Finnair Struggles to Operate Routes to Asia due to Russian Airspace Ban

Finnish airline Finnair faces troubles in managing their routes due to complications regarding the international ban on entering Russian airspace. 

Disruption in services

The carrier was forced to temporarily suspend the route after Russia invaded Ukraine a week ago. The invasion caused a surge of international flight bans as the US, EU, UK and Canada blocked Russian aircraft from their air space. 

Now, earlier today, the airline announced cancellations of their Seoul flights AY41/42 on 9/1oth March and 11/12th March, also due to difficulties in navigating around banned Russian airspace. 

The resumption of services

On 2nd March, Finnair announced that they were now set to resume flights from Helsinki to Tokyo from 9th March, the compromise being that the flight will take nearly four hours longer than normal. 

This was announced on Finnair social media sites and in a press release on their official company website:

<blockquote class=”twitter-tweet”><p lang=”en” dir=”ltr”>We will resume our flights to Tokyo Narita as of 9 March with four weekly frequencies avoiding the Russian airspace. The flight times will be approximately 13 hours and the flights connect smoothly to our European network via Helsinki Airport. Read more: <a href=””></a> <a href=””></a></p>&mdash; Finnair (@Finnair) <a href=””>March 2, 2022</a></blockquote> <script async src=”” charset=”utf-8″></script>

Ole Orvér, Chief Commercial Officer of Finnair stressed the importance of resuming the route:

“Japan is one of our most important markets, and we want to continue offering safe and reliable connections between Helsinki and Tokyo also in this situation.”

Finnair will fly Helsinki-Tokyo four times per week on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, departing at 17:30 local time. 

The Tokyo-Helsinki route will run on Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, departing at 22:40 location time. 

Further disruption across Asia?

Hesitancy lingers regarding Finnair’s service of Asia, as their press release states:

“We continue to seek solutions for our Asian routes to avoid Russian airspace, and we will communicate more on Monday 7 March, once further plans have been defined.”

While, as of now, the carrier continues to fly from Helsinki to Bangkok, Phuket, Singapore and Delhi, and from Stockholm Arlanda to Phuket, it is clear that the situation remains uncertain.

The airline recommends for travellers to take extra snacks to accommodate for the much longer flight times caused by avoiding Russian airspace, and encourages travellers to keep updated via their website. 


Flights to Russia itself remains cancelled until 28th May 2022, and earlier today Russian airline S7 cancelled all flights to Europe and elsewhere from tomorrow. 


Have these changes affected you? Are you planning to fly on a Finnair carrier to Asia? Let us know. 

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Jasmine Adjallah
Jasmine Adjallah
Jr Reporter - Aspiring to work in a journalism, PR, Communications/media role, Jasmine is using her gap year as an opportunity to learn, gain experience and grow as a person. Interested in the sports, aviation and broadcasting world. At Travel Radar she is a Jr. Reporter working with the publication over Summer 2022.


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