Monday, July 22, 2024
Closure of Russian airspace still looms over logistics

Closure of Russian airspace still looms over logistics

In a recent roundtable discussion, Gabriela Hiitola, Senior Vice President of Finnair Cargo, discussed the substantial impact of the Russian airspace closure on the airline’s operations, giving a detailed insight into how airlines have navigated this challenging period.

Evaluating and adapting

The airspace closure fundamentally disrupted Finnair’s strategic routes, compelling the airline to reassess and modify its operational approach swiftly.

READ: SAFE AIR TRANSPORTATION FOR ANIMALS

“The Russian airspace closure had a really big impact on Finnair. It has impacted Finnair the most among European airlines because Asia was our focus point and the strategy of Finnair,” Hiitola said.

“We were rapidly evaluating the situation and the strategy. We decided that we are not going to lose Asia. We have great customers, we have great service. Also, from the cargo point of view, we have great products, and we want to continue to fly to Asia.”

Despite losing its old routes due to the airspace closure, Finnair has remained operational and committed to the Asian market.

“We just need to build up a more balanced network in the wake of the Russian airspace closure,” Hiitola explained.

“We have lost our competitive advantage to others, but we are still operating. Asia is still there for us, and we have lots of customers there. So, we are still here.”

COVID-19 and closures

When comparing the impact of COVID-19 with the closure of Russian airspace, Hiitola provided a nuanced perspective.

“Many people think that Covid was the worst, but Covid was a time-limited issue that eventually ended,” she noted.

“With the Russian airspace closure, we don’t see the end in sight… It has significantly impacted our business prognosis. The uncertainty of the airspace closure is much worse for us.”

Looking ahead

Despite these challenges, Finnair continues to strategise for the future. Hiitola highlighted ongoing efforts to maintain and grow its presence in Asia, emphasising the importance of flexibility and swift action in overcoming obstacles.

READ: 25 YEARS IN THE HEART OF SHANGHAI

“We are constantly re-evaluating our network and looking for ways to optimise our routes and services to meet the needs of our customers,” she added.

Picture of Anastasiya Simsek

Anastasiya Simsek

Anastasiya Simsek started her journalism career in 2016 at Ukrainian TV-Channels: 24 Channel and 1+1 Media. Having worked across a number of different sectors, including news, medicine and lifestyle, she joined the Air Cargo Week editorial team in 2024. To share your news and exclusive insights, contact Anastasiya.Simsek@AirCargoWeek.com

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