Finnair CEO Mika Vehvilainen said the carrier is seeking to find an airline to partner with on less profitable European sectors, as reported by Talouselama. "There are more sellers than buyers. However, I believe that it is totally realistic to find partners," he said. "We have to solve the cost problem anyway. The aim is to move to partners either a part of the European traffic or all of the European traffic – that is what we are focusing on," he said, adding new partners could come from outside Europe. Mr Vehvilainen said Finnair does not want to entirely exit the intra-European market as it needs these operations to feed traffic onto Asian routes.
Finnair looks to find airline partner to operate more European routes: report
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Both Finnair and TAP are based in peripheral corners of Europe: Finnair in the extreme northeast and TAP in the southwest. Both are based in countries with relatively small populations, but they have developed networks that capitalise on their geographic location to carry connecting traffic from across Europe and elsewhere to long haul destinations in other continents.
TAP's main long haul market is Upper South America (primarily Brazil), but it also has a secondary long haul niche in Africa. Finnair's main long haul market is Northeast Asia, with an additional presence in South and Southeast Asia. Both also operate to the US. On short haul, LCC competition has been a bigger threat to TAP than to Finnair, but cost savings are important to both.
TAP and Finnair have similar traffic volumes, unit costs and average trip lengths. Moreover, both have struggled to generate sustainable profitability. This report compares and contrasts Europe's two leading independent exponents of the location based long haul niche strategy. Both are set to accelerate their long haul growth.
Finnair accelerates capacity growth, led by long haul; seeks cost efficiency through fleet & labour
In 2016 Finnair accelerated its rate of capacity growth after a modest return to expansion in 2015, following cuts in 2014. It also experienced a fall in unit revenue (as did most European airlines), most notably in the regions of highest capacity growth, i.e. the long haul markets North America and Asia.
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