Finland’s struggling airline Finnair is still trying to find other airlines to partner with on its less profitable European routes, its chief executive was quoted as saying on Friday.
Part of the oneworld global alliance, Finnair has been cutting costs and jobs and focusing on its more profitable Asian routes after four years of losses and in May handed over the operation of a third of its European routes to low-cost British airline Flybe.
Finnair was previously planning to have another partner by the summer, but high fuel prices and slower spending caused by the economic crisis has hit the industry and many airlines have introduced an investment freeze.
“There are more sellers than buyers. However, I believe that it is totally realistic to find partners,” Finnair’s chief executive Mika Vehvilainen told economic magazine Talouselama.
“We have to solve the cost problem anyway. The aim is to move to partners either a part of the European traffic or all of the European traffic – that is what we are focusing on,” he said, adding that new partners could come from outside Europe.
Vehvilainen said that Finnair does not want to give up entirely on providing European flights, as it needs that network to feed traffic onto its Asian routes.
Last week Finnair posted a surprise swing to operational profit of EUR€14.7 million (USD$18.17 million) in the second quarter from a loss of EUR€13.8 million a year ago.