Finnair: EX-YU network dependent on Asian demand


Finland's national carrier says it sees potential in the growing former Yugoslav market, but noted that the continued development of its limited network in the region will depend highly on travel demand from Asia. As a result, the majority of its operations continue to centre around Slovenia and Croatia, where it sees a mix of both point to point and transfer traffic from the Far East. Next summer, the airline will maintain eight weekly seasonal flights between Helsinki and Dubrovnik, as well as six weekly services to Split, up from five. However, the carrier will discontinue its two weekly rotation to Pula. Furthermore, the airline will maintain four weekly seasonal services to Ljubljana but says it is “carefully following” potential destinations in other countries in the region as competition from rival airlines continues to grow. Norwegian Air Shuttle now serves Dubrovnik, Split, Pula out of the Finnish capital over the summer, as well as Pristina for most of the year, while Croatia Airlines commenced seasonal flights between Zagreb and Helsinki in 2017.

Speaking to EX-YU Aviation News, a company spokesperson said, "Slovenia and Croatia are very popular leisure destinations from Finland. A lot of the travel is point to point but we do see an increase in transfer traffic as well, those destinations are becoming increasingly popular among our Asian customers, particularly from Japan". The airline added, “The Croatian market serves as a great destination for Finnair customers both from Northern Europe and Asia. We have also seen increasing numbers of passengers from Croatia using Finnair on their trips. Demand for Croatian destinations has been growing year by year”. Finnair’s Ljubljana service has also proven popular with travellers from Asia, with the Finnish carrier handling an average of over 30.000 passengers on the seasonal route each year. “Ljubljana is developing well and we hope that someday it will be feasible to operate there year round. We actively follow many markets where we could either increase frequencies or make them year round operations”, the airline said.


The Oneworld alliance member, which has carved out a niche with direct flights to Asia, says future expansion in the former Yugoslavia will highly depend on demand from the Far East. “For the time being, the demand from our Asian units has been to Croatian coastal areas. However, when Asian tour operators create more products for the former Yugoslav area we want to be their first choice of airline and then it will be very important to have multiple entry and exit points such as Belgrade for example. At the same time we are following carefully the corporate travel market development to and from the area, because those travelling for work are one of our focus groups”.

Finnair flies between Asia, Europe and North America with an emphasis on fast connections via Helsinki, carrying more than ten million passengers annually. Its network connects nineteen cities in Asia and eight in North America with over 100 destinations in Europe.

Comments

  1. Finnair just like Finland are unknown in Serbia. I don't see them launching BEG flights any time soon. The only way I see them succeeding is by working with Chinese agencies to bring Chinese tourists to Serbia from secondary cities they serve.

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    1. The main issue is that there are just a couple of hundred Serbs living in Finalnd and there are few business ties.

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    2. I am not aware of relations between Slovenia and Finland but certianly they do found interesting flying to LJU seasonally.

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    3. That's because they can capture a large amount of Asian travellers to Slovenia. Remember no MEB3 airline flies to LJU, which is a great advantage to any airline wanting to carry passengers from Far East.

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    4. I really doubt they could do something in BEG. There is basically no O&D demand and transfers to long haul flights from HEL would have to be seriously cheap in order for someone to use it instead of FRA, AMS, CDG, LHR and IST.

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    5. SVO is HEL's main competitor from BEG. However SU has a lot of local demand making this route among the most successful in ex-YU.

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    6. I don't see how would it be possible to launch any route to Finland from BEG. Simply, not enough demand..

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    7. they could get a piece of the BEG-LED and Russia market.

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    8. It already served directly by JU, plus there are convenient options with Aeroflot and the LH group. Don't see who would fly them instead.

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    9. I think from Ex-yu Serbia has biggest community in Finland and business ties. Currently many of my Serb friends fly from Budapest to Finland, while we Croats thanks to our nature have tourists direct flights only in summer

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    10. I did not read all the comments, but why are we talking here about Serbia which was never even mentioned in the post?

