Finnair observed lower demand on its Asian network during the third quarter, particularly on its route to Hong Kong, the territory which has been experiencing waves of anti-government protests that have intensified since mid-year.
But the quarter appears to have broadly met forecasts, with a decline in comparable operating profit to just under €101 million ($113 million) in the three months to 30 September. Revenues rose nearly 8% to €870 million.
Chief executive Topi Manner attributes the weaker performance to higher fuel prices, currency effects, and a decline in US dollar-based discount rates on maintenance reserves.
Fuel costs increased by €27 million over the quarter, of which half was due to the rise in prices.
The airline adds that its operations have been affected by "global uncertainties" including the US-China trade conflict and the UK's planned withdrawal from the European Union.
Finnair says demand from Europe to Asian destinations "softened" during the quarter, especially to Hong Kong, despite the city's being a focus of capacity growth – along with Japanese routes – over the period.
Its European operations benefited from a near-flat increase in capacity between Helsinki and the carrier's European destinations, as competitors reduced capacity on certain Nordic routes to the Mediterranean.
European traffic performed "strongly" in terms of growth and yield, says Manner, and the airline's new Los Angeles route has been "well-received".
But he adds: "We see a shift in operating environment where global uncertainties have translated into slower economic growth.
"In this environment we will pay more focus on value creating growth and cost efficiency."
Weaker freight demand has "significantly" pushed down yields in the cargo market, although Finnair says its cargo market share grew slightly over the quarter.
Over the first nine months of the year Finnair was profitable, with a comparable operating result of nearly €132 million.
Finnair expects to hike capacity by 11-12% this year, higher than previous estimates, owing to its new Beijing service to Daxing airport.
But it has not altered its full-year outlook, stating that it expects revenue to rise at a slower pace than capacity, while the operating environment will remain "volatile" in the second half. The company says its comparable operating result will be around 4.5-6% of revenues.