Finnair’s successful journey to financial growth and expansion  went into survival mode in a very short time. The challenges caused by the COVID-19 forced the flag carrier of Finland to make radical changes in the company’s planning strategy.

The flag carrier of Finland finished the 2019 with significant financial success.  Having an ambitious growth strategy, the airline was focused on expansion and plans to connect Europe and Asia. But the sudden spread of COVID-19 virus has changed the airline’s plans unrecognizably and currently the carrier is functioning “in a survival mode”, Mikko Turtiainen, the Vice President of Global Sales of Finnair, revealed during Air Convention Digital Week on September 14, 2020. 

“I have been with Finnair for twenty years, but I have to say for the past seven months in 2020, I still haven’t found the right words to describe the environment that we are living in”, said Turtiainen. “It was extremely difficult and no one knew how severe, how deep the [crisis] would go”.

The company has published a new ramp up strategy of the network under which Finnair intends to continue its flight operations with a significantly decreased capacity. “We have viewed our network from July until the end of the winter season, so basically until the end of March. We have pretty much mapped out the capacity that we have been flying, which started from July, being about 25% of that 2019 level”, counted Turtiainen. 

Turtiainen stated that the government decisions have been playing a much higher role for network planning than it had before the pandemic. As a result, the airline has changed its long-term planning strategy into short-term planning which covers up to twelve months of an operational period instead of developing a strategy for several years.

“The planning process is more week-on-week, following what happens in regards to restrictions”, stated Turtiainen.

“A long term network planning has been an area where you make plans for the next one to five years in regards to where the airline will fly. This has changed. Now the long-term planning which we are taking, is pretty much for the six to twelve months”, explained the Vice President of Global Sales of Finnair.