Finnair’s Annual General Meeting 2017: speeches by Chairman of the Board and CEO
Klaus Heinemann, Chairman of the Board: Finnair's growth also speeds up Finland's growth
In many ways, 2016 was a good year for the global aviation industry and for Finnair, too, stated Klaus Heinemann, Chairman of Finnair’s Board of Directors, upon opening Finnair’s Annual General Meeting 2017. – Aviation expanded by 6.3 percent during 2016, or double of global GDP growth, and Finnair booked its 9th consecutive quarterly results improvement. However, I believe we can still perform better.
– Finnair is in the process of executing its accelerated growth strategy to protect and build on its most valuable asset, its connecting hub operations between Asia and Europe. The execution of this growth strategy is now visible in many ways: our fleet capacity is growing, we are adding new routes as well as additional frequencies to some existing destinations, we are launching new service concepts and making great progress in our digital projects. This allows us to recruit new employees in Finland, as we promised in last year’s AGM. In fact, this recruitment is progressing even faster than we forecasted, Heinemann said.
According to Heinemann, Finnair’s growth poses challenges also to its partners. – The whole travel chain will become more flexible, service focused and productive. There are substantial areas with much room for improvement, if Finland is to succeed as a growing aviation hub.
– Another important matter I would like to take up is Finnair’s preparedness for the airline consolidation movement. When the consolidation eventually stretches to Northern Europe, we lack any means to participate in it in a meaningful way for the benefit of Finland and its industries. There is a real danger that Finnair will be further marginalized by the increasingly strong competition. This would not be in the interest of Finnair, its shareholders and most importantly Finland.
– I firmly believe that the Finnish government should consider creating an option for a change in Finnair's ownership structure to mitigate risks of Finnair's marginalization. It is equally important to allow Finnair to continue to contribute to Finland’s growth – maybe even generate accelerated national growth!
Pekka Vauramo, Chief Executive Officer: Finnair is a growth company in the process of reforming itself
In his review, Finnair’s CEO, Pekka Vauramo, reviewed Finnair’s strategic milestones:
– The direct flight to Tokio in 1983 required special courage and boldness. At that time, a decision was made for Finnair to punch above its weight. Were it not for that decision, we would not be here today.
– The last 10 years have been an era of transition and transformation for Finnair. We have reformed ourselves for this new phase. In 2015, we took the first steps, and 2016 was already a year of growth. Now we are accelerating our growth.
– We have already stepped up the pace. In 2011, we set a target to double our Asian traffic by 2020, and with our accelerated growth, we are likely to achieve it already by the end of next year, Vauramo assessed.
– I am crystallising our growth target to half a billion euros. Our target is to increase our revenues by that amount in 2017–2019. This change will require more capacity and more possibilities for customers to travel more and use suitable ancillary services. With the help of digitalisation, we are seeking a new leap: new revenue streams, better customer experience and internal productivity.
– Our strategy also aims to develop customer experience and operations. During my four years at Finnair, I have learned how great a role the personnel plays in a service company. We have understood that by listening to the personnel and focusing on them, we are able to create a culture of cooperation, whereby the whole organisation can contribute to an outstanding customer experience.
Finally, Mr Vauramo addressed the close relationship of Finland and Finnair:
– Travel and aviation play a big role in Finland. Finnair’s growth is also good for Finland. Tourism is now growing in Finland, but it requires a bold attitude from all sector participants. Finland must now take the role of the primary destination in the north. Finnair is highly committed to that objective.
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Finnair flies between Asia, Europe and North America with an emphasis on fast connections via Helsinki, carrying more than ten million passengers annually. In 2017, Finnair's extensive network connects 18 cities in Asia and 7 cities in North America with over 60 destinations in Europe. The airline, a pioneer in sustainable flying, was the first European airline to fly the next-generation, eco-smart Airbus A350 XWB aircraft and it is the first airline listed in the Leadership Index of the worldwide Carbon Disclosure Project. The only Nordic carrier with a 4-star Skytrax ranking, Finnair has also won the World Airline Award for Best Airline Northern Europe for the past seven years running. Finnair is a member of oneworld, the alliance of the world's leading airlines committed to providing the highest level of service and convenience to frequent international travellers.