Finnair is cutting its schedule by 20% in February due to increased sick leave amongst staff caused by the Omicron variant of COVID-19 and flu season.
Many carriers around the world, from the United States to the Philippines and Australia, have been forced to reduce flying in January as Omicron takes its toll on already tight staffing.
“Staff sick leave is now significantly impacting Finnair and airports in Finland as well as throughout the world,” Ole Orver, Chief Commercial Officer at Finnair, said in a statement announcing the cuts on January 12, 2022.
“We are sorry for the inconvenience and disruption this may cause to our customers. However, reducing our traffic program is necessary to better offer a smooth travel experience in the face of the expected resource challenges,” Orver added.
The Finnish flag carrier said that the majority of cancellations are on routes where it operates several times a day, meaning it can offer customers alternative flights for the same day.
However, it is also pushing back the start of a new long-haul service to Dallas, United States to March 27, 2022, from February. The start of flights to Nagoya will be moved to summer, while additional frequencies to Osaka will also be delayed to summer 2022.
Finnair will also reduce frequencies to Singapore to twice a week and Hong Kong to three times a week
Finnair also said flights could be affected by strike action by labor union Pro for January 17, 2022. The airline is not a party in the dispute but said it would affect aircraft maintenance.
“With our continued priority on safety, Finnair has therefore made special arrangements to secure the continued maintenance of its aircraft during the potential strike,” the airline said.