Finnair Drops Hope Of Joining Airline Consolidation, Looks To Asia | 3/13/2018 | Staff
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HELSINKI (Reuters) – Finnair has dropped hopes of taking part in industry consolidation because politicians oppose relinquishing state control and will instead look to Asia to expand alone, its chief executive said.

Finland’s flag carrier, 55.8 percent government owned, has for years urged lawmakers to scrap a clause obliging the state to hold a majority stake.

Minister - Firms - Heidi - Hautala - Support

Former minister for state-owned firms, Heidi Hautala, failed to win support in her push for change. The current center-right government considered the idea but dropped it and has no plans to discuss it again, two government sources told Reuters.

Finnair Chief Executive Officer Pekka Vauramo said any plan for a tie-up was “off our table at the moment” and said the airline, with annual sales of around 2.6 billion euros ($3.2 billion), aimed to expand on its own with a focus on Asian routes.

Growth - Opportunities - Future - Ourselves - Reuters

“We will go for our growth opportunities and define our future by ourselves,” he told Reuters in his office near Helsinki-Vantaa airport.

Europe’s airline industry has faced turbulence with the collapse of Monarch and Air Berlin, while Alitalia filed for insolvency protection, although airlines also saw a rise in global passenger traffic in 2017, up 7.6 percent.

Vauramo - Arvopaperi - Magazine - September - Finnair

Vauramo had told Arvopaperi magazine in September that Finnair was too small and had suggested tying up with a larger player would help, echoing comments he had also made in 2016.

Relations with the state have been strained. The board member for management compensation said he would quit this month, after the government criticized the board’s approval of a supplementary pension arrangement for Vauramo.

Government - Source - Finnair - Ownership - Thing

A government source said Finnair’s ownership was “just too sensitive a thing, politically” given the desire to have a state airline. The source said discussion on changing ownership would have to wait for a new government after the...
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