Finnair, vital for Asia salmon cargo, says coronavirus effect is “biggest crisis in the hundred-year history of aviation”

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Finnair is one of the key players on air freight to Asia from Europe.

The Finnish airline has had its departures replaced with a skeleton service to key cities after the airline cut 90% of its schedule in recent weeks.

Running a service which is vital for the lucrative Asian salmon market, its CEO Topi Manner told News Now Finland that the effects of the coronavirus were unprecedented.

“There have been crises, like the oil crisis in the mid-70s, the Gulf War, World Trade Centre, SARS, ash clouds, financial crises you name it. And while all of those have been significant and have shaped the industry, if we look at the magnitude of this crisis we can say this is by far the biggest crisis in the hundred-year history of aviation” said Manner.

In mid-February, Finnair announced that they were cancelling all flights to China in March. Normally, the company flies two daily flights to Hong Kong. From April this is reduced to one departure per day. It is also postponing the opening of the new flight route to Busan in South Korea.

SalmonBusiness was told early this month that seafood processor Williksen Export, which trades heavily in the Korean market, has been severely affected by the virus situation. Salmon farmers are now scrambling for what little available space is left on remaining fights.