Hit hard by COVID-19, Finnair revenue dives by 89 pct in Q3
Finnish national carrier Finnair announced on Wednesday that both its revenue and passenger numbers plunged in the third quarter (Q3) this year, as the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic continued and related travel restrictions kept the company's passenger traffic at a standstill.
Between July and September 2020, the airline's revenue decreased by 88.7 percent from 865.4 million euros (1.02 billion U.S. dollars) in the same period in 2019 to 97.4 million euros, said Finnair in its interim report issued on Wednesday.
Its operating loss amounted to 183.1 million euros in Q3 this year, compared with an operating profit of 94.9 million euros one year earlier. In Q3 2020, the number of passengers decreased by 88.9 percent from 4.1 million in the same period of 2019 to 0.5 million.
Topi Manner, CEO of Finnair, said in the report that the pandemic continued to impact Finnair heavily during the quarter.
"Travel restrictions, which are particularly strict in Finland, led us to deviate from our plans and we continued to operate a restricted network throughout the quarter," said Manner, adding that this was reflected in the company's passenger numbers, revenue and result.
However, the demand for cargo flights remained strong. Manner noted that due to the strong demand for cargo between Finland and Asia, Finnair has been able to continue flying scheduled cargo services to Asia.
Also on Wednesday, the airline announced that it raises its cost-saving target from 100 million euros to 140 million euros.
At a press conference held on Wednesday, Manner said he hopes for state support provided to Finnair, especially by easing travel restrictions.
Earlier last week, Finnair announced a plan to lay off 700 employees. However, pilots and cabin service crews continue to be furloughed only so that they could start working immediately if conditions change.
At the beginning of October, the airline announced to cut its winter 2020 flight schedule by half, but continued to fly to three cities in China including Shanghai, Nanjing and Hong Kong.
Finnish business daily Kauppalehti on Wednesday quoted analysts saying that the long term growth potential in air travel in and out of China is positive, and Finnair has been able to build a clear competitive edge in the services between Asia and Europe via Finnish capital Helsinki. (1 euro = 1.17 U.S. dollars)