Europe venture to “start operations in first half of 2013”
Finland’s troubled flag carrier Finnair says it is discussing cooperation with several other airlines on setting up a joint venture for its European flights. It aims to have an agreement in place by this summer and “start the operations in the first half of 2013”.
One possibility, CEO Mika Vehvilainen concedes, is with equally troubled Air Berlin, despite the fact that Etihad Airways now owns nearly 30% of the company. Air Berlin is orienting its flights to feed passengers from Europe towards Asian through Etihad’s hub of Abu Dhabi. Likewise, Finnair wants to feed more passengers to Asia via its Helsinki hub.
“The products are very different,” Vehvilainen admits. “Helsinki offers much better connectivity and faster connections.”
Finnair’s first-quarter results are scheduled for April 27.