Finnair cancels 100 flights departing from Helsinki Airport due to staff strike

Finnair has been forced to cancel around 100 flights departing from its Helsinki hub following an “illegal” staff strike.   

The Finnish Transport Workers’ Union AKT announced that a strike regarding Finnair’s cabin crew in Helsinki would be taking place between November 20 at 3 p.m. EET and November 21 at 3 p.m, according to a statement released by Finnair on November 20, 2022.  

As Finnair reroutes passengers affected by the strike, Jaakko Schildt, Finnair’s Chief Operating Officer, said that it was “sad that the labor union has chosen the path of an illegal strike instead of negotiations”.  

“Throughout the autumn we have discussed savings possibilities with the unions, but unfortunately, we have not been able to achieve a result with cabin crew. We still hope to find solutions together,” Schildt added.  

Prior to the strike, Finnair had negotiated with all its employee groups on savings needed to restore Finnair’s profitability, after suffering “considerable losses and becoming indebted during the covid-19 pandemic”, the airline noted.   

The closure of Russian airspace has also significantly impacted Finnair’s ability to generate profit, the airline explained.  

“The primary goal has been to find cost-reducing solutions together with Finnair employees. For cabin crew, Finnair proposed changes for example to crew utilization efficiency, layover hotel rules and to additional pay-per-hour rules for long flights, as the closure of Russian airspace has made the flight times to Asia considerably longer,” the Finnair statement read.  

However, the airline expressed its intent to seek “alternative measures” after it could not reach an agreement with cabin crew staff.  

Finnair also announced that it had recently begun change negotiations on plans to increase subcontracting of cabin service on long-haul routes. 

According to Finnair, the current strike does not affect flights operated by Norra, nor flights whose cabin service is provided by Finnair’s partners. This includes flights to Singapore, India, Barcelona and Madrid.     

According to the airline’s travel update, the strike affects all of Finnair’s flights departing from Helsinki,  

This includes flights departing from Helsinki to London, Amsterdam, Milano, Stockholm, Rome, Munchen, Zurich, Bangkok, Vienna, Berlin and Tokyo. 

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