Finnair May Look To Airline Alliance – CEO

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Published: August 13, 2012

Finland’s national carrier Finnair, mired in years of losses, could become a part of a bigger alliance or entity, its chief executive was quoted as saying.

“We have been going through a survival struggle,” CEO Mika Vehvilainen told daily Helsingin Sanomat.

“The idea that we would be independent is not necessarily the only option. Within alliances there may be a different kind of restructuring to strengthen the cooperation,” he said.

The airline, part of the oneworld alliance, has since 2008 made annual losses, like many other European airlines, hit by slower spending caused by economic crisis as well as by high fuel prices. Finnair is tackling weak profitability by cutting costs and jobs and focusing on more profitable Asian routes.

Finland’s government owns a majority 55.8 percent of Finnair, but it could reduce its stake, according to Heidi Hautala, the minister responsible for state ownership.

On Friday the struggling airline posted a surprise swing to operational profit of EUR€14.7 million in the second quarter from a loss of EUR€13.8 million.

It also repeated that it expected operational profitability to improve in the second half of the year.

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