Finnair whose ‘bridge across the arctic’ strategy has paid huge dividends in growth over the last few years, is to slow expansion and concentrate on profitability.
Profits fell 18.8% but passenger numbers increased some 11%, but with capacity rising by 13%.
In any event Finnair had a record year, but over capacity and low fares have hit profits.
Overall load factors dropped to 76.9%.
One of its most crucial long haul markets is China and the economic slow down there is far more that the Chinese official figures suggest, so Finnair sees a slow down in growth there.
It’s other hyper-competitive market is Scandinavia and Northern Europe – Norwegian has been pulling back from many of its long haul markets using 737-8’s and deploying them on short haul, with Finnair as one of its targets.
There is some concern that a disorderly Brexit will hit its biggest single route to London Heathrow, but it’s hoping that increased frequencies this summer will sustain its position.
Finnair is expecting to add 2 more A350-900’s in 2019, which will have the reduced business cabin, space being allocated to an Economy plus type seating.
The pair will raise the airline’s total to 14 A350-900’s, supported by 8 A333’s, 19 A321’s, 10 A320’s, 8 A319’s and 12 ERJ-190’s.
I’ll being writing up a full review of the Finnair A350-900 business class and A321 services from London to Hong Kong and back from Tokyo in April/May.