Finnair launches long-haul flights from Stockholm
Finnair has just announced a major long-haul expansion, but not outside of Finland …
New Finnair A350 flights from Sweden
Helsinki-based Finnair has revealed that it will operate three long-haul routes from Stockholm, Sweden during the 2021/2022 winter season. Finnair will fly from:
- Stockholm to Miami from October 23, 2021 to April 22, 2022 – this route will operate 2-4 times per week
- Stockholm to Bangkok from October 22, 2021 to April 22, 2022 – the route will be operated 5-7 times per week
- Stockholm to Phuket – from October 24, 2021 to April 21, 2022 – the route will be operated 1 to 3 times per week
These new routes will all be operated by Airbus A350-900s, offering a business class, an economy section with more legroom and an economy cabin.
Miami, Bangkok and Phuket are all destinations that Finnair also serves from its hub in Helsinki, so long-haul service is added to these destinations from another Nordic capital. The crew on board will be Finnair pilots and cabin service will be provided by Finnair’s partner, Airpro, which is a company that provides contract workers in the aviation industry.
While Finnair pilots have long had strong union contracts, it was different with flight attendants. For example, Finnair has several flight attendant bases in Asia, which largely operated long-haul flights.
As Ole Orver, Finnair Commercial Director, describes Finnair’s new routes from Sweden:
“We are delighted to meet the travel needs of our Swedish customers with non-stop service from Arlanda to Thailand and Miami, which are among the top winter vacation destinations for Swedes. The new flights will strengthen our offer on the Swedish market.
My take on Finnair’s expansion in Stockholm
This is a creative expansion on Finnair’s part, and it really makes sense, when you think about it. When it comes to long-haul flights, Finnair’s largest market historically has been between Europe and Asia, given Finland’s favorable geography.
Specifically, Finnair has historically operated the longest-haul flights to China. Go understand that the situation has changed a lot:
- Anyone can guess when China will open up to the rest of the world, and conversely, everyone will guess when most of the rest of the world will open up to China.
- China is increasingly isolated, and this does not bode well for Finnair
- On top of that, Chinese aviation authorities are increasingly imposing limits on inbound international arrivals due to the quarantine requirement, and there is no sign that it will end anytime soon.
- Looking at Finnair’s winter schedule, several destinations in China have been completely phased out, while other destinations see their frequencies reduced
Naturally, Finland will have to look elsewhere to fill the A350s this winter. And while the airline flies to all kinds of warmer destinations, Finland is a country with just 5.5 million people, so the market is only that big. While Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) is generally the “national carrier” for Sweden, in reality the airline has divided its operations between Denmark, Norway and Sweden, so there is certainly room for some competition. .
Additionally, Norwegian operated long-haul flights out of Stockholm, but the airline has cut all long-haul flights.
It will be fascinating to see how this strategy works – I can see how it makes sense this winter, but is it possible that Finnair can make it work in the long term? Only time will tell.
Finnair is not the only European airline to launch long-haul flights outside its home country – Aer Lingus will launch long-haul flights from Manchester in a few months.
At the end of the line
Finnair will launch long-haul flights from Stockholm this winter, with A350 services to Miami, Bangkok and Phuket. This expansion makes perfect sense, considering that other long-haul markets have more or less dried up for the airline.
What do you think of Finnair’s expansion outside Sweden?