Finnair clearly sees COVID-19 pandemic impact in December passenger traffic figures, still strong month for cargo

(C) Maarten Van Den Driessche

In December, Finnair carried 92,500 passengers, which was 92.0% less than in the corresponding period of 2019 but 8.8% more than in November 2020. The COVID-19 impact, including the exceptionally strict travel restrictions imposed by Finland, still affected all passenger traffic figures. It was visible especially in the North Atlantic figures (no scheduled flights in December). The overall capacity measured in Available Seat Kilometres (ASK) decreased in December by 90.1% year-on-year. Finnair operated 75 daily flights (cargo-only included) on average which was 21.5% compared to December 2019.

The differences between capacity figures are explained by the shorter operated flights on average and by smaller operated aircraft compared to December 2019. Finnair's traffic measured in Revenue Passenger Kilometres (RPKs) decreased by 96.1%. The Passenger Load Factor (PLF) decreased by 47.1% points to 30.1%.

The ASK decline in Asian traffic was 89.5%. The North Atlantic capacity decreased by 100.0%. In European traffic, the ASKs were down by 91.3%. The ASKs in domestic traffic decreased by 73.8%.

RPKs decreased in Asian traffic by 98.3%, in North Atlantic traffic by 100.0%, in European traffic by 94.3% and in domestic traffic by 79.4%. The PLF was 12.4% in Asian traffic but it was supported by the strong cargo operations and a high cargo load factor. The PLF was 50.0% in European traffic and 52.2% in domestic traffic, whereas there was no PLF figure in North Atlantic traffic due to zero passenger flights in December.

Passenger numbers decreased in Asian traffic by 98.3%, in North Atlantic traffic by 100.0%, in European traffic by 93.3% and in domestic traffic by 82.2%. Available scheduled cargo tonne kilometres decreased by 87.1% year-on-year and revenue scheduled cargo tonne kilometres decreased by 81.0%, both due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on scheduled flights. However, cargo related available tonne kilometres decreased by 61.6% and revenue tonne kilometres only by 42.4% as they both include also the cargo-only flights operated mainly between Europe and Asia as well as Europe and North America.

Cargo-only tonnes were down by 13.4% and the total cargo tonnes by 12.2% from November 2020 due to softer demand during the holiday season. Despite it, strong demand for the cargo capacity especially in Asia continued. As a result, the cargo load factor was clearly higher than in the corresponding period of 2019. In December, 89.3% of all Finnair flights arrived on schedule (81.4%).

Traffic statistics for January 2021 will be published on Friday 5 February 2021.

Finnair Traffic Performance December 2020
Month % Change YTD % Change
Total traffic
Passengers 1,000 92.5 -92.0 3,485.6 -76.2
Available seat kilometres mill 387.9 -90.1 12,937.5 -72.6
Revenue passenger kilometres mill 116.9 -96.1 8,150.0 -78.8
Passenger load factor % 30.1 -47.1p 63.0 -18.7p
Cargo tonnes total 6,809.4 -50.7 71,732.8 -58.6
Available tonne kilometres mill 136.5 -76.4 2,436.5 -64.8
Revenue tonne kilometres mill 59.6 -83.2 1,213.6 -73.3
Asia
Passengers 1,000 Asia 3.5 -98.3 501.3 -80.4
Available seat kilometres mill Asia 208.4 -89.5 6,155.9 -73.6
Revenue passenger kilometres mill Asia 25.9 -98.3 3,837.7 -80.1
Passenger load factor % Asia 12.4 -65.3p 62.3 -20.6p
Europe
Passengers 1,000 Europe 45.2 -93.3 2,033.2 -78.1
Available seat kilometres mill Europe 121.2 -91.3 5,061.1 -71.7
Revenue passenger kilometres mill Europe 60.6 -94.3 3,140.5 -78.3
Passenger load factor % Europe 50.0 -27.3p 62.1 -18.8p
North Atlantic
Passengers 1,000 North Atlantic 0.0 -100.0 82.3 -82.0
Available seat kilometres mill North Atlantic 0.0 -100.0 848.9 -79.1
Revenue passenger kilometres mill North Atlantic 0.0 -100.0 647.1 -81.4
Passenger load factor % North Atlantic N/A N/A 76.2 -9.1p
Domestic
Passengers 1,000 Domestic 43.8 -82.2 868.8 -63.4
Available seat kilometres mill Domestic 58.2 -73.8 871.5 -54.7
Revenue passenger kilometres mill Domestic 30.4 -79.4 524.7 -58.4
Passenger load factor % Domestic 52.2 -14.2p 60.2 -5.4p
Cargo Traffic
Europe tonnes 243.0 -92.4 9,067.6 -74.2
North Atlantic tonnes 0.0 -100.0 2,542.2 -81.3
Asia tonnes 2,095.5 -78.3 33,746.9 -72.8
Domestic tonnes 31.2 -15.0 340.3 -40.5
Cargo scheduled traffic total tonnes 2,369.7 -82.8 45,697.0 -73.6
Cargo flights, tonnes** 4,439.7 100.0 26,035.8 100.0
Cargo Traffic tonnes total 6,809.4 -50.7 71,732.8 -58.6
Available tonne kilometres* mill 58.2 -61.6 718.8 -61.6
Revenue tonne kilometres mill 49.3 -42.4 485.4 -55.6
Available sched. cargo tonne kms*, mill 19.6 -87.1 489.2 -73.9
Revenue sched. cargo tonne kms, mill 16.3 -81.0 293.2 -73.2
Cargo load factor* % 84.7 28.2p 67.5 9.1p
- North-Atlantic cargo load factor* % N/A N/A 66.3 10.2p
- Asia cargo load factor* % 87.0 26.4p 65.1 1.8p
Scheduled traffic Cargo load factor*, % 83.2 26.7p 59.9 1.6p

* Based on average operational cargo capacity

** Including purchased traffic

  • Change %: Change compared to the figures of the respective periods in the previous year (p = points).
  • Available seat kilometres. ASK: Total number of seats available. multiplied by the number of kilometres flown.
  • Revenue passenger kilometres. RPK: Number of revenue passengers carried. multiplied by kilometres flown.
  • Passenger load factor: Share of revenue passenger kilometres of available seat kilometres.
  • Available tonne kilometres. ATK: Number of tonnes of capacity for carriage of passengers. cargo and mail. multiplied by kilometres flown.
  • Revenue tonne kilometres. RTK: Total revenue load consisting of passengers. cargo and mail. multiplied by kilometres flown.
  • Overall load factor: Share of revenue tonne kilometres of available tonne kilometres.

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