HELSINKI - Finnair, the ailing Finnish flag carrier, said Oct. 31 that in a cost-cutting move its Estonian subsidiary Aero Airlines would start operating domestic routes in Finland from Nov. 2.
Aero will operate 22 flights a week on routes from Helsinki to four smaller cities: Jyvaeskylae, Marianhamina, Kuopio and Vaasa.
Initially, Aero will operate the services with Finnair pilots and continue to use the same schedules and flight numbers.
"On the Finnish domestic flights, we have recruited Finnish cabin staff who have joined the Aero personnel, with Aero's working conditions and salary scale," said Henrik Arle, executive vice president for scheduled passenger traffic at Finnair.
Arle declined to elaborate on the differences between the working conditions of the Finnair and Aero staffs.
"We don't want to make public our figures, but certainly Aero's costs are lower," he said.
Finnair said it had provided Aero with one of its aircraft for the domestic service. Aero aims to acquire another two aircraft in the summer of 2004, it said.
Finnair, 58.5 percent owned by the Finnish state, obtained permission to use the Aero unit in Finland until May 1, 2004, when Estonia is set to join the European Union.
"Estonia's joining the EU in May 2004 opens new opportunities for expanding Aero's activities in traffic within the Baltic states, as thanks to Aero Finnair will already have a foothold in Estonia," Arle said.