Finnair and Flybe have signed a memorandum of understanding which will see the Finish airline transfer twelve 100-seat Embraer aircraft to Flybe.
Starting October 2012, Flybe will operate these aircraft on Finnair routes for Finnair.
The move is a part of Finnair’s efforts to improve the profitability of its European network, and it offers a platform for growth for Flybe Nordic.
Last year Finnair and Flybe formed Flybe Nordic AB, of which Flybe owns 60 per cent and Finnair 40 per cent.
“This move is a part of our strategy to restore Finnair’s profitability,” said Mika Vehviläinen, Finnair chief executive.
“The MoU covers approximately one third of our European flights. Flybe offers a cost efficient platform for operating this traffic, and enables us to continue to offer a wide network and multiple frequencies to both our Finnish customers and our customers flying between Europe and Finnair’s Asian destinations.”
From the customer point view, the change will be virtually unnoticed.
Finnair continues to be responsible for sales, marketing and customer support, but the flights are operated by Flybe.
Once the agreement is completed, 12 Embraer aircraft and the traffic operated with them transfers from Finnair to Flybe.
In connection with this business transfer, cabin attendants and pilots for this traffic will transfer with the business, unless otherwise agreed in negotiations with personnel.
Negotiations on cost savings between Finnair and the Finnish Airline Pilots’ Association took place during the spring.
If the savings agreement under preparation is completed, pilots transferring to operate Flybe flights would return to Finnair in stages to be trained as Airbus pilots for Finnair’s growing Asian traffic.