CEO of state-owned airline Nordica subsidiary Xfly says that the carrier is preparing to enter the Finnish market.
"Finland is an area where we have the potential to do more in the future. In order to fly there, to Helsinki, or to Stockholm (a new Xfly destination reported earlier – ed.), we need to have a good base and a common understanding of taxation and industrial relations. So we are preparing to enter the Finnish market. we would have teams based in Finland, "said Palmer.
Finnish national broadcaster Yle reported Wednesday (link in Finnish) that the company would be enter the Finnish market and plans to start flights on Finnish domestic routes.
The cabinet may make a final decision on whether to grant €30 million state aid to Nordica, Xfly's parent company, one third of which would go to Regional Jet, another Nordica subsidiary which uses the Xfly brand.
The European Commission gave the go ahead to the state aid, which was intended to shore up the company in the wake of the coronavirus crisis, last month.
Palmer himself says this money would be used to cover damage suffered as borders closed and flights grounded once the pandemic started in March, rather than to develop the company, which he says can be done in any case.
As to the chances of the Finnish expansion becoming a reality, Palmer remained optimistic.
"Even if we don't have anything on paper right now, for example, SAS (an Xfly partner - ed.) currently operates one route from the west coast of Finland to Stockholm. We still have domestic routes on the horizon from smaller parts of Finland to Helsinki too."
Xfly does not have any aircraft of its own, but rather operates the routes of established airlines, such as SAS, for them.
Nordica itself also does not own any planes, but leases them for use on its services.
Palmer said that the SAS Tallinn-Stockholm and Tallinn-Copenhagen direct flights were likely to be up and running again soon, and negotiations are underway with other airlines too, including Latvian state carrier airBaltic, he said, though the latter prefer larger aircraft than Xfly currently has the know-how to run.
Finnair and Lufthansa were other airlines he mentioned.
Palmer would not speculate on Xfly's cashflow for 2020, however, other than to say it would make a loss.
Editor: Andrew Whyte