Finnair cancels over 300 flights due to strikes

THE cabin crew at Finnair launched a crippling strike yesterday, prompting Finland’s flag carrier to cancel more than 300 flights and warn it would post another loss this year.

Nordic carrier SAS, which owns the Blue1 airline, was also affected.

Some 1,800 of Finnair’s and Blue1 cabin crew employees started a strike at 11am after last ditch talks over a new wage deal collapsed overnight.

Finnair called off more than 110 flights yesterday, affecting 6,000 passengers. It had already cancelled 200 flights on Monday, involving another 10,000 fliers.

An increasing number of passengers were stuck at the Helsinki airport, one of Europe’s top connections to Asia and Russia.

Finnair said it would lose €2m to €2.5m (£2.09m) for each day of the work stoppage and now expected a full-year operating loss. It previously expected to be in the black on the operating level in the fourth quarter and in all of 2010, compared with a €171m loss in 2009.

Analysts cautioned that the profit warning indicated Finnair was expecting the dispute with its flight attendants could last for an extended period, with most of its planes grounded.