Nordic Networking

Finnair's ground handling business unit has grand plans for the future, including possible overseas expansion. But, for now, its fortunes remain closely tied to the mother airline, writers Richard Rowe. May 2003 Finland's national carrier, Finnair...

The travel and workload expected of each area manager is gruelling, but that comes with the territory. "Each area manager is now much more active and although we are still learning, we have defined their roles very clearly," says Rahko. "We have also managed to pinpoint through service level agreements exactly what it is we want from ground handlers."

Rahko offers that the strategy has worked particularly well in regions such as Asia - a crucial growth market for Finnair - where the prevailing culture is naturally focussed on service and quality. When Finnair began operations at Hong Kong, for instance, it selected a manager from the contracted ground handler to operate as an in-house station manager.

"Today, the ground handling agent has taken on a bigger role than was traditionally expected," says Rahko.

Finnair will adopt a similar approach when it reopens its Osaka Kansai route in June, although Rahko says no decision has been made whether to use airline staff when the carrier opens its Shanghai route in September.

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