Finnair has announced an initial batch of routes that it will fly with its Airbus A350 aircraft.
The airline has opted for the A350-900 model, and will take delivery of the first of 11 aircraft on order in the middle of 2015. It has eight options for additional aircraft.
The first routes to be operated by the A350 will be from Helsinki to Bangkok, Beijing, and Shanghai. They are likely to commence in the second half of 2015.
Additionally, Hong Kong and Singapore will be added in 2016.
For Finnair, the A350 will be its flagship long haul aircraft, and these are the airline’s flagship international routes, as it has a significant presence on the Europe – Asia network.
Finnair CEO Pekka Vauramo said: “Since Finnair’s founding in 1923, we have had a long history of operations using the most advanced aircraft available,” he added “As the first European operator of the A350, we are proud to carry forward this tradition on behalf of our passengers, whose safety and comfort remain our first priority.”
Finnair has received a new Airbus A321 aircraft, registration OH-LZG, which is the first example in the world to be equipped with Sharklets.
The aircraft will eventually replace Finnair’s existing fleet of 757s, making it an all Airbus operator.
Finnair will take delivery of a total of five Sharklet equipped A321s. It currently operates an Airbus fleet of 40 aircraft (25 A320 family aircraft and 15 A330s/A340s).
Ville Iho, Finnair Chief Operating Officer, said “We are extremely proud to receive the world’s first A321 equipped with Sharklet fuel saving wing tip devices. This new aircraft will fit perfectly into our fleet and will contribute to optimizing our operating costs, whilst also reducing our environmental footprint.”
This had slipped my attention until I read about it on George Hamlin’s excellent Observation Deck blog, but it turns out Helsinki Vantaa Airport in Finland has opened a new viewing area for spotters to watch aircraft movements.
The ‘Scenic Terrace’ actually replaces the older terrace which had closed down. It reopened in April 2013 and sits atop a building next to Terminal 2, giving elevated views over the aircraft parking ramps and of the two main runways.
The terrace is open from 7am to 10pm daily, but make sure you wrap up warm in the winter months! It is free to enter, and there are vending machines for snacks.
Finnair and Flybe are about to sign a deal that will see the UK low-cost regional carrier take on a third of the Finnish carrier’s European flying from October 2012.
The deal will also see Flybe flying all 12 of Finnair‘s Embraer 190 aircraft on their behalf on these European routes.
Flybe and Finnair have already worked together in the past, forming domestic carrier Flybe Nordic out of the remains of FinnComm airlines. This deal will further bolster their relationship, helping Finnair to reduce its costs and debts, and Flybe to increase its European coverage – an ambition it has never been shy about discussing.
Finnair will also be retiring a number of Embraer 170 and Airbus A320 aircraft in a further bid to reduce costs, and will use this new partnership as an opportunity to retrain European pilots on their long-haul Airbus A330/A340 fleets for the blossoming Asian network.
Whether we’ll see aircraft repainted into Flybe colours for the partnership is not known. Details of which routes are to be flown are also unknown at this time.
Flybe Nordic has now started operations from its Helsinki base and has its sights set on dominating the regional market in the Finnish and Baltic market.
It is initially starting 24 routes, two of which will be from the smaller base at Tallinn in Estonia. These routes cover the domestic network in Finland, and routes to Sweden, Norway and Poland (as well as Estonia). More routes are due to be added in December.
The airline has taken over Finncomm Airlines. I believe their existing fleet of ATR aircraft will still be used initially, but ultimately Flybe’s DHC-8-400 aircraft will be taking over.
It will be interesting to see how aggressively they expand and pursue other routes in Scandinavia and Eastern Europe, and whether this will have a knock-on effect on other airlines in the area. It will also be interesting to see what effect it has on Helsinki and Tallinn airports in terms of movements and passenger numbers, and whether it has a big impact on Finnair, who have involvement with the airline.
Helsinki’s historic Malmi Airport is under threat. The local authorities want to close the airport to build a new residential area.
The airport is wonderfully preserved and has its original pre-war terminal in place. It is currently Finland’s second-busiest airport, although movements are general aviation.
People are being urged to sign an online petition to save the airport. You can read more about it and sign the petition on this page http://www.pelastamalmi.org/en/index.html