Finnair has today released more information on how the airline will handle the Russian airspace closure that dramatically affects its flights to Asia.
Finnair will fly four times a week to Tokyo (Narita), three times a week to Seoul, and once a week to Shanghai. Flights to Hong Kong and Osaka are currently not operated, as they cannot be served via the southern or northern routing.
The airline has previously communicated that it continues flights to Bangkok, Phuket, Delhi, and Singapore from Helsinki.
Tokyo and Seoul flights are weight restricted due to longer than usual flight times + cargo demand, and some passengers may have to be “bumped.”
Finland offers customers based in Russia only a refund option:
Due to the Russian ruble’s instability, it’s not possible for now to buy or change flights originating from Russia through Finnair channels or travel agencies in Russia. Ticket refund options remain.
Finnair has also changed the timing of its Bangkok flights and ended the second daily flight on some days (could have been seasonal).
Finnair won’t operate the AY141 scheduled to depart at 5:20 PM in the afternoon. It has been replaced by AY143 that departs Helsinki at 12:45 AM.
The AY143 has only been loaded until March 27. The AY141 has been loaded for all further dates, but all availability has been zeroed out. You cannot currently book direct Bangkok flights on Finnair’s website. I am not sure if this is an indication of things to come.
The flight times are two to four hours longer than usual, and Finnair suggests that passengers bring snacks with them.
I am scheduled to fly on Finnair from Ivalo to Bangkok on April 19th, and Finnair has not amended the booking yet, because the AY143 has not been loaded more than 20 days out.
The inability to use Russia’s airspace significantly affects Finnair and other European and Northern Asian airlines that have used the overfly rights to reduce the time considerably between these destinations. Airlines have returned to the Polar route going westwards instead of east on many of these flights.
Considering all the extra costs, I can only imagine how more uneconomical these flights are for airlines to operate.