Asian stopovers to Europe regaining popularity: Finnair

Finnair has ordered 19 Airbus A350-900s. (Finnair)

Finnair’s Australian boss Geoff Stone says stopping over in Asia on the way to Europe is coming back into favour amid geopolitical tensions in the Middle East.

Although Finnair does not serve this market with its own aircraft, the airline has codeshare arrangements with British Airways, Cathay Pacific and Qantas, as well as interline agreements with Japan Airlines, to take passengers from Australia to Asia, where they transfer onto Finnair’s services to Helsinki and beyond.

And Stone says connections through Asian points such as Singapore and Hong Kong have been on the rise in recent times, helping boost Finnair’s sales in Australia.

Finnair country sales manager for Australia, New Zealand and New Caledonia. (Finnair)

Finnair country sales manager for Australia, New Zealand and New Caledonia. (Finnair)

“It comes in waves in terms of going via the Middle East or going via Asia. We are finding that with the unrest that goes on in the Middle East that Asia’s coming back into its own in terms of the preferred gateway to Europe,” Stone tells Australian Aviation in the June issue of the magazine.

“I have often heard this comment that ‘I’ve been to Dubai many times now and I am a little bit bored by it or the shopping is no cheaper than Australia and I have more options within Asia’.

“We are getting a lot of repeat customers and people have no problem with going to Europe once a year these days.”

While the total market for Australians travelling to Europe was up about four per cent in the first three months of 2016, Finnair reported a 20 per cent increase in bookings from this part of the world, compared with the prior corresponding period.

Further, the airline was the only offline carrier included in the federal government’s air travel services panel, meaning it can capture a slice of the roughly $420 million in travel that politicians and public servants undertake each year.

Finnair has also been named Best Offline International Carrier at the Australian Federation of Travel Agents’ National Travel Industry Awards for the past three years.

“I think Finnair Australia is somewhat bucking the trend in terms of what sort of increases we are experiencing compared to the market as a whole,” Stone says.

“In this market, of recent times we have somewhat taken over the mantle as the largest offline carrier.”

Stone describes the inclusion on the government’s 18-airline list as a “huge vote of confidence” in the airline.

Read more about Finnair in the June edition of Australian Aviation, on sale now.

 

Australian Aviation

Finnair brings Airbus A350 to Hong Kong, Singapore

Finnair brings Airbus A350 to Hong Kong, Singapore

Finnair will begin daily Airbus A350 flights between Hong Kong and Helsinki this week, with Singapore slated to see the next-gen jetliner later this year.

Asia is a growing market for Finnair, and both of those business hubs double as gateways for Australians booked on the Oneworld airline and Qantas partner.

“Australia is by far Finnair’s largest ‘offline’ market,” says Geoff Stone, Finnair country manager for Australia and New Zealand. “In fact it generates more traffic and revenue than some countries to which Finnair flies directly.”

This underscores a continued preference by Australian business travellers to transit via Singapore or Hong Kong, with some travellers booking a route which takes in both cities.

“We have some customers who like to go up via Singapore and come back via Hong Kong, or vice versa” Stone recounts. “There are many companies that have offices in both cities, so this allows customers to visit those in each direction.”

Hong Kong “is becoming increasingly popular” as Finnair’s Aussie launching pad, Stone adds, driven by the higher number of flights between Australia and Hong Kong compared to Singapore.

“We have both Qantas and Cathay Pacific connecting through Hong Kong,” Stone says, with Cathay Pacific offering multiple daily flights from most major Australian cities, “whereas to Singapore we only have Qantas, so there is more availability.”

Finnair will expand its Hong Kong footprint to double daily flights across northern summer, with the A350 joined by an Airbus A330, while Singapore will switch from an Airbus A340 to the modern A350 “in the third quarter.”

“The two oldest A340s have also exited out fleet, so we have fully flat business class seating in all of our aircraft now,” Stone says.

 

Australian Business Traveller

Finnair becomes first European A350 XWB operator

Finnair has taken delivery in Toulouse of the first of 19 A350 XWBs on order, thus becoming the first European operator and the third worldwide of the all-new airliner. The aircraft is configured in a premium three-class layout, with 297 seats, comprising 46 Business Class, 43 Economy Comfort and 208 Economy.

