Finnair, the Finnish national carrier, which has been experiencing a significant loss in air passenger traffic, due to COVID-19 has also been affected by the situation in Ukraine, after the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Despite the noticeable improvement in air traffic recorded in February, the closure of airspace to Russian air traffic will bring additional difficulties for the airline.
Finnair, Finland’s national carrier, carried a total of 443,000 passengers during the month of February, down 1.8 percent compared to January’s figures and up from 87,300 passengers carried in February last year.
According to the Finnish national carrier, a significant improvement in passenger traffic figures was observed in February last month, compared to the figures for the same period last year, TheSchengen.com reports.
The spread of the Corona virus also affected the travel and tourism sector, despite the continued strong performance.
Finnair revealed that it operated an average of 196 daily flights in February, including cargo-only flights, down from the 209 recorded in January.
The capacity decreased during the last month by 11.8%, while the air traffic of the company recorded 14.1% compared to the January figures.
The airline stressed that the impact of the Corona virus, including travel restrictions and entry bans imposed by a large number of countries due to the Omicron variable, has affected passenger traffic numbers.
“It was particularly evident in the North Atlantic and Asia figures despite travel from both Finland and Sweden to the US and, for example, Thailand opened in November, increasing the number of passengers carried by Finnair. The impact of the crisis in Ukraine was not so obvious. Yet in the February numbers,” the statement released by the airline indicates.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine prompted European countries to impose sanctions. In addition, European countries, including Finland, closed their airspace to Russian air traffic. This decision was confirmed by the Minister of Transport and Communications, Timo Harka.
The minister confirmed last month that the Scandinavian country is preparing to close its airspace to Russian air traffic, with which it shares a border of 1,300 kilometers.
The situation in Ukraine has disrupted the travel industry, raising serious questions about whether it is safe to fly amid the ongoing war.
Besides, the authorities in Finland announced that the Russian invasion of Ukraine prompted a large number of countries to cancel their flights to Finland amidst safety concerns.
In this regard, Director of Visit Finland, Kristina Hitasari, confirmed that the tourism industry in Finland has improved after being severely affected by the situation of the Corona virus, but the industry is now facing a state of uncertainty due to the war in Ukraine.
“We have sent inquiries about the current situation, whether you can come to Finland and what has been affected here,” Hitasari emphasized.
She considered the situation a serious crisis, adding that she feared repercussions.