Finnair must cancel nearly a third of flights March 17 because of a further ground handling strike at Helsinki Airport.

The labor dispute, which also caused disruption March 5-6 and March 10, does not directly involve Finnair. It is between the Finnish Aviation Union (IAU) and the service sector employer union, Palta.

Finnair warned that this latest stoppage, which is scheduled for 1500-1900 EET March 17, will “considerably impact” operations.

“This is already the second time we have to cancel over 90 flights, which is nearly one-third of our daily flights on Friday [March 17]. Cancellations apply to a large share of our domestic and European traffic during the strike time,” Finnair CFO Jaakko Schildt said.

Finnair has changed scheduled departure times for some flights, so they can be operated outside the strike hours. Critical ground services, such as catering and baggage handling, will also be affected.

The action among security staff on March 5-6 disrupted operations, but did not cause cancellations. Other ground handling workers joined the protest March 10, causing 100 flights being axed.

Schildt previously estimated the financial impact of the strike at “millions of euros.”

European aviation has been hard hit by strike action over recent weeks, after a French air traffic control walkout and a separate ground handling protest in Berlin.

Victoria Moores