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DUBLIN, June 1 (Reuters) - Finnair is considering adding more narrowbody A321 jets to its fleet as it attracts more passengers from Asia, its chief executive said, adding the airline was only seeing a small impact on travel demand from recent attacks.
“We are currently looking for some additional ones (A321s),” Pekka Vauramo, CEO of Finland’s state-controlled carrier, said in an interview on the sidelines of the annual International Air Transport Association meeting on Wednesday.
Finnair, which uses its Helsinki hub to bring Asian travellers to European destinations, said last month it would hit a target to double Asian traffic two years ahead of schedule.
The airline’s hunt for new planes to boost its short-haul fleet comes as other carriers, such as Lufthansa, have said they have seen reduced demand among Asian travellers after attacks on Paris in November and Brussels in March.
On Tuesday, the United States warned of possible summer terrorist attacks in Europe, knocking shares in European travel and tourism-related companies.
Vauramo said that while there was concern among travellers, they had tended not to cancel but instead shift destinations to Spain and Nordic countries.
“The impact has still been fairly small on us,” he said.
Finnair already has six A321 jets on order with deliveries starting next year and Vauramo said there was good availability from lessors for A321s, although there was healthy competition on price.
Vauramo said Finnair would take a decision on the additional A321s “step by step” because the airline had flexibility on the widebody side. Recently, it decided to keep flying two A330 widebody jets which it had been planning to retire next year.
Any decision on taking additional A321s would be dependent on the fuel price and market conditions, he added. (Reporting by Victoria Bryan and Sarah Young; Editing by Conor Humphries and Mark Potter)
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