Finnair swaps wings for wheels

The Helsinki-based flag carrier has unveiled bold changes for two key domestic routes

Finnair is poised to shake up its domestic offering after revealing it will withdraw flights to two cities. Citing economic and environmental considerations, the flag carrier has confirmed plans to fully replace air links from its Helsinki base to Turku and Tampere – among the shortest on its network – with bus connections from May 1.

“The flights are very short, and relatively low passenger numbers – around 35% average load factors – on these routes cause them to have a higher CO2 emission per passenger than many other short routes in our network. Road, or rail, transportation is a more sustainable option for connections between Helsinki Airport and these cities,” Finnair’s vice president, network Perttu Jolma explained.

“We understand this decision will disappoint customers who have used the flights, and we regret the inconvenience this causes them. We must, however, take both economic and environmental considerations into account.”

The carrier added that most customers arriving at Helsinki to connect onto Finnair flights had done so by land-based transport even before the COVID-19 pandemic, noting that 70% of Finnair Plus members with a home address in Tampere started their trips in the capital, despite the available of multiple daily flights.  

Consequently, Finnair has already replaced its midday services to Turku and Tampere, both of which lie within 100 miles and around 25 minutes flying time from the capital – with more environmentally sustainable buses. The remaining flights will also now be replaced by up to four-times daily bus services this summer.

Bus connections will operate with standard Finnair flight numbers and can, the airline confirmed, be purchased together with an onward connection from Helsinki. The biodiesel-powered buses will feature internet connectivity and USB charging, while Finnair is guaranteeing connections in the event of delays on inbound or outbound legs. Passengers using this service can also use priority check-in, bag drop, and fast-track security.