Finland's national airline, a major carrier between Europe and China, said Monday it will add more flights and routes beginning in July if governments ease their lockdowns enough for travel to resume.
The outlook for flying overall, however, remains uncertain, with companies forecasting a slow recovery even next year due to public health restrictions and concerns.
Finnair, which had been forced to temporarily cancel flights to mainland China and other Asian destinations because of the coronavirus, said it will restart in phases, with a strong focus on Asia, which is strategically important for the state-controlled airline.
The Helsinki-based company said it will fly to Beijing, Hong Kong, and Shanghai, adding it was pending government approval, but also to Nagoya, Osaka and Tokyo Narita in Japan; and to Singapore, Seoul and Bangkok.
We expect aviation to recover gradually, starting in July, Finnair Chief Commercial Officer Ole Orver said in a statement. "Our intention is to operate approximately 30 per cent of our normal amount of flights in July, and we will also start long-haul flights to our key Asian destinations.
We will then add routes and frequencies month by month as demand recovers.
In July, Finnair would also resume flying to several major cities in Europe, including Berlin, Brussels, Geneva, London, Moscow, Munich, and Paris, as well as six domestic routes.
Destinations in Spain, Italy and Poland would be added in August.
Budget airline Ryanair, which had been the busiest carrier in Europe before the pandemic hit, has also said it is preparing to restart flights in July, pending an easing in lockdowns.
On Monday, it said it expects a record loss of 200 billion euros (USD 220 billion) for the April-June quarter, when the heaviest restrictions on public life were implemented across Europe.
It also expects a slow recovery, estimating it will carry only 50 per cent of its previously forecast number of passengers in the fully year 2021.
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