Finnair starts change negotiations with its cabin crew in Finland to discuss its plans to subcontract inflight service on routes to/from Thailand and the U.S. to partners. Possible subcontracting would be implemented by the end of 2023. The plan is a part of the efforts to restore Finnair’s profitability by reducing unit costs and strengthening unit revenues. Finnair made considerable losses during the COVID-19 pandemic and the closure of Russian airspace has significantly impacted Finnair’s ability to generate profit.
Finnair’s primary target has been to find solutions for decreasing unit costs together with its employees. During this autumn, Finnair has discussed with all its employees about the possibility of achieving savings by changing employment terms. For example, for cabin crew Finnair has proposed changes to crew utilisation efficiency, layover hotel rules and additional pay-per-hour rules for long flights, as the closure of Russian airspace has made the flight times to Asia considerably longer. A successful negotiations were held with some employee groups, but unfortunately a solution was not found with the cabin crew in Finland. Consequently, Finnair must now seek savings through alternative measures.
If realized, the subcontracting plan could result in reducing up to 450 jobs in Finnair’s inflight services with Finnair currently employing approximately 1,750 cabin crew members in Finland. The cabin service for Finnair’s Singapore, Hong Kong and India routes as well as for the Doha routes from Stockholm and Copenhagen is already provided by Finnair’s partners. “Our target continues to be to find a savings solution together with our cabin crew. We now need a genuine will from the negotiators to find solutions that would allow us to continue inflight service with our own crew and avoid redundancies. Discussion on alternative solutions is a vitally important part of the change negotiations process”, says Topi Manner, Finnair CEO.
The change negotiations will start on November 23 and are estimated to last at least six weeks. A social support programme for re-employment to help those who could lose their jobs will be discussed in the negotiations.