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Keijo Suila, President and CEO, Finnair

Feb 1, 2004
2004 / February 2004

Q: This year’s centennial of flight coincides with Finnair’s 80th anniversary. Are you planning to mark (or have you marked) the occasion in any way?

A: We have earned our position and customer loyalty for 80 years through hard and smart work. Our celebrations have been similar, rather low-profile, but normal humble work for the benefit of our customers.

Q: Looking back, what do you see as Finnair’s greatest accomplishment or contribution to aviation?

A: We have recorded many “firsts” within the industry in terms of operational performance. During the recent years, we have been rated as most advanced in new IT applications.

Q: Looking ahead, what does the future hold for Finnair? Its fleet? Routes? Services? Airport Lounges?

A: I look at the future of Finnair with confidence and optimism. I see us as a top-quality airline offering best value for money for its core clientele. We will see a continuously enhanced European network and further expanding growth in Asia, the Baltics and Scandinavia.

Q: Your previous professional affiliations (Unilever, Oy Sinebrychoff Ab and Huhtamaki Oyj) are consumer products/packaging manufacturers. How do you apply your three decades of experience in that industry to operating and promoting a successful airline?

A: All that experience has been very helpful. Same principles apply in all business. You get results with people, through people. It is the same everywhere. As to financials, same thing-you need to get your revenues and costs in the right balance. Other industries have, in this respect, a much better track record than airlines.

Q: You’ve been with Finnair for five years. Which aspect of your job gives you the most personal satisfaction? What do you see as your greatest achievement/contribution during your tenure?

A: I feel particularly good about our financial health and our growth in Asia. Those are both results of our own decisive actions.

Q: In recent years, airlines around the world have found it necessary to cut services. Where does Finnair stand on that issue?

A: We have cut successfully our unit costs, actually since 1999 (last quarter-10.8 percent). I am proud that during last years-in spite of all this-we have managed to keep up an excellent
service level.We are still the most punctual airline in Europe, with the best flight regularity and, according to customers, we offer the best value for money in both business and economy class.

Q: Business travel can be stressful. What steps does Finnair take to cater to its business clientele?

A: Our schedules and connections are designed to suit the business traveler. Our uncontested home hub in Helsinki offers quick and smooth connections without hassle and, with our renowned e-services, our business travelers are able to save time and get flexibility.

Q: As president and CEO of Finnair, you must travel frequently. Based on your personal experiences, what general advice can you offer business travelers when it comes to navigating the increasingly complicated world of international travel?

A: Choose the most convenient way for you to travel, beginning from booking and check-in, schedules, network and, of course, the service onboard. The more you fly, the more you appreciate service that differs positively and ensures you a smooth travel experience.

Q: Any advice for ensuring a comfortable and pleasant flight and/or coping with jet lag caused by long-haul flights?

A: You cannot change your body! But you can certainly help yourself in many ways. Do not keep too tight schedules, reserve time for relaxation, eat light, drink a lot of water. This usual advice is certainly valid. But also remember you have a choice of airlines and schedules-it really matters.


FX Excursions

FX Excursions offers the chance for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in destinations around the world.

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