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A Finnair A350 lifts off. (Photo: AirlineGeeks | William Derrickson)

Finnair to Lay Off 10% of Workforce

As part of its plan to mitigate the effects of COVID-19, which has left much of the world immobile, Finnair announced it will be laying off 10% of its employees, accounting for more than 700 people. The decision comes after months of negotiations between the airline and employee unions regarding wage cuts and temporary layoffs, which seek to reduce the number of permanent layoffs to be executed in the future

In a statement, Finnair CEO Topi Manner said, “I’m grateful that together with our employees, we were able to find savings solutions which helped us to save approximately 150 jobs at Finnair. Despite of that, this is a very sad day at Finnair. The corona pandemic has been completely unfair to our industry and unfortunately many Finnair employees now must experience its financial implications personally.”

The layoffs will affect 600 employees in Finland and 100 abroad. They will take effect in March 2021.

As uncertainty looms over how the flying panorama will look in Europe over the next few months, airlines need to adjust their predictions on how many flights they can operate and how much staff they need. With second waves spiking up, governments implementing travel restrictions independently and a clear lack of cohesion in air strategy planning, there is no clear indication on when people will feel comfortable traveling again.

Last week, AirlineGeeks reported that Finnair had to change its strategic course of action to survive COVID-19, including scaling back its winter schedule and placing its bets on how much of its summer 2021 schedule it could reasonably operate.

As the airline adjusts its schedule to match lower demand levels this winter, Finnair plans to operate an average of 75 flights a day between November 2020 and March 2021. This represents almost an 80% decrease to the number of flights the airline flew this month last year.

While the carrier is downsizing its workforce to size accordingly to its current and future operation level, Finnair is leading a series of initiatives to help employees that have been and will be laid off seek new paths for reemployment.

The program, called “Next,” works with a series of stakeholders, including educational institutions and government agencies, to train and coach those being laid off to transition into a new job or career.

As industry estimates expect full recovery to take at least four years, many airline employees will need to find a new home to apply the skill set and capabilities developed in the aviation industry. For this, coaching can provide a very good opportunity for those in need to develop and find new paths for the foreseeable future.

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