Q. You joined Finnair as Chief Commercial Officer in May 2019. Less than a year later, COVID hit the world and brought the aviation industry to a standstill. How did you and your team deal with this unprecedented situation and what were the strategies to lead Finnair out of the pandemic crisis stronger than ever?
We quickly grasped the situation and learned how to agilely change our plans. We redesigned core commercial processes and governance allowing for faster decision making and quicker implementation of activities. Our fantastic team stepped up to address the challenges and give their brilliant performances during these difficult times.
Q. Finnair recently introduced the brand-new Premium Economy class and the business class with no-recline seats. What do you personally like about these onboard products and the inspiration behind the new AirLounge no-recline business seat?
Space is a sought-after luxury in today’s world. We have given it a lot of thoughts and paid attention to every small detail when creating the best Business Class seat for our customers.
The overall Business Class experience including the innovative design of the seat is centered around comfort of customers, space, and choice – the culmination of our design ethos that are espoused and held dear throughout our long-haul aircrafts to redefine modern premium travel.
Q. You have taken up key management positions in several airlines including Qatar Airways, LOT Polish Airlines, Air Berlin and SAS. If there is one valuable lesson you have learned throughout your aviation career, what would it be?
It’s all about people. I’ve had the pleasure of working with a bunch of talented and passionate colleagues across the industry, and I’ve learned a lot from them.
Q. Finnair recently reopened the route to Mumbai after nearly 13 years of suspension. Tell us the significance of this new route to Finnair, the decision of reopening and what do you hope to see as the result of this route?
We have a long history serving the Indian market and we are excited to return to Mumbai. Our new Mumbai service, with three weekly frequencies, offers good connections to major European cities as well as our US destinations such as New York and Chicago in the upcoming winter season.
Our South Asian routes are less impacted by the Russian airspace closure, and we offer excellent connections to both Europe and the US via our Helsinki hub. We also believe that Finland is an interesting destination for Indian tourists, and we are promoting Finland as a travel destination along with Visit Finland.
India is an incredible destination for European and North American travelers. Delhi and Mumbai are major business hubs, and India also has a lot to offer as a holiday destination.
Q. You are now based in Helsinki. If you have one full day in Helsinki, what would be your itinerary in the city?
Helsinki is a wonderful and vibrant city. Visitors should check out Helsinki’s new Central Library Oodi, which has been designed by the same architects of the newly renovated Helsinki Airport and shares a lot of the same design language.
Oodi complements the cultural and media hub near Töölönlahti Bay formed by Helsinki Music Centre, Finlandia Hall, Sanoma House and the Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma.
In summer, one should explore Helsinki’s inner archipelago that encompasses all the best amenities a city should have – cafes, bars, restaurants – while soaking in the atmosphere of the archipelago.
Most of the time I travel for business only and when I get some time off, I try to stay at home as much as possible. What I enjoy about being on a plane is the excitement of the prospect of meeting people, the opportunity of sampling local food and seeing some famous sites in new destinations. I believe I have a different trail of thoughts while being on a plane compared to when being on the ground. I find that fascinating.
Q7. Due to the closure of Russian airspace, Finnair has suspended several flights to Asian cities. What are Finnair’s strategies to deal with this international crisis?
We have already updated our network to place more emphasis on connections to west and South Asia and North America. In Finnair, we are after a new strategy and significant structural renewal in transforming our operating model.
We are working on a thorough strategy renewal and will communicate more about our directions and the changes it brings in the autumn.
Q. What are your future’s plans of transforming Finnair in terms of cabin experiences, services, new destinations, airport lounges, in-flight cuisines etc?
We launched the new Finnair experience on our long-haul routes at the beginning of this year. That includes a completely renewed Business Class, brand-new Premium Economy travel class and refreshed Economy Class. This new experience is now available on our selected long-haul routes.
We look forward to welcoming our customers to experience the new Finnair on all of our long-haul routes as we are rolling out the cabin renewal to our entire long-haul fleet during 2022–2023.
Currently, we are working on our strategy renewal, and we will communicate in more details this autumn.
Q9. Lastly, what is your message to our readers and travel community on behalf of Finnair?
Traveling is the best way to learn about other people, communities, cultures etc. Travel makes the world better. It enriches our lives. It builds our economies. When you travel next time and choose aviation as your mode of transportation, please consider flying with Finnair. Our Nordic experience has been enjoyed by millions of customers traveling from, to or via Helsinki. Visit Finnair.com to explore our products. Welcome onboard!
All photographs credit: Finnair
Ole Orvér, CCO, As Chief Commercial Officer for Finnair, Ole is responsible for Finnair Sales, Network and Revenue activities as well as Customer Experience. His team is integral in creating Finnair’s modern premium offering, with focus on choice and sustainability, and making it available for customers across all our sales channels.
Before joining Finnair, Ole worked as a consultant for airlines and airport operators, and he also has an extensive experience in leadership positions in several airlines, including Qatar Airways, LOT Polish Airlines, Air Berlin and SAS.