Finnair to resume New Chitose–Helsinki route next spring
Major Scandinavian airline, Finnair has agreed on the principle of resuming regular passenger flights on the New Chitose–Helsinki, Finland route next spring, provided that Japan’s border measures – such as quarantining at home when entering Japan – will be relaxed in future. Flights on international routes in and out of Hokkaido have been suspended due to the Coronavirus pandemic since April last year, and this is the first time moves to resume regular flights have been revealed.
Finnair began operating the New Chitose–Helsinki route in December 2019, with regular round-trip flights twice a week. Although popular among skiers from Europe, flights were suspended last March due to the Coronavirus pandemic. As the state of emergency in Hokkaido was lifted at the end of September this year, and the number of infected people has decreased significantly, travel agencies in Hokkaido were notified of the policy of resuming operations.
Twice-weekly flights will return throughout the year, with the aim of resuming operations in time for the long holidays next spring, when services are expected to be used by Hokkaido residents traveling to Europe. According to an airline representative, “An official decision regarding resumption will be made as soon as travel restrictions are lifted, including the ending of the current 10-day home quarantine period for vaccinated travelers.” If the Coronavirus cannot be brought under control, there is a possibility that the suspension of flights will continue after next spring.
In principle, the government currently prohibits entry of non-Japanese without resident status and, at this point in time, it is not known when the full-scale acceptance of overseas (inbound) travelers will resume.
However, travel agencies and accommodation facilities are seeking to accept inbound tourists from next year on the premise of the pandemic being brought under control and, as vaccinations progress, the move to resume international flights is likely to spread to other airlines.
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