Why is Finnair still cancelling flights?
Finnair is working hard to maintain a traffic program that our customers can depend on and that is feasible for us to fly in the changing environment. Many destinations are now opening gradually, and we are increasing our connections to those markets. So why are we still cancelling flights?
Perttu Jolma, Vice President of Finnair Traffic Planning
Unfortunately, there is still a lot of uncertainty with travel restrictions. The restrictions continue to impact the number of customer bookings we receive. Sometimes there are changes to the travel restrictions or the number of bookings within a very short time.
Why our traditional traffic planning tools don’t work
One of the challenges we have is that many of the analysis tools we normally use when designing the traffic program are based on past historical data on customer behaviour. During the current conditions, these tools are less valid than normally. We now need to make some program planning decisions by estimating the demand for bookings in a rough manner.
Many of our customers are making their travel plan-related decisions and bookings quite late during the pandemic. This challenges us in tracking the expected bookings for a flight. We understand that customers’ late bookings are driven by the overall situation regarding travel. As a consequential impact, we are still forced to cancel flights due to lack of demand.
Why we can’t operate unprofitable flights
Some of the changes can very much depend on the exact date and time of the flight in question. Even if a destination is starting to receive a reasonable amount of customers, there can be a smaller number of less popular flights that are simply not feasible to fly due to unprofitability.
Finnair is still making close to a two-million-euro loss every day because of the pandemic. Our responsibility is to ensure we can continue to offer flights to our customers and work for our employees also in the future. We need to be mindful of reducing the losses we make as a company.
Our flexible booking policy continues
We understand that the rescheduled and cancelled flights cause problems to our customers and our priority is to have an offering that the customers can trust. As an important step forward, we just republished our winter 2021/2022 traffic program with adjusted content.
The new traffic programme is designed based on our current forecast and the expectation that our traffic will start to grow as the travel restrictions gradually decrease. Our goal is to offer flights that we can operate. However, due to the travel restriction and demand changes, we still expect continued smaller adjustments.
Due to this uncertainty, we still have additional flexibility for the bookings made until the end of August. If you decide to book a flight early, it makes our planning work easier as we have better visibility of where our customers are planning to fly as the air travel recovers.
For extra peace of mind going forward, you can also book a ticket with extra flexibility. When making bookings it is also a good practice to ensure that all your contact details are included in the booking. One of the best ways to book a flight is via finnair.com where we request these details automatically. When we have your full contact details, it’s easier for us to contact you in case there are changes to your flight.