Finland braces itself for widespread flight disruptions

Widespread flight disruptions expected in Finland

Image of Finnair aircraft. Credit: Valokuva24/

All signs point to a turbulent start to February, as a large-scale strike is set to hit the Finnish aviation sector.

Starting on February 1, a significant number of airport workers will join a countrywide political strike. This action, protesting against proposed labour market reforms by the government, will primarily affect major Finnish airports over a two-day period.

Strike impact on airports

The Trade Union For The Public and Welfare Sectors (JHL), representing about 12,000 employees of Finavia and Airpro, declared the strike to commence on Thursday, February 1.

Alongside JHL, other unions such as PAM, the Finnish Aviation Union IAU, the Finnish Transport Workers’ Union AKT, and the Finnish Airline Pilots’ Association SLL are also expected to take part in the industrial action.

Operations at all major Finavia airports, except for the smaller ones at Halli and Utti, will be disrupted. This move will leave a noticeable impact on Finnish air travel for 48 hours.

JHL vice president Hakan Ekstrom stated, ‘We cannot stand idly by while our members are deprived of the means to defend decent working conditions.’ However, tasks crucial for safety and health will not be affected by the strike.

Finnair braces for impact

National carrier Finnair anticipates significant operational challenges, foreseeing the cancellation of numerous flights. Around 60,000 customers could face disruptions on February 1-2.

Finnair’s Vice President of Operations Control, Jari Paajanen, said, ‘It is clear that the strike will cause flight cancellations, and we hope that as many customers as possible will find a suitable replacement flight well in advance and thus can avoid uncertainty in their travel plans.’

Wider union involvement

This latest series of strikes and protests against the government’s labour market reforms is led by two of Finland’s largest trade union federations, SAK and STTK.

The Industrial Union also announced that 60,000 of its members across 700 locations will strike on February 1. Service sector union PAM confirmed its participation, and the Early Childhood Education Teacher´s Union has warned of potential daycare centre closures due to the strike.

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Written by

John Ensor

Originally from Doncaster, Yorkshire, John now lives in Galicia, Northern Spain with his wife Nina. He is passionate about news, music, cycling and animals.