Finnair will commence commercial services with the A350 XWB later this week, with a European tour starting at Amsterdam and Oslo on October 9th. Furthermore, on the 21st of November 2015, non-stop long-haul A350 XWB flights will start from Helsinki to Shanghai. The aircraft will join the airline’s all-Airbus fleet of 45 aircraft in operation, today comprising 30 A320 Family aircraft and 15 A330/A340s.

“Finnair has enjoyed a long and prosperous working relationship with Airbus and the A350 takes our cooperation to another level. This aircraft is the future of flying and will give our passengers a completely new and enhanced travel experience,” says Finnair CEO, Pekka Vauramo.

“At Airbus, we’re proud and delighted to see Finnair, one of the world’s longest-standing and most respected airlines, become the first European carrier to fly the A350 XWB,”  said Fabrice Brégier, Airbus President and CEO. “The A350 XWB’s unrivalled fuel efficiency and passenger comfort make it the perfect aircraft to spearhead Finnair’s Asian expansion.‎”

Eric Schulz, President – Civil Large Engines, Rolls-Royce, said: “We are very proud to be with Finnair and Airbus today to mark another chapter in the A350 XWB story. The Trent XWB exemplifies how we take the best in technology to deliver new standards of excellence. Today marks the start of a new era in our relationship with Finnair and we look forward to working with them for many years to come.”

The world’s latest generation airliner, the A350 XWB, is the newest member of Airbus’ modern, comfortable & efficient wide-body product family. Offering customers a game-changing reduction in fuel-burn, the long-range A350 XWB features the most modern aerodynamic design, carbon fibre fuselage and wings, plus new fuel-efficient Rolls-Royce Trent XWB engines. Together, these cutting-edge technologies translate into unrivalled levels of operational efficiency, with a 25 per cent reduction in fuel burn and emissions, and significantly lower maintenance costs. For passengers, it brings new levels of in-flight comfort, with an extra-wide cabin offering more personal space in all classes, including 18 inch wide seats as standard in economy class.

To date, Airbus has recorded a total of 783 firm orders for the A350 XWB from 41 customers worldwide, already making it one of the most successful widebody aircraft ever.

Airbus Website

Finnair’s first Airbus A350 to fly October 7

Finnair's first Airbus A350 to fly October 7

  • Finnair Airbus A350 ‘familiarisation flights’ in Europe from October
  • First long-range Finnair A350 international route to Shanghai in November 21
  • Next Finnair A350s to New York, Beijing, Bangkok, Hong Kong and Singapore

Finnair will take delivery of its first Airbus A350 on October 7, with flights on selected European routes – beginning with Amsterdam and Oslo from October 9 – before switching the advanced jet onto its Shanghai schedule from November 21, one month later than previously planned.

New York will follow later in the year, making Finnair the first airline in the world to fly the A350 to the USA.

Beijing, Bangkok, Hong Kong and Singapore are also on Finnair’s A350 route map, although launch dates have been pushed back from Finnair’s previously-published roster “due to changes in the expected delivery schedules of the company’s first A350 aircraft, the needs of the crew familiarisation program, and other operational factors” the airline said in a statement released today.

“The company wants to offer the best possible customer experience for its customers, and has therefore adopted a slightly more conservative launch schedule than previously indicated.”

London, Frankfurt, Hamburg,  Stockholm, Copenhagen, Paris, Amsterdam, Barcelona and Vienna should all see the A350 slotting into onto Finnair’s regular schedules from mid-October to late November as ‘crew familiarisation flights’.

The full list of planned A350 familiarisation flights to some 15 European cities is available at a350.finnair.com, although the airline notes that “all such flights are subject to changes.”

The roadshow is intended to let Finnair trumpet its status as the first European airline to take delivery of the Airbus A350, after Qatar Airways and Vietnam Airlines.

Finnair’s A350 delivery schedule sees four aircraft arriving in the second half of 2015 and seven more between 2016 and 2017, by which time the airline will have retired its current fuel-thirsty A340 jets. A further eight A350s will follow from 2018 through 2023.

