SINGAPORE Airlines (SIA) believes that Finnair’s upcoming launch of direct Helsinki-Singapore services (TTG Asia e-Daily, March 4) at the end of next month will be beneficial in the long run.
“Singapore Airlines always welcomes competition. More supply creates more demand,” said SIA’s Helsinki-based sales representative and PATA Finland Chapter chairman, Hanna-Leena Halsas, at the sidelines of PATA 60th Anniversary & Conference in Beijing.
Finnair will be the only airline offering a daily service between Singapore and Northern Europe when it launches its new route on May 30. SIA operates services from Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Frankfurt, London, Manchester, Munich, Paris and Zurich to Singapore.
“Some point-to-point traffic may be lost, since what Finnair is offering is a non-stop direct flight between the two locations, and the shortest way from Northern Europe to Asia is via Helsinki,” said Halsas. “But the effect on our business is not as bad as it looks, since SIA has a very strong network. Our other core strengths are our young fleet and excellent service.”
According to Halsas, about 13,000 Finns visit Singapore annually. Their top two destinations in Asia-Pacific are Indonesia (about 80,000 per annum) and Thailand (about 93,000 per annum).
“They use Singapore as a stopover and transit point, not so much as a mono destination,” said Halsas. “They usually fly on to Bali and Australia, and Manado for diving.”
With there being many Finnish companies in Asia, like Nokia, Halsas believes that there is much room for growth for the Finnish market to Singapore. She said SIA currently works with travel agents in Finland to create promotions, and organises workshops to educate them on how to sell Singapore as a destination.
“We also hold roadshows with 10 to 12 sellers who are PATA members, and visit the six biggest cities, including Helsinki, Turku and Oulu,” she added.