Asia traffic keeps Finnair buoyant

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But flight punctuality is low during December

Finnair’s latest traffic performance stats, for the month of December, show how traffic on its Asia routes is driving its overall passenger numbers.

The Finnish carrier’s passenger volume for the month reached a record high, at just over 950,000, up 13%, pushing the figure for the full year up by more than a million to “close to 12 million passengers”.

Capacity in December measured in available seat kilometres increased by 15.1% year‐on‐year and traffic measured in revenue passenger kilometres grew by 17.4%. Load factor increased by 1.6 percentage points to 80.4%.

The capacity in Finnair’s biggest traffic area, Asia, increased by 20.8% in December, even though the route network in Asia was much the same as it was the previous December, although flights were also operated to the new seasonal destination of Goa.

The number of frequencies to Bangkok, Singapore, Hong Kong, Delhi and Tokyo increased year-on-year. Traffic measured in RPK on the Asia routes grew by 23.6% and load factor increased by 1.9 percentage points to 83.2%.

North Atlantic traffic capacity rose by a slightly more modest 15.9%, with traffic up 15.6%, keeping load factor down by 0.2 percentage points to 78.2%. Flights to the new leisure destinations Havana and Puerto Vallarta started last year.

Capacity on European routes increased 7.2%, reflecting added frequencies especially to the Nordic capitals Stockholm and Copenhagen as well as Berlin and Moscow. RPK grew 9.7% year-on-year on the European network, with load factor rising 1.8 percentage points to 78.5%.

Domestic capacity increased 14.1% and traffic by 10.2%, weighing load factor down by 2.5 percentage points to 69.8%.

Poor punctuality
In December, just 64% of all Finnair flights arrived on schedule, quite some way behind other major airlines such as SAS.

“The traffic measured in RPK and capacity both continued to grow in December. Exceptionally difficult winter and wind conditions and their multiplier effects, and the overtime working ban by Finnish aviation union, hampered traffic especially in Finland and Europe. Difficult conditions were reflected especially in flight punctuality and regularity,” admits Finnair CFO Pekka Vähähyyppä.

“In terms of traffic performance, the fourth quarter was nonetheless good. Our Q4 capacity increased by 17.2% and traffic measured in RPK grew by 20.2% year-on-year. We carried nearly three million passengers in the last quarter of the year and close to 12 million in 2017.”

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