Finnair has followed neighbouring Nordic carrier SAS in making dramatic operational cuts, slashing 90% of its normal capacity from the beginning of April.
The Finnish flag-carrier says the cuts – in response to a substantial fall in demand following the coronavirus outbreak – will be maintained “until the situation improves”, without indicating when it expects such a development.
Finnair had already started seeking cost-saving measures but states that it is drawing up a funding plan, which would involve calling on credit lines, loans, and arranging sale-and-leaseback of unencumbered aircraft.
“It is now clear that the coronavirus is by far the biggest crisis in the history of aviation,” says chief executive Topi Manner, stating that the company is forecasting a substantial operating loss for the full year.
The airline’s underlying competitiveness, he says, “remains intact” and the company insists it has a “strong” cash position and “healthy” balance sheet.
Finland’s government, the carrier’s major shareholder, intends to continue supporting the airline. Finnair has axed a planned dividend payment, after the government advised it would vote against the proposal.