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    11. Well they do mention BEG

      “For the time being, the demand from our Asian units has been to Croatian coastal areas. However, when Asian tour operators create more products for the former Yugoslav area we want to be their first choice of airline and then it will be very important to have multiple entry and exit points such as Belgrade for example. At the same time we are following carefully the corporate travel market development to and from the area, because those travelling for work are one of our focus groups”.

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    12. Not saying they should start flying to Belgrade but it is surprising they have not spread their wings through ex-Yu especially since they have 100 seat Embraers in their fleet.

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    13. @ 11.37 I assume they are focusing on more high yielding markets than ex-Yu.

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  2. No Finnair to ZAG?

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    1. Did they ever used to fly to ZAG?

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    2. They are flying to Croatian coast and we heard here that Zagreb becomes more popular tourist destination but obviously not for Finnair

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    3. Croatia Airlines flies ZAG-HEL seasonally and even that is mostly filled up with transfers to the coast. Finnish people don't really care about the Balkans. They only fly to Croatian coast to sunbathe and swim.

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    4. Actually ZAG-HEL flight is mostly filled with Croats and Bosnian diaspora (especially the latter). Also connections to Sarajevo and Skopje are popular. You would be surprised how much Finns like balkans (from tourist perspective), problem is just too little marketing other than Croatian coast (+ Mostar maybe). Even though Finns are Nordic they are still Easter Europeans and when you get to know them better there is more similarity between us and Finns then with other Nordics/Western Europeans (probably long Russian influence has left impact)

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    5. Interesting. Hopefully in the future we will see better marketing and more flights.

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    6. ”Even though Finns are Nordic they are still Easter Europeans”

      False. Unless you want to elaborate what you meant?

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    7. Finnish is related to Turkish and Hungarian

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    8. No it's not. It's very very distantly related to Hungarian, but no modern linguist groups them together anymore. As for Turkish, no idea where you got that from, that's an entirely separate language family.

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    9. Look at the map, Finland is more east then Ex-Yu...
      Otherwise theres a lot of Easter European mentality, just go drinking with some Finns and you'll see

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    10. They're doing quite good for a nation with an eastern European mentality.

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    11. "Turkish material in Hungarian" by John Dyneley Prince, Columbia University"

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    12. Finns are definitely not more similar to ex-Yugoslavs than they are to other Nordic nations. They were part of Sweden for the longest time and have a typical northern, protestant mentality. They are a progressive nation, unlike balkan conservative nationalists. If only we were more alike.

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  3. Oh come on Finnair. You have been flying to Ljubljana for 9 years now and you still haven't gone year round!

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    1. Maybe next year for their 10 year anniversary they extend it to year round :D

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  4. It would be nice o see more of them around ex-Yu. There are hardly any One world airlines around.

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    1. With exception to QR I think there are none in BEG and SJJ.

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  5. I think SKP or PRN has bigger chances to land a flight to HEL instead of BEG due to the Albanians in Finland which are not in small number...

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    1. True. Norwegian flies seasonally from HEL to PRN although they are decreasing flights next summer to 1 per week (if I remember correctly).

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    2. The route was supposed to go year round but then they cancelled those plans and kept it only seasonal.

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    3. Albanians from Macedonia, Kosovo or Albania live in Finland?

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    4. I was also surprised when I heard that first time few months ago

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    5. Albanians from Kosovo. It's because of Finland's open doors policy in the 90s. They settled many refugees.

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    6. SKP is a win-win for everybody, the joint utilization by Serbs, Macedonians and Albanians makes it possible to have year-round destination to a large portion of Europe for cheap. The highway PRN SKP and a better connectivity to Bulgaria will facilitate even more growth.

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    7. Norwegian could have considered it. Does W6 fly to Helsinki?

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    8. Guys, including Admin, please check your facts before writing.

