With the lifting of Covid restrictions and subsequent jump in consumer urge to travel overseas, Finnair, the flag carrier and the largest airline of Finland, is looking to increase flight frequency as well as add more destinations in India.
Several of Finnair’s aircraft had to be grounded in the last two years after Covid-19 crippled demand for air travel globally. However, according to a senior executive of Finnair, there has been a surge in demand from India to travel to Europe.
Sakari Romu, general manager, Finnair, said: “We were used to calling Asia for a collective description of the region but now we are viewing India independently because of the growing demand. We are already flying much more than precovid levels.”
Finnair currently flies daily to and from Delhi. It added three flights a week from Mumbai in August. Chennai and Bengaluru could become the likely additions to the list.
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“India is a dynamic market and it will be in the top three aviation markets in the coming years. Certainly this raises the possibility of raising flight frequency and adding destinations. Our fleet is not as big as it used to be because of huge drop in traffic to Asia. But new destinations like Chennai and Bengaluru are very interesting. India is, at the moment, the most promising and prominent market,” Romu added.
Europe’s tourism sector is a big attraction for India travellers. There has reportedly been a resurgence of interest from Indians for taking leisure holidays in Europe, according to travel agents, after a gap of two years.
“A majority of our customers are Indians. I believe it should be 85%. Traditional big destinations like the UK and Switzerland are always in demand. We are looking very positively for travellers interest in Finland and Scandinavia,” Romu added.
Airlines are looking at India with optimism because of two major reasons. First, the China market has been down because of their strict policy on Covid-19. The second reason is India’s robust fundamental demand.
“We had 107,000 overnights by Indian customers. Our target is to triple that number because Scandinavia is still largely under explored by Indian travellers,” Romu added.
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Finnair is in the final stages of investing 200 million euros to upgrade its service level. Flyers will have renewed seats in business class and premium economy and economy. The airline uses Airbus A330 and A350 in its fleet.
“In very near future we will have this on our routes to India. Its very unique. It has a lounge-type seating in business class,” Romu added.