Finnair considers staff furloughs as Russian airspace closes

Finnair has called employee representatives to discuss plans regarding “possible furloughs” for cabin crew.

The decision follows the closure of Russian airspace, which has severely impacted on the carrier.

The estimated need for additional monthly furloughs for pilots ranges from 90 to 200 and for cabin crew from 150 to 450 employees starting from April.

Employees could be at home for up to three months.

The final furlough need, however, depends on how the exceptional situation progresses and what mitigations can be found and will be defined during the negotiations.

The negotiations concern all 2,800 pilots and cabin crew members in Finland.

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In addition, Finnair evaluates the impacts regarding employees outside Finland in those destinations where the availability of work is estimated to decrease.

Russia issued a notam (notice to airmen) on Monday regarding the closure of Russian airspace from Finnish aircraft until May 28th.

Finnair has now cancelled all of its flights to Russia until the end of May, and has so far cancelled a part of its Asian flights until March 6th.

Finnair currently flies to Singapore, Bangkok, Phuket, Delhi and as of March 9th to Tokyo, avoiding Russian airspace, and is currently evaluating possibilities to operate a part of its flights to Korea, and China with an alternative routing.

At the same time, Finnair is preparing an alternative network plan in case the situation is prolonged.

“With Russian airspace closed, there will be fewer flights by Finnair, and unfortunately less work available for our employees”, says Jaakko Schildt, chief operations officer, Finnair.

“A large share of our staff has been on long furloughs during the pandemic, so the need for further furloughs feels especially harsh, and we are sorry for this.”

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