      Norwegian flies year-round HEL-PRN, see below:
      https://www.flightradar24.com/data/flights/d8452

      08 Dec 2018 HEL PRN B738 (EI-FJJ) 3h25min 06:25 08:50
      The next flight is scheduled on 15 Dec 2018 (weekly).

      However, there will be a gap in the service during the lowest of the low season (mid-January to end of March).

      In addition to HEL, Norwegian also flies OSL-PRN year-round, see below:
      https://www.flightradar24.com/data/flights/dy1908

      The route is served twice weekly during the winter season, reducing to one-weekly during mid-January to end of March period.

      If memory serves me right, even Finnair has previously served PRN, but only during the high summer season on a charter flight basis. I've certainly seen Finnair at PRN, but it could have been to serve the KFOR Finnish Detachment rather than general public, that I don't know.

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    9. If it does not fly during low season it is a seasonal flight. Don't see what OSL has to do with it, this is about Finnair/Helsinki.

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    10. Anonymous at 09:32:
      OK, we're getting technical here but there are two seasons for civil aviation: summer (March-October) and winter season (October-March).

      Norwegian flies during the whole of October, whole of November, whole of December, and half of January. So, technically, they server the route during both summer and winter season, i.e. year-round.

      But, if it makes you feel better to call this seasonal then so be it.

      OSL is related to HEL and Norwegian because during the period when there is a gap in the service of HEL-PRN Norwegian offers a connecting flight via OSL.

      Hope you don't feel offended by this additional information.

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    11. Finnair served OHD for two summer seasons. btw if this airline depends only on feeding asian routes forget about any ex-yu destination soon

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    12. It obviously does not depend ONLY on bringing in Asian tourists. If that was the case DY would not have so many flights from HEL to PUY, SPU, DBV and AY would not be flying 8 times a week to DBV and 6 to SPU. If that was the case there would not be 5 seasonal charters by ANA from various cities in Japan, but 5 weekly regular nonstop flights from Japan to both SPU and DBV.

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    13. well read the article again

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    14. In the article it says that it depends a lot on Asian tourists but not exclusively.

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    15. @ 9.25 Wizz did fly to Helsinki once upon a time. Finnair is lucky that airports in FIN are so expensive. there is almost no FR or Wizz flights

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    16. They have DY though.

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  6. Interesting. Who would have thought Finnair would become an Asia transfer specialist.

    Don't know how many of you know but during the JAT and Yugoslavia era, internally JAT was always comparing itself to Finnair because they had a similar fleet, similar route network at the time, and they even cooperated with plane leases and swaps.

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    1. Was there ever direct flight HEL-BEG by any company?

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    2. I don't think so. But Finnair did fly to Dubrovnik. They even sent DC10s often in summer.

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    3. It looks like JAT was flying to HEL but from which airport?
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Jat_Airways_destinations

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    4. Here is the famous Finnair DC10 at Dubrovnik brining in Finnish Tourists in the late 70s.

      https://www.airplane-pictures.net/photo/37737/oh-lhb-finnair-mcdonnell-douglas-dc-10/

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    5. http://www.airport-data.com/aircraft/photo/001027486L.html

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    6. Logically it is Asian specialist, since the shortest route from most parts of central, west and north Europe to Far Asia goes over Finland/Russia.

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    7. Yes, It's logical. And HEL has wonderful Asia terminal, Finnish design with a touch of Asia. Lots of staff from Asian countries and great Asian cousin well presented. It's one of the nicest and most comfortable specialised transfer terminals in Europe. When it comes to Japanese passengers, for them that's something that really matters.

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  7. "Slovenia and Croatia are very popular leisure destinations from Finland. A lot of the travel is point to point but we do see an increase in transfer traffic as well, those destinations are becoming increasingly popular among our Asian customers, particularly from Japan"

    I really do hope ANA launches flights to either LJU or ZAG. There is obviously demand and other airlines a benefiting from it at the moment.

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    1. To ZAG please. Not to LJU. ZAG is a prestigious airport (as it was mentioned here 2 days ago) and Croatia is a mega-super-power turist center of the world.

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    2. Thanks that you mention this fact. So true. Especially compare to region, all other exyu countries combined are not near to Croatian tourist numbers.

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    3. "...ZAG is a prestigious airport (as it was mentioned here 2 days ago) and Croatia is a mega-super-power...

      So is your comment!

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  8. Was at Helsinki Airport earlier this year. Can't say I was too impressed. The airport is crowded and small. The corridor between the gates and duty free shops is very small so lines spill into the shops, smoking room cubicles are with wide open doors (ie there are no doors)... I was a bit surprised. The part of the terminal where Finnair departs looks better but still very crowded.

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    1. Currently there is 1 billion euros investment into expansion. For smoking rooms you dont need doors at all, if difference in pressure is high enough

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  9. Well if they were smart enough they could be a transfer airline from ex-Yu to North America.

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    1. How? I mean next to LH, OS, LX, AF and even AZ it is hard to see how they could attract passengers.

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    2. So? LOT now has a good number of transfers to North America from all of ex-Yu. Price is all that matters.

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    3. What? have you ever had a look on a map where HEL lies? North America would be quite a detour.

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    4. HEL geographical location is not ideal for transfer flights from ex-YU to North America, however still better than IST. The route from LJU/ZAG to JFK via HEL is cca. 600 miles shorter than via IST, e.g. about a flight distance between LJU/ZAG to CDG shorter.

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  10. Finnair flying to Ljubljana makes Brnik Airport in summer lit bit more special.

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  11. Maybe they could eventually start flights to Montenegro for tourists.

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  12. What a stupid airline. Zagreb is full of Asian tourists year-round and Finnair states what, their network depends on the demand from Asia. Ok Finnair, keep looking :D

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    1. Yes so stupid they have a fleet 80 planes, 132 destinations and €169 million net profit for 2017 (double of what they had in 2016).

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    2. Anon 09:42

      And Trump has Golf Clubs and Resorts worth $550 million, real estates only in New York worth $ 1,5 billion, brand businesses of $ 170 million, personal assets (including two planes and three helicopters) worth $320 million etc. Do you see where I'm going with this?

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    3. In aviation, profit is all that matters.

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  13. "We have also seen increasing numbers of passengers from Croatia using Finnair on their trips"

    No No this is not possible- Finnair does not fly from ZAG and according to many here, the coastal airports are used only by tourists. Croatians fly from ZAG and there cannot be a cannibalisation of services to/from ZAG with growing offerings from the coast. ZAG can only be compared to BEG and the other 9 international airports in Croatia cannot have an impact on ZAG numbers-no no.

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    1. Pojasnit cu.
      Npr....ovo ljeto planiram nekoliko dana provesti u nekoj Finskoj ili Norveskoj zabiti.
      Sto mislis od kud cu i s kim cu?
      p.s. ni Island nije iskljucen....
      A takvih poput mene je sve vise i vise....

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    2. Kreso, mislim da nisi shvatio i da je covjek bio sarkastican i da kritizira one ovdje koji tvrde da Hrvati nigdje ne putuju, da LCC sa obale vozi samo i jedino strance i turiste i koji ne dopustaju usporedbe broja putnika Srbija-Hrvatska nego inzistiraju samo na odnosu BEG vs ZAG.
      Ja sam to tako shvatio, zato mislim da je "u sridu". Pozz!

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    3. Ha ha! Nicely done! Whoever heard of airports having different comparative advantages regardless of where on the map they are. And all Croats, naturally, fly only out of Zagreb. :))

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  14. Has anyone flown with Finnair? What is their service and fares like?

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    1. I am flying regularly with Finnair. Usually its more pricey than others and service on European flights offer just coffee & tea + blueberry juice (which is delicious) for free. But it is Finnish, which means everything works smoothly on time, clean, safe and you get what you paid for, but don't expect anything more than that.

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    2. Thanks Davor. Haven't met anyone whose flown with them so good to get some insight.

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    3. "Safe" really shouldn't be pointed out as *every* company a sane traveller would use is safe. In aviation being safe is a prerequisite, does not get you bonus points.

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    4. Davor, I am not arguing with you as I flew Finnair just once, several years ago, from Ljubljana via Helsinki to Nagoya and back. I liked the company and the service a lot, actually in my opinion they are one of the best airlines I ever flown. What I cannot agree with you is the "pricey" part, as I paid for my return ticket to Japan 496 euro, one of my cheapest Far East trips ever. Cheers!

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    5. Rijecaninu, yes they can be cheap on certain dates since they have very variable pricing. Like if you buy in advance a lot you can fly to for example Copenhagen or London or Dublin cheaper than with Norwegian (which is LCC). But on average they are more expensive.

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  15. Good luck if you only depend on Asian demand. look further

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  16. Brac would be a good choice for them..

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    1. I'm surprised someone on here hasn't already suggested Helsinki - Nis :D

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    2. They can do Helsinki - Nis - Athens, as it is anyway on the way :D

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    3. I think Finnair made a mistake because Serbia can actually benefit from Asian and mostly Chinese travellers to both BEG and INI.
      Maybe they can try INI but I am sure this will hurt LX immediately and take away transfer passengers.
      My guess is that currently there is around 35% transfer traffic in INI via ZRH out of the nearly 335,000 pax served so far so there is room for a bit more.

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  17. They don't take enough risks. They should have launched Zagreb but now it's too late with Croatia Airlines flying the route.

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    1. And each year OU is operating more and more charter flights to Finland

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    2. If they can compete against DY on flights from HEL to the coast, why not against OU to ZAG?

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    3. Because there is no P2P demand for two players.

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    4. But "Finnair: EX-YU network dependent on Asian demand" so they would cater for Asian demand.

      OU on the other hand would cater for the Ex-YU demand ex HEL to SKP, SJJ, OMO, SPU, DBV, ZAD, BWK, PUY etc.

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  18. With SPU getting crowded maybe they could consider some flights to Zadar. Pity Pula didn't work out for them.

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  19. Nice cabin photo, but I'm assuming it's not on the A319/A320 :D

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    1. More like A350 :)

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    2. No it is the A350! That is the Aircraft many sit in from HEL coming from/ going to Croatia on the 320/321 ;)

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    3. I do like the uniforms :)

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  20. What happened to their Ohrid flights :( They used to fly with Embraers and apparently they were full.

    http://www.ohridnews.com/vesti/31492

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    1. Maybe they come back. Who knows. Nordica launched flights this year. There is obviously interest from Northern Europe to OHD.

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  21. ZAG could work seasonally. Unfortunately demand collapses in winter, it was written on here the other day that even KE does badly in November and December. Daily flights on the A319 in summer could easily work.

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  22. It's great that they will be flying to Croatian coast so frequently.

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  23. Now that BNX is on the move and showing some impressive figures why doesn't AY consider BNX as a possible alternative?
    Another possibility is seasonal OHD to promote aka the Macedonian Jerusalem. It has grown a lot as a destination.

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    1. AY used to fly to Ohrid a couple of years ago seasonally with Embraers :)

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    2. I didn't know this! Why did they stop?

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    3. I don't know especially since, apparently, they did well.

      Here is a link: http://www.ohridnews.com/vesti/31492

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  24. I think LO would kill them in BEG. They are growing agressively and nothing seems to be slowing them down. They surely get a lot of transfers to Asia. Today alone they sent B738 MAX and E95.

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    1. It's a holidays month...bigger machines sent. No surprise here.
      What BEG needs is not AY but rather a direct flight to Asia.

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    2. It's still not the holiday season here. They have been sending the E95 since the beginning of the winter season, even the 734 on a few ocassions.

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  25. I have slown with Finn Air once, from Hong Kong to Helsinki (and return). Good airline, efficient, modern, clean with good service. I think they may have missed the boat with the Asian transfer market considering EK, TK, QR and now KE are real players in that respect. Its getting competitive out there.

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