Finnair still seeking partner for European Airbus operations

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Finnair is still looking for a mechanism to cut the cost of its European Airbus operations, but has been hampered by difficult conditions in the market.

The airline has already agreed to outsource flying with a dozen Embraer 190s to UK operator Flybe, services which represent about a third of Finnair's European traffic.

Finnair plans to transfer this operation to Flybe in October. But it is also looking at similar partnerships for other short-haul operations.

"In addition to the Flybe partnership, we have analysed co-operation opportunities in order to solve the problems related to our European Airbus traffic," says Finnair.

While it is continuing this effort, it says a suitable partnership "could not be found within our original target schedule".

"A radically changing competitive environment, numerous bankruptcies and challenging market conditions have made it more difficult to find the right solution," adds Finnair.

"Nevertheless, the company is still committed to identifying any and all means to significantly reduce the cost level of European traffic and seeks different alternatives with potential partners and its own labour groups."

Finnair has a fleet of 27 Airbus A320-family jets, of which 10 are leased. Two will be returned to lessors in autumn when their terms expire.

It will be taking delivery of five A321s, to replace its leisure division's Boeing 757-200s, towards the end of 2013.