3% of all Finnair flights arrived on schedule, a commendable figure despite the challenges faced in the aviation sector.
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