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Finnair Reports Increase in November Passenger Traffic

Despite the lingering impact of Russian airspace closure, Finnair's November 2023 traffic shows year-over-year improvements.

A Finnair A350-900XWB arriving in London. (Photo: AirlineGeeks | William Derrickson)

Finnair demonstrated a significant performance in passenger traffic during November 2023, carrying 811,900 passengers, an 8.1% increase compared to the same month in 2022. In early 2022, Finnair invested 200 million euros in the cabins of all long-haul aircraft in its fleet, renovating the business, premium economy, and economy class cabins.

This rise is partly due to the easing of COVID-19 pandemic effects and the ongoing closure of Russian airspace. However, compared to October 2023, there was an 11.8% decrease in passenger numbers, a drop attributed to November being a shorter month and typical seasonal variations.

Primarily affecting Asian routes, the ongoing closure of Russian airspace remains challenging for Finnair. Despite improvements in passenger numbers, the figures for November 2023 still fall short of pre-pandemic levels. Finnair’s distance-based traffic reports, calculated using Great-Circle distance, do not reflect the longer routes required due to this airspace closure.

Finnair’s capacity, measured in Available Seat Kilometers (ASK), increased by 14.4% year-over-year in November but saw a 7.4% decrease from October. Revenue Passenger Kilometers (RPKs) rose by 13.6% compared to the previous year but fell by 14.9% month-over-month. The Passenger Load Factor (PLF) experienced a minor decline of 0.5 percentage points year-over-year and a more significant drop of 6.3 percentage points from October, settling at 71.0%.

Region-wise, Finnair’s ASK in Asian traffic grew by 20.5% year-over-year, thanks to added capacity to Japan and South Korea. Conversely, North Atlantic capacity decreased by 3.2%. European traffic saw an 11.9% rise in ASKs, while Middle Eastern capacity, boosted by Helsinki-Doha flights in partnership with Qatar Airways, surged by 27.8%. Domestic traffic ASKs also increased by 5.6%.

26% Increase in Asia Traffic

Regarding RPKs, Asian traffic saw a notable 25.9% increase year-over-year, while North Atlantic traffic decreased by 7.0%. European traffic RPKs rose by 6.1%, Middle Eastern traffic by 35.4%, and domestic traffic by 1.7%.

PLF stood at 71.2% for Asian traffic, 63.8% for North Atlantic, 73.8% for European, 68.7% for Middle Eastern, and 65.6% for domestic flights. Passenger numbers reflected these trends, with Asian traffic increasing by 22.3% and European traffic by 7.3%. However, North Atlantic traffic saw a 6.5% decline, while Middle Eastern traffic rose 32.2%, and domestic traffic remained stable.

Finnair’s cargo operations also reported growth in November, driven by the collaboration with Qatar Airways and increased capacity on Asian routes. Available cargo tonne kilometers grew by 24.8%, revenue cargo tonne kilometers by 21.0%, and total cargo tonnes by 20.5% year-over-year. However, there was a 3.2% month-over-month decline.

In punctuality, 79.3% of Finnair flights arrived on time in November, a slight decrease from the 86.8% on-time performance in previous reports.

As the end of the year approaches, the 2023 results will be published soon. Finnair is set to release its December 2023 traffic statistics on Friday, Jan. 5, 2024. The Helsinki-based carrier celebrated its centenary on November 1.

Vincenzo Claudio Piscopo
Latest posts by Vincenzo Claudio Piscopo (see all)


  • Vincenzo Claudio Piscopo

    Vincenzo graduated in 2019 in Mechanical Engineering with an aeronautical curriculum, focusing his thesis on Human Factors in aircraft maintenance. In 2022 he pursued his master's degree in Aerospace Engineering at the University of Palermo, Italy. He combines his journalistic activities with his work as a Reliability Engineer at Zetalab.

    View all posts

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