India is an important market for us and the airline is working closely with its local partners to promote connectivity, Finnair's general manager (India) Anupam Vig has said.

Finland borders Russia and Finnair has been amongst the most impacted due to closure of Russian airspace. This has resulted in an increase in flight times to Asian destinations and forced the airline to rework its business plans.

While Air France-KLM flights from Amsterdam and Paris to East Asia take 150 minutes more, Finnair flights from Helsinki to Delhi take around 90 minutes extra than usual as they avoid Russia.

Despite the challenges, Finnair continues to see India as a vital component of its network.

"India has been part of our story since 2006. We see a lot of potential in Indian market in long term and recognize that it is the 3rd fastest growing air transport market in the world. Our team in India has worked closely with our local partners to promote the network and connectivity we offer via our Helsinki home hub. We have seen new traffic flows forming over the past year, between for example India and our US destinations," Vig told businessline.

Travel between India and Finland is increasing too. Amongst Asian countries highest number of Finland visas were issued to Indians in 2023, according to Sara Sodhi Juneja, country manager ( India and Gulf), Visit Finland. Overnight stays by Indian tourists increased 59 per cent in 2023 on a year on year basis, she added.

Finnair flies daily to Delhi and is evaluating the relaunch of its Mumbai service. "India is an important market for us, and our aim is to resume the route as soon as our capacity situation allows it," Vig said.

Last year Finnair wet leased two Airbus A330 aircraft to Australia's Qantas airline as a part of its fleet redeployment plan. The airline also signed a strategic partnership with Qatar Airways in September 2022 operating flights from Nordic countries to Doha. 

Finnair's scheduled passenger flights to Asia are still 55 per cent lower compared to 2019 as flight timings to China, Japan and Korea are now up to 40 per cent longer.

Air France-KLM said its capacity to Asia too has not returned to 2019 levels as increase in flying time is impacting costs and availability of crews.