Finnair’s A350 fleet will sport 46 business class seats using the popular Zodiac Cirrus design best known as the business class seat of Cathay Pacific, as well as American Airlines and Air France

This will give each traveller direct aisle access and a fully flat bed, along with a large meal table and plenty of space for keeping their inflight stuff close at hand.

The third-gen Cirrus III seat also has a 16 inch touchscreen display plus AC and USB power sockets.

Finnair’s A350s will also be fitted with inflight Internet in the first step towards a fleet-wide upgrade which will see all of the Finnish airline’s jets set for sky-high surfing by 2018.

 

Australian Aviation

Finnair to codeshare on new Qantas Perth-Singapore flights

Qantas’s planned resumption of flights between Perth and Singapore from June has been given a boost with Finnair to codeshare on the five times a week service.

Finnair said in a statement on May 13 the move to add its AY airline code on Qantas’s Boeing 737-800 services would “create additional scheduling and route options” for its customers.

The Helsinki-based carrier already offers its customers offline access to Perth via a codeshare agreement with Cathay Pacific out of Hong Kong.

Finnair has existing agreements with Qantas and Cathay Pacific on flights out of Singapore, Bangkok and Hong Kong to Australian ports Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Cairns.

Qantas’s Perth-Singapore flight will start on June 26.

The Flying Kangaroo currently places its QF airline code on Finnair’s Singapore-Helsinki service.

 

Australian Aviation

Finnair orders eight additional A350 XWBs

Finnair, a launch customer for the A350 XWB, has signed an agreement, firming up the order for eight additional  A350-900s. Finnair was the first airline to select the A350 XWB and will be the first European airline in autumn 2015 to receive the all new Airbus Widebody. Finnair’s A350 XWBs will seat 297 passengers in a two class configuration. The aircraft will be deployed on Finnair’s long-haul routes to Asia and America.

“Our strategy centers on growth, taking advantage of the unique geographical location of our Helsinki Hub, which offers the fastest connections between Europe and Asia. The A350XWB aircraft will be essential in delivering on our strategy, as they enable growth in both passenger and cargo traffic, offer our customers top class travel experience and considerably enhance our cost competitiveness. Firming up the order for additional eight Airbus A350 XWB aircraft demonstrates our commitment to growth and to operating a world class Airbus fleet”, says Pekka Vauramo, Finnair CEO.” Together with Airbus and our other partners we are preparing to make the A350 entry into service a success.”

‘’We share a long-standing relationship with Finnair and are delighted by their continuing endorsement of the A350 XWB, which will integrate seamlessly into Finnair’s all Airbus fleet,” said John Leahy, Airbus Chief Operating Officer – Customers. “Finnair will benefit from the A350 XWB’s latest technologies and unbeatable efficiency, enhanced by the unique fleet commonality only Airbus offers.”

Finnair currently operates an all Airbus fleet of 45 aircraft (30 A320 Family aircraft and 15 A330s/A340s). Finnair was launch customer of the A350, and in 2007 placed an order for 11 A350-900s, including an option for further eight. This agreement brings the total committed order to 19 A350-900s. The A350 XWB was designed above all for passengers’ comfort and well-being and will provide Finnair’s passengers with an excellent flight experience with the most advanced cabin with wider seats in both business and economy class.

The A350 XWB is the latest addition to the market-leading Airbus Widebody product line. Offering its customers a 25% reduction in fuel-burn, the all-new mid-size long-range A350 XWB Family aircraft can seat up to 369 passengers in a typical two-class layout. The A350 has carbon fibre fuselage and wings and sets new standards in terms of passenger experience, operational efficiency and cost-effectiveness. At the end of November 2014, the A350 XWB had won 775 orders from 40 customers worldwide.

Source : Airbus website

Finnair reveals new ‘Marimekko’ livery for Airbus A330

Finnair reveals new 'Marimekko' livery for Airbus A330

Finnair’s new ‘special edition’ Airbus A330 livery carries the classic poppy or Unikko