Finnair Hoping To Outsource More Flight Attendants

Finnair Hoping To Outsource More Flight Attendants

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As its latest cost cutting measure, Finnair is negotiating to try and replace flight attendants based in Finland with flight attendants based in the United States and Thailand.

Finnair could hire USA-based flight attendants

Finnair has announced that it’s starting negotiations with its flight attendants based in Finland, to discuss plans to subcontract inflight service on more routes. Specifically, by the end of 2023, the airline is hoping to have “local” flight attendants bases in both the United States and Thailand.

Finnair already has outsourced flight attendant bases in Hong Kong, India, Singapore, and Sweden. Finnair currently has 1,750 flight attendants based in Finland, and the airline is hoping to reduce that number by 450 as part of this outsourcing.

This is part of Finnair’s efforts to restore profitability by reducing unit costs and strengthening unit revenues. Finnair has not only lost a lot of money due to a drop in demand resulting from the pandemic, but the airline is also horribly impacted by no longer being able to use Russian airspace.

The negotiations will start on November 23, 2022, and are estimated to take at least six weeks. Finnair is hoping to achieve cost savings with existing crews by changing employment terms. For cabin crew, Finnair has proposed changes to crew utilization efficiency, layover hotel rules, and additional per hour pay for long haul flights, as the closure of Russian airspace has made flight times to Asia considerably longer.

Finnair hasn’t had luck with cabin crew negotiations until now, which is why the airline is threatening to outsource more crews.

Here’s how Finnair CEO Topi Manner describes these negotiations:

“Our target continues to be to find a savings solution together with our cabin crew. We now need a genuine will from the negotiators to find solutions that would allow us to continue inflight service with our own crew, and avoid redundancies. Discussion on alternative solutions is a vitally important part of the change negotiations process.”

Finnair is looking to outsource more flight attendant jobs

Can someone help me understand this?

I have a few thoughts about Finnair’s plans to outsource more flight attendant jobs.

First of all, on some level I imagine this is just a threat from management, intended to get Finland-based cabin crew to make more concessions. At the same time, this isn’t exactly an empty threat, given that Finnair has been outsourcing flight attendants to other countries for years.

Furthermore, I can’t help but be surprised by how weak Finnair’s cabin crew union seemingly is. In the rest of Europe, cabin crew seem to be very well represented. Meanwhile Finnair has been on a widespread basis outsourcing flight attendant jobs for years (even pre-pandemic).

Lastly, while I can appreciate how there would be significant cost savings outsourcing these jobs to Thailand (where labor costs are much cheaper), are the savings when outsourcing to the United States actually significant? I imagine on some level it’s about also getting better work rules.

However, there is a loss of efficiency when you have several crew bases, especially in terms of having reserve employees on hand, and scheduling efficiency.

Finnair flight attendants don’t seem to have a strong union

Bottom line

Finnair is entering negotiations with flight attendants, and wants to outsource more flight attendant roles. The airline currently has 1,750 flight attendants based in Finland, and the hope is to outsource 450 more of those roles to the United States and Thailand.

While the airline is admittedly in a tough financial spot, Finnair has used foreign crew bases for years, so this concept is nothing new.

What do you make of Finnair’s flight attendant outsourcing plans?

Conversations (17)
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  1. AJO Guest

    On a recent AMS-HEL flight with AY, the cabin crew was HKG based (except for the service director, or whatever the highest cabin crew tier is; she was Finnish). Excellent service on the short A350 segment!

  2. Experienced Traveller Guest

    There will be much lower overall staff costs as there will be no Finland social security payments /pension contributions to pay . Large pool of staff in USA to choose from. We flew Finnair from Helsinki to Bangkok ,it was fully Thai cabin crew and also Helsinki to Hong Kong which was fully Hong Kong cabin crew. Great service .

  3. Larry B Guest

    I'm guessing the costs of employing domestic workers in a socialist country like Finland are so high that even hiring U.S. workers would save the airline money. I remember getting in a cab in Helsinki and finding out the ride would be over $30 US. I got out and walked the three miles.

    1. Ben Guest

      Let's add that into "things that didn't happen"

      You're full of crap

    2. Michael R Guest

      Do you even know what socialism is, to be able to refer to it on this context? Besides, that taxi fare also contributes to what's widely known as 'living wage'. The tax component of the fare helps to e.g. run free healthcare and free universities. Some advanced countries see that as a good thing.

  4. Ooo Guest

    Finnair doesnt look flight crews outside of finland they want move those crews under other finish coverment owned company airpro. Where they dont have same salary they dont have so good hotels for over night stands. And second finnair have base all ready in thailand. Every bkk flight they have couple of flight crew thai people. And why flight crew union dont do anything becouse they 1. Are working under finish goverment owned company 2....

    Finnair doesnt look flight crews outside of finland they want move those crews under other finish coverment owned company airpro. Where they dont have same salary they dont have so good hotels for over night stands. And second finnair have base all ready in thailand. Every bkk flight they have couple of flight crew thai people. And why flight crew union dont do anything becouse they 1. Are working under finish goverment owned company 2. There work too much womens who dont want to play for same benefigts 3. Finnair is very expensive low cost carrier

  5. NormW Guest

    I think this is an attempt to get the average age down.

    I once flew Finnair to Spain with a Finnish aircrew but cabin personnel from a Spanish manning company.

    Young, friendly and obliging,

    The usual Finnish cabin crew is much older but efficient and pleasant enough.

  6. Bart P Guest

    LOT Polish for years now has been hiring FAs as contractors, kind of like Uber drivers are LOL

    1. Monika Waligora Guest

      At LOT Polish we actually already got rid of contractual cabin crew. Instead we managed to hire very young and enthusiastic subcontractors, who don't need Unions and are happy with what they get. This is the perfect way for the airline to reduce costs, get rid of Unionized crew members and be a leader to follow in Europe. Perhaps Finnair should follow our path and other airlines as well ?

  7. derek Guest

    Think Finnair FA unions are weak? I just read in the news that doctors are going to suffer in January 2023 when Medicare cuts payments 4%, except surgery, which is cut 8%. So in the days of record inflation, cutting payments? The article says this is not the first time it's been but has been cut several times over the past 30 years. Doctors are banned from forming unions against Medicare. Not a pip squeak from the political party that is supposed to support unions.

  8. Sean M. Diamond

    I remember flying Finnair from Mumbai to Helsinki some years ago and it was basically an Indian carrier. All but one of the cabin crew were Indian, all but one of the meal selections were Indian (and the only Western option ran out by the time they reached me), the announcements were all in Hindi, the IFE was significantly Bollywood slanted (this was before 1000 channels of AVOD was normal) and 90% of the passengers were Indian. Finland in name alone.

    1. Experienced Traveller Guest

      Thats how they fill seats

  9. Stefan Guest

    How come management teams never want to outsource management teams?

    1. Steve Diamond

      They do, its called consulting and it's a massive business.

    2. Henry Guest

      Consultants actually replacing management teams as a cost cutting measure on a widespread basis? Inredibly I must have missed that trend somehow.

Featured Comments Most helpful comments ( as chosen by the OMAAT community ).

The comments on this page have not been provided, reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser, and it is not an advertiser's responsibility to ensure posts and/or questions are answered.

Sean M. Diamond

I remember flying Finnair from Mumbai to Helsinki some years ago and it was basically an Indian carrier. All but one of the cabin crew were Indian, all but one of the meal selections were Indian (and the only Western option ran out by the time they reached me), the announcements were all in Hindi, the IFE was significantly Bollywood slanted (this was before 1000 channels of AVOD was normal) and 90% of the passengers were Indian. Finland in name alone.

5
Stefan Guest

How come management teams never want to outsource management teams?

4
Never In Doubt Guest

Sir, this is a Wendy’s.

3
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