Interview: Inside the mind of Finnair CEO

  1. On the table was the current situation with regard to Finnair, with regard to its capacity and traffic for example.
  2. The airline CEO discusses the impact of COVID-19 and travel restrictions as well as possible ways forward.
  3. Currently, Finnair is at around 12 percent of 2019 seat levels, so the climb out and up is going to take a lot of hard work and finesse.

Read on for this in-depth interview with Finnair CEO Topi Manner, or just sit back and listen via the link.

We start with Jonathan Wober of CAPA – Centre for Aviation welcoming Topi Manner to the discussion.

Jonathan Wober:

Well, good morning and welcome to another edition of CAPA Live, and I’m delighted to welcome to discussion today Topi Manner, the Chief Executive of Finnair. Topi, welcome and thanks for joining us.

Topi Manner:

Thank you, Jonathan. Good to be here.


I just want to start by asking about the current situation with regard to Finnair, capacity, traffic, etcetera. You’ve been operating at very low levels of capacity. The current week, according to data from OAG and CAPA suggests that you’re at around about 12% of 2019 seat levels in the first week of May, thereabouts. Europe overall is about 40%, so you’re considerably below the European average. Is it frustrating to you because Finland seems to be quite low on infection rates and quite high on vaccination rates, but why can’t your government get more connectivity negotiated, and why can’t you operate at higher levels?


I mean, that’s right. It is a bit frustrating that the travel restrictions are so stringent in Finland, and that is certainly impacting our operations. As of now, we operate approximately 15% of our capacity and that includes the Asian long-haul flights that we started already last summer. I mean, currently we are flying to Tokyo, to Seoul, to Shanghai, and to Bangkok and Hong Kong. And that long haul traffic is greatly supported by our cargo demand. Now for the next summer, for this summer, we have been releasing what I would call to first release of our summer network, and that includes that we plan to fly to something like 60 destinations, and especially European short haul will be on the menu. And we also look forward to increasing flights to North America, so increasing frequencies to New York and also introducing Chicago and Los Angeles.