• Joe Breitfeller

Finnair’s €600 Million Pension Premium Loan Guaranteed by Finland and Commercial Bank

Finnair announced on Wednesday that the Finnish Government has approved a guarantee of the carrier’s pension premium loan up to €540 million. An additional €60 million of the loan has been guaranteed by a commercial bank.

Finnair Airbus A350 XWB - Courtesy Finnair/Airbus

Yesterday (May 20, 2020), Finnair announced that they have received guarantees for a pension premium loan of up to €600 million, with the state of Finland guaranteeing up to €540 million, and the balance guaranteed by a commercial bank. The arrangement was approved by the European Commission on May 18, 2020 and complies with EU state aid regulations. In a separate announcement on Wednesday, the carrier said it was in discussions with employees on additional possible layoffs by June, as the carrier is only flying 5% of their typical schedule. In July, Finnair hopes to operate up to 30% of their regular schedule which the carrier hopes to increase to 70% by the end of the year. In Wednesday’s announcement, Finnair’s SVP for People and Culture, Johanna Karppi said,

“It is clear that as we fly significantly less, the amount of work available is lower than normally as well. The gradually growing traffic program will increase also resource needs in due course. However, considering the uncertainties caused by travel restrictions and the coronavirus situation in general, the return to normal will take a considerable time. That is why the temporary layoffs we now start negotiations on unfortunately seem to be inevitable.”

The cooperative process will involve all 6,100 Finnair team members and discussions will begin on May 25, 2020. Potential layoffs could be temporary or for a fixed period depending on the recovery of air travel demand. Finnair further announced on Wednesday that they have targeted the removal of €80 million in their permanent cost base from 2022, as compared to 2019. The carrier will seek savings in areas such as real estate costs, aircraft leasing costs, compensation, sales & distribution, IT and administrative costs. Finnair expects demand to return to pre-pandemic levels in 2-3 years. In the May 20, 2020 press release, Finnair’s CEO, Topi Manner said,

“The coronavirus changes the aviation considerably also in the long run. In the short-term, we must adjust our operations to the substantially decreased demand. In addition to the previously published temporary layoffs, we have today announced that we will commence discussions related to further adjustment measures. The Finnish temporary layoff practices enable flexible adjustment measures both for the employer and employees during these exceptional circumstances. In the post-corona market, those who can adapt their costs to the changed market and the competitive situation are the ones who will succeed. Finnair intends to be among the winners, and that is why we target savings across different cost items in a determined way.”

Specializing in passenger and cargo traffic between Asia and Europe, Finnair has a competitive advantage due to their geographical location. Finnair is also the only Nordic network with a 4-Star Skytrax rating and carried over 14.7 million passengers in 2019, earning revenues of €3.1 billion.

Source: Finnair