Finnair traffic performance in December 2021: +551% vs 2020, +24% vs November


Clear improvement in passenger traffic figures, although the COVID-19 pandemic impact was still visible in December; cargo continued to excel

In December, Finnair carried 602,700 passengers, which was 551.4% more than in December 2020. The number of passengers in December 2021 was 23.8% more than in November 2021 (month-on-month figures are not fully comparable as there is one fewer day in November).

The COVID-19 impact, including the strict travel restrictions imposed by several countries due to the Omicron variant, still affected all passenger traffic figures. It was particularly visible in the North Atlantic and Asian figures even though travel from both Finland and Sweden to the United States and e.g. Thailand opened in November, thereby increasing the number of passengers carried by Finnair.

The overall capacity, measured in Available Seat Kilometres (ASK), increased in December by 554.4% year-on-year and by 26.8% month-on-month. Finnair operated, on average, 230 daily flights (cargo-only included), which was 206.7% more than in December 2020 and 15.6% more than in November 2021. The differences between capacity figures compared to December 2020 are explained by the longer average stage length of flights operated and by the larger gauge of aircraft operated. Finnair’s traffic, measured in Revenue Passenger Kilometres (RPKs), increased by 1,081.5% year-on-year and by 49.8% month-on-month. The Passenger Load Factor (PLF) increased by 24.3% points to 54.4% year-on-year and by 8.4% points month-on-month.

The ASK increase in Asian traffic was 334.6% year-on-year. In European traffic, the ASKs were up by 660.9%. The ASKs in domestic traffic increased by 181.1%.

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RPKs increased in Asian traffic by 1,261.0%, in European traffic by 919.1% and in domestic traffic by 247.2% year-on-year.

The PLF was 38.9% in Asian traffic and 55.9% in North Atlantic traffic but both were supported by very strong cargo operations. The PLF was 66.9% in European traffic and 64.5% in domestic traffic.

Passenger numbers increased in Asian traffic by 1,208.3%, in European traffic by 705.2% and in domestic traffic by 248.9% year-on-year.

In North Atlantic traffic, ASK, RPK and passenger number growth rates year-on-year cannot be calculated as there were no passenger flights in December 2020.

In December, available scheduled cargo tonne-kilometres increased by 449.9% year-on-year (increased by 16.3% month-on-month) and revenue scheduled cargo tonne-kilometres increased by 347.1% (increased by 3.1% month-on-month), both due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on scheduled flights, especially in North Atlantic traffic, in December 2020. Cargo-related available tonne-kilometres increased by 145.6% year-on-year (increased by 9.7% month-on-month) and revenue tonne-kilometres increased by 107.4% (decreased by 0.1% month-on-month) and both include the cargo-only flights, operated mainly between Europe and Asia, as well as between Europe and North America. Even though cargo-only tonnes were down by 11.6% year-on-year and by 8.8% month-on-month, exceptionally strong demand for cargo capacity continued in December as the total cargo tonnes increased by 109.2% year-on-year and by 1.2% month-on-month (December was a new record month during the pandemic).

In December, 56.3% of all Finnair flights arrived on schedule (89.3%). In addition to severe weather conditions, on-time performance was impacted by COVID-19-related challenges, such as new travel restrictions imposed on short notice, which required additional travel document checks, and higher-than-normal sick leaves, which caused resourcing challenges both internally and for service providers in the home hub as well as in outstations.

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Traffic statistics for January 2022 will be published on Tuesday 8 February 2022.

Finnair Traffic Performance December 2021
Month% Change YTD% Change 
Total traffic
Passengers 1,000602.7551.42,852.3-18.2
Available seat kilometres mill2,538.5554.412,094.2-6.5
Revenue passenger kilometres mill1,381.61,081.55,178.2-36.5
Passenger load factor %54.424.3p42.8-20.2p
Cargo tonnes total14,245.1109.2105,014.146.4
Available tonne-kilometres mill435.9219.32,592.26.4
Revenue tonne-kilometres mill225.6278.21,232.21.5
Passengers 1,000 Asia45.31,208.3124.7-75.1
Available seat kilometres mill Asia905.9334.64,463.0-27.5
Revenue passenger kilometres mill Asia352.81,261.0956.3-75.1
Passenger load factor % Asia38.926.5p21.4-40.9p
Passengers 1,000 Europe364.3705.21,923.8-5.4
Available seat kilometres mill Europe922.6660.94,644.7-8.2
Revenue passenger kilometres mill Europe617.6919.13,053.8-2.8
Passenger load factor % Europe66.917.0p65.73.7p
North Atlantic
Passengers 1,000 North Atlantic40.2N/A94.414.8
Available seat kilometres mill North Atlantic546.4N/A2,282.5168.9
Revenue passenger kilometres mill North Atlantic305.6N/A703.58.7
Passenger load factor % North Atlantic55.9N/A30.8-45.4p
Passengers 1,000 Domestic152.9248.9709.3-18.4
Available seat kilometres mill Domestic163.7181.1704.0-19.2
Revenue passenger kilometres mill Domestic105.6247.2464.6-11.4
Passenger load factor % Domestic64.512.3p66.05.8p
Cargo traffic
Europe tonnes1,254.5416.24,655.0-48.7
North Atlantic tonnes2,493.7N/A13,473.3430.0
Asia tonnes6,538.7212.041,749.723.7
Domestic tonnes32.75.0349.32.6
Cargo scheduled traffic total tonnes10,319.6335.560,227.331.8
Cargo flights tonnes**3,925.5-11.644,786.972.0
Cargo Traffic tonnes total14,245.1109.2105,014.146.4
Available tonne-kilometres* mill143.1145.6981.436.5
Revenue tonne-kilometres mill102.3107.4771.158.9
Available sched. cargo tonne kms* mill107.7449.9571.716.9
Revenue sched. cargo tonne kms mill72.8347.1431.147.0
Cargo load factor* %71.5-13.2p78.611.0p
– North-Atlantic cargo load factor* %65.1N/A70.74.4p
– Asia cargo load factor* %74.7-12.3p83.017.9p
Scheduled traffic cargo load factor* %67.6-15.5p75.415.5p

* Based on average operational cargo capacity

** Including purchased traffic

  • Change %: Change compared to the figures of the respective periods in the previous year (p = points, N/A = not available).
  • Available seat kilometres. ASK: Total number of seats available multiplied by kilometres flown
  • Revenue passenger kilometres. RPK: Number of revenue passengers carried multiplied by kilometres flown.
  • Passenger load factor: Share of revenue passenger kilometres of available seat kilometres.
  • Available tonne-kilometres. ATK: Number of tonnes of capacity for carriage of passengers, cargo and mail multiplied by kilometres flown.
  • Revenue tonne-kilometres. RTK: Total revenue load consisting of passengers, cargo and mail multiplied by kilometres flown.
  • Overall load factor: Share of revenue tonne-kilometres of available tonne-kilometres.