Finnair expects slight improvement in China

Finnair's first Airbus A350XWB
Finnair's first Airbus A350XWB

Finnair Cargo maintained 2014 volumes into 2015 in China, and is expecting a slight improvement for the start of this year, its sales director Asia, Tomi Asikainen tells Air Cargo Week (ACW).

Asikainen says: “To and from China the overall demand levels have maintained at 2014 levels but we have not been strangers to the industry wide yield decrease, which pulls the overall performance to negative when comparing to 2014.”

He continues: “We’re expecting a slightly positive development in demand to and from China compared to last year. Current trends suggest the pressures on yields will continue during 2016.”

Finnair operates year-round services to Beijing, Chongqing, Hong Kong, Shanghai and seasonal flights to Xi’an. It will start four times a week services to Guangzhou from 6 May until 29 October.

Asikainen says: “Finnair continues to develop its services for Chinese markets and will open a new direct route from its Helsinki hub to Guangzhou with four weekly frequencies between 6 May and 29 October.”

“Guangzhou, which is the third largest city in China with a population of 13 million, is a major trade and transportation centre, and the main manufacturing hub in one of mainland China’s leading commercial and manufacturing regions.”

Finnair’s main import to China continues to be general cargo but pharmaceuticals have increased significantly in recent years.

Asikainen tells ACW: “We’ve seen considerable increase in our pharma export within recent years. Origin China traffic is also mainly general cargo but dangerous goods is also a significant contributor.”

Shanghai services have been helped by the introduction of the Airbus A350 (pictured) on 21 November, and Beijing received one on 6 January. “[The] A350 has brought a tremendous addition to our Shanghai route, on average we’ve gained just over 20 per cent increases in our loads, to and from Shanghai. Beijing followed as the third A350 route after Shanghai and Bangkok.”

The Chinese market is very important and offers huge opportunities but there is a lot of competition. But Asikainen believes Finnair’s location in Helsinki and its A350s give it an advantage over rivals. “There is a lot of competition but Finnair is well positioned to serve the Chinese cargo market thanks to various factors, Helsinki’s ideal geographical location and the well functioning airport enabling punctual service as well as the introduction of Finnair’s brand-new A350 XWB aircraft on long-haul routes between China and Europe.”

Finnair will be opening its COOL Nordic Cargo hub at Helsinki Airport will help Finnish-Chinese trade.

Asikainen says: “In Spring 2017 our new cargo terminal, the COOL Nordic Cargo hub at Helsinki Airport, will open and further boost our service offering with a dedicated 3000 square metre areas reserved for special cargoes, such as pharmaceuticals and perishables.”