Finnair has to continue improving the productivity of its European network and outsourcing more parts of the network could be an option, the carrier’s new president & chief executive Pekka Vauramo told Aviation Week on the sidelines of the International Air Transport Association (IATA) annual general assembly in Cape Town, South Africa.
“The European network is still an issue and outsourcing is one model that could be further studied, but we have no concrete plans for the moment,” he says. Vauroma warns that some more routes could be cut but “we must ensure we keep feeder traffic to our long-haul network,” he says, adding that Finnair also has an obligation as the national carrier of Finland to keep the country connected to stimulate the economy.
The operator is watching closely the recent launch of long-haul routes by low-cost competitor Norwegian Air Shuttle. “We need to see how their product develops, but it is too early days to feel any effect on our flows,” Vauroma says. Norwegian is building a low-cost long-haul network to the U.S. and Asia using Boeing 787s, which have lower operating costs than Finnair’s Airbus A330s, but the Finnish carrier will close this cost disadvantage when its starts taking delivery of its Airbus A350s, he says.
Finnair has firm orders for 11 A350s and options for a further eight. The airline has been looking at the A350-1000 but the -900 “is the right size for us now”, COO Ville Iho notes, adding that the airline has the possibility to shift some later deliveries to the larger model.
Finnair is scheduled to take deliveries of its first A350 in the third quarter of 2015 providing Airbus maintains its promised production schedule. “There are some positive signs the program is progressing and we look forward to the maiden flight of MSN1,” says Ville.