In his speech at the Finnair Annual Shareholders’ Meeting held today at the Helsinki Fair Center, President and CEO Keijo Suila said that the most difficult times for the aviation industry are becoming a thing of the past.
“Quick and carefully aimed adaptation measures have helped us across the most difficult period in a financially sound state. Recovering demand and our forging ahead with the savings plan drawn up last autumn give us confidence. I see no reason to change our goal of improving our operational result this year,” says President and CEO Keijo Suila.
According to Mr Suila, investing in traffic to the East has proven to be the correct choice in strategy. The Finnair traffic statistics for March published on Wednesday show a 40% rise in the number of passengers in Asian traffic as well as a doubling in demand for Business Class on Asian routes. Growth in demand for Europe was also positive in February for the first time since last autumn.
“Our strategy is really taking effect. The growth in Asian traffic improves passenger numbers in Europe as well. The adaptation measures have really brightened up our passenger load factors in international traffic. The seeds of growth sown at the right time are showing promising sprouts this spring,” Mr Suila describes.
In using Helsinki Airport as its hub, Finnair has a clear geographical advantage in travel towards the East. Asia’s growing economies offer new markets for both passenger and cargo traffic. Already the majority of flights are sold in Asia.
“The growth potential of Helsinki gateway traffic is considerable. Travel from China to Europe is growing strongly. In addition, China is constantly gaining popularity as a travel destination for Finns and other Europeans.”
Finnair opened a new route to Hong Kong and added frequencies to Beijing and Bangkok in February. In September the number of weekly Beijing flights will increase from four to five.
Mr Suila noted that there is no room for economically weak airlines as free competition and the structural changes in the industry become a reality, but Finnair as an economically strong airline of good quality deserves its place also in the future. “In the future we will concentrate even more on areas where we are the best and where we have a natural capacity to offer our customers a better product than our competitor. Deepening and growing cooperation within the oneworld alliance provide our customers with a world-wide route network.
Cooperation on multiple levels also brings both profits and savings.”
“With this strategy and with these partners we have excellent potential for development also in the future,” Mr Suila sums up.