Dozens of aircraft parked at Finnair's home base, Helsinki-Vantaa, indicate that international air traffic is almost completely stopped. According to Finnair, 70 of its 85 aircraft are now on the ground.
Finnair has reduced its air traffic capacity by 90 per cent due to movement restrictions in the corona crisis. It can be seen in the Helsinki-Vantaa area, where long-haul, wide-body aircraft parked next to each other await the return of air passengers.
So far, the machines have been able to fit in the home field without having to be moved.
- All aircraft can be parked in the Helsinki-Vantaa airport area and, if needed, can also be taken to provincial stations, such as Tampere, says Mari Kanerva of Finnair Communications.
Watch the video above for what Helsinki-Vantaa looks like now.
Airplanes are trying to find alternative uses, as the cost of them is running all the time.
- We are currently exploring the feasibility of harnessing some of our wide-bodied aircraft for freight-only purposes, and have been in contact with our customers to identify their needs. There is particular interest in this between Asia and Europe, Kanerva says.
The aim is to make use of the extra earth time for maintenance by making the machines less frequently repetitive. This is the case, for example, in the case of regular fleet maintenance every 20 months.
The drop in air travel before the corona crisis had been huge. Normally Finnair flies 12,000 flights a month, but now the company estimates that the number of flights has dropped to about 1,600.
The route map contains only the most important routes deemed necessary for the functioning of society. In Finland, this means that air operations are restricted to Kuopio, Mariehamn, Oulu and Rovaniemi airports.
Prior to the decision to close the resort in Lapland, the company announced that it would fly to Ivalo, Kittilä and Kuusamo in the northern airports at Easter. After the closure of the ski resorts, the future of these flights may be uncertain.
However, the slowdown in domestic flight operations is a minor issue for Finnair. The company's growth and business strategy has for many years been based on Asian routes that are not currently flown. The 14 wide-body Airbus A350s and eight Airbus 330-300s acquired for Asia's strategy are firmly on the ground.
The acquisition of the Airbus 350 fleet was a huge investment of over one billion euros. Roughly half of the aircraft are owned by Finnair and the other half are purchased under a leasing agreement. Compared to many other companies, Finnair's fortune in this situation is that it owns a significant part of its aircraft itself, which means that running costs do not burden the cashier as much as the company that purchased its equipment under a leasing agreement.
The company believes the first Asian route to Tokyo's Haneda will reopen on May 3, but this is uncertain.
In Europe, the company flies to nine other cities, namely Amsterdam, Berlin, Brussels, Frankfurt, London, Munich, Paris, Stockholm and Zurich with Airbus 319 and Embraer fleet.
Before the corona crisis, the company had 110 flight routes, but now the number of destinations has fallen to less than 20.