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Finnair Traffic Performance in August 2023: A Closer Look

Finnair‘s performance in August 2023 signaled continued recovery post-COVID-19 pandemic. Let’s dive into the numbers and what they mean for the Finnish national carrier and the aviation industry at large.

Finnair's performance in August signaled continued recovery.
Finnair Airbus A330

Growth, Compared to August 2022, Slight Contraction Compared to July 2023

Finnair’s performance in August 2023 was mostly positive despite ongoing challenges with the Russian air space closure. The airline carried close to a million passengers onboard. With 969,800 passengers transported, Finnair saw a 10.1% increase in passenger numbers compared to August 2022. However, this was an 8.7% dip from July 2023.

Two critical factors affected August’s figures. The fading impact of the COVID-19 pandemic had a positive role, while the continued closure of the Russian airspace influenced some routes, especially Asian passenger traffic. Based on the Great-Circle distance, Finnair’s reporting doesn’t reflect the longer routes caused by the airspace closure.

Key Performance Metrics

  • Overall Capacity: Finnair’s capacity, measured in Available Seat Kilometres (ASK), grew by 13.6% year-on-year. However, there was a slight month-to-month capacity adjustment with a decrease of 2.0%.
  • Traffic Performance: Traffic, measured in Revenue Passenger Kilometres (RPKs), saw a healthy rise of 16.6% year-on-year. But similar to ASK, there was a month-to-month dip of 7.8%.
  • Passenger Load Factor: The PLF reached 79.8% with a 2.1% point growth year-on-year. Yet, this marks a decrease of 5.0% points month-to-month.
  • Punctuality: 81.6% of Finnair’s flights in August 2023 arrived on schedule.

Region-specific Insights

  • Asian Market: The Asian segment showed robust growth. ASKs grew by 41.5%, thanks to added capacity to destinations like Japan and South Korea. Passenger numbers and RPKs in Asian traffic increased by 51.2% and 54.8%, respectively.
  • North Atlantic: This sector faced challenges, primarily due to the discontinuation of operations between Stockholm and North American destinations in late 2022. There was a noticeable decrease in ASKs (40.7%), passenger numbers (36.6%), and RPKs (35.9%).
  • European Traffic: Europe enjoyed stability, with ASKs and passenger numbers growing by 7.8% and 4.7%, respectively.
  • Middle East: Largely boosted by the cooperation with Qatar Airways that started in November 2022, there was a staggering growth in the Middle Eastern sector, with ASKs surging by 1,588.6% and passenger numbers by 1,027.4%.
  • Domestic: Domestic traffic consistently grew, with passenger numbers up 6.6%.

Cargo Operations

Cooperation with Qatar Airways and increased Asian capacity boosted Finnair’s cargo operations. The total cargo tonnes grew by 18.0% year-on-year. However, the end of Finnair operations between Sweden and the US affected the North Atlantic cargo capacity.

Finnair Traffic Performance (Table)

Finnair Traffic Performance August 2023
Month% ChangeYTD% Change
Total traffic
Passengers 1,000 969.8 10.17,451.0 29.5
Available seat kilometers mill3,151.0 13.624,130.3 18.3
Revenue passenger kilometers mill2,515.9 16.618,693.0 41.8
Passenger load factor % 79.8 2.1p 77.5 12.8p
Cargo tonnes total10,864.1 18.086,676.5 4.7
Available tonne kilometers mill 451.1 18.43,463.4 13.9
Revenue tonne kilometers mill 290.3 16.12,193.8 27.5
Passengers 1,000 114.6 51.2 866.7 113.1
Available seat kilometers mill1,026.2 41.58,414.1 54.1
Revenue passenger kilometers mill 871.4 54.86,528.5 113.4
Passenger load factor % 84.9 7.3p 77.6 21.6p
Passengers 1,000 671.7 4.74,834.8 19.4
Available seat kilometers mill1,403.1 7.89,812.3 9.1
Revenue passenger kilometers mill1,075.6 4.77,860.6 18.5
Passenger load factor % 76.7– 2.3p 80.1 6.4p
North Atlantic
Passengers 1,000 43.1– 36.6 280.8– 24.9
Available seat kilometers mill 395.8– 40.72,919.0– 41.3
Revenue passenger kilometers mill 323.9– 35.92,132.7– 23.9
Passenger load factor % 81.8 6.1p 73.1 16.7p
Middle East
Passengers 1,000 43.21,027.4 335.8 795.0
Available seat kilometers mill 245.81,588.62,046.3 955.7
Revenue passenger kilometers mill 192.01,450.61,491.5 930.5
Passenger load factor % 78.1– 6.9p 72.9– 1.8p
Passengers 1,000 97.3 6.61,132.9 27.5
Available seat kilometers mill 80.0 23.3 938.6 19.8
Revenue passenger kilometers mill 53.1 7.9 679.7 23.6
Passenger load factor % 66.3– 9.5p 72.4 2.2p
Cargo traffic
– Europe tonnes1,910.4– 2.514,878.9 11.8
– North Atlantic tonnes1,224.4– 52.410,269.6– 55.5
– Middle East tonnes1,968.831,726.314,423.61,188.4
– Asia tonnes5,734.6 25.846,713.6 29.2
– Domestic tonnes 26.1– 4.3 232.9 2.2
– Cargo flights tonnes*0.0– 100.0 157.9– 98.2
Cargo traffic tonnes total10,864.1 18.086,676.5 4.7
Available cargo tonne kilometers** mill 115.9 16.2 950.0 8.6
Revenue cargo tonne kilometers mill 65.1 13.9 522.1– 3.9
Cargo load factor** % 56.2– 1.1p 55.0– 7.2p
* Including purchased traffic
**Based on average operational cargo capacity
Source: Finnair

What’s Next?

The traffic statistics for September 2023 will be released on October 6, 2023. Given the gradual fading of the pandemic’s effects, Finnair’s performance may continue to improve in the coming months. Critically, the Russian airspace closure will continue to trouble the airline and its hub. A slight recovery in the air cargo sector may also benefit the airline, which has established strong capabilities for air freight.

Remember, these figures give an overview of the airline’s performance, reflecting broader industry trends, market dynamics, and operational efficiencies. The aviation world is closely monitoring the recovery path, with Finnair’s journey being an essential part of the narrative.

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