Finnair is cutting its February 2022 flying programme in response to increased sick leave among its employees and those of its partners, with the launch of services to Dallas and the return of Nagoya flights both pushed back as a result.

The Oneworld carrier said on 12 January that it will trim its programme by 20% for the month, enabling it to operate “a more flexible schedule” in light of the challenges created by the spread of the Omicron variant of Covid-19.

“Staff sick leave is now significantly impacting Finnair and airports in Finland as well as throughout the world,” says Finnair chief commercial officer Ole Orver. “We aim to meet these resourcing challenges through the cancellation of flights, to avoid last-minute changes and better manage our customers’ expectations.

“This will give customers more time to prepare for flight schedule changes and adjust their travel plans if needed.”


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Finnair was due to begin Dallas flights in February

Finnair says the majority of cancellations affect routes on which the carrier operates multiple daily frequencies, including to Copenhagen, Oslo, Paris, Rome and Stockholm. Beyond short-haul frequency reductions, flights to Singapore and Hong Kong will be reduced to twice-weekly and thrice-weekly respectively, the airlines says.

The move also means that the launch of Finnair’s Dallas flights will be pushed back from February to late March, while the resumption of Nagoya flights will shift to an unspecified date in the summer 2022 season.

Staff stick leave has been a problem for US airlines in particular in recent weeks, as the highly transmissible Omicron variant infects large numbers of employees concurrently.