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The Hardest Hit European Airline by Russian Airspace Closure

There is one of the many European airlines that is probably feeling hardest the blow of not being allowed to fly over Russia. That airline has to be Helsinki based Finnair.

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Why Does Finnair Have the Biggest Problems

Simply put, Finnair is the most northern and closest to Russia of the European long-haul airlines. Not only, in recent years Finnair has invested heavily on trying to be a viable option for trips between Asia and Europe.

The investments have been heavy both marketing and on the fleet. From a marketing point of view, Finnair advertised itself as the shortcut to Asia. This claim was possibile thanks to its almost polar route to important cities in Korea and Japan.

Fleet-wise the investments also were significant. In this area the Finnish airline received many new generation long haul jets. As o 2022, the airline boasts 16 A350-900s and is awaiting delivery of 3 more.

This has allowed Finnair to open connections on lower demand routes in Asia, such as Helsinki-Busan (South Korea). The fact that Russian airspace is no longer open to the airline means that all of its Asian routes have suddenly become unprofitable.

Finnair A321 Landing in the snow

Bypassing the Russian airspace would mean detouring significantly south, which in turn translates to:

  • A significant increase in operational cost. Due to the extra fuel burnt to do so.
  • A huge increase in flight times to the far east. Which from a passenger prospective makes flying Finnair far less appealing. You might as well fly with an airline less affected by this issue.

Finnair A350 at Changi Singapore Airport

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So What Will Happen To The Airline?

If the current situation prolongs the airline will of course be heavily impacted. It is likely that the Finnish carrier would be the hardest hit airline.

However the airline’s cash position is still strong and its future is not under immediate threat. The plan, if the Asian destinations remain out of reach, will probably be to have a stronger focus on the US market.

There are signals transatlantic demand being on the rise. Finnair might try to get a better stronghold on lucrative transatlantic routes to replace the missing income from the far east.

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