Finnair has warned it could outsource cabin crew jobs in a bid to achieve savings after failing to reach an agreement on cost cuts with crew in Finland.
If the plan to subcontract inflight service on routes to/from Thailand and the US to partners goes ahead, it could mean the loss of up to 450 jobs at Finnair, the airline warned on November 16, 2022.
“Possible subcontracting would be implemented by the end of 2023,” the carrier said.
Finnair currently employs around 1,750 cabin crew members in Finland. The cabin service for the carrier’s routes to Singapore, Hong Kong and India, as well as for the Doha routes from Stockholm and Copenhagen is already provided by partners.
Why does Finnair need to cut costs?
Finnair’s main business was connecting Europe and Asia via its base in Helsinki, mostly flying over Russia airspace.
However, Russia airspace has been closed to European airlines since the country invaded Ukraine in February 2022. That has resulted in longer flight times for many airlines, but Finnair has been the worst affected because of Finland’s geographic location.
“Finnair made considerable losses during the covid-19 pandemic, and the closure of Russian airspace significantly impacts Finnair’s ability to generate profit,” it said in the statement on November 16, 2022.
It therefore needs to cut costs to restore profitability and has been holding talks with employees to find ways to do so.
Finnair had on September 29, 2022 announced plans to cut 200 jobs, mostly managers and executives, but not crew.
What talks have been held?
Finnair said it had been discussing ways to achieve savings by changing employment terms, proposing changes to crew utilization efficiency, layover hotel rules and to additional pay per hour rules for long flights.
The airline said while agreements with some employee groups were reached, it had not been able to find a solution with cabin crew in Finland, and so it was now forced to look at other options.
“Our target continues to be to find a savings solution together with our cabin crew,” Finnair CEO Topi Manner said in a statement, saying the airline wanted to avoid redundancies in Finland.
“We now need a genuine will from the negotiators to find solutions that would allow us to continue inflight service with our own crew, and avoid redundancies. Discussion on alternative solutions is a vitally important part of the change negotiations process”, commented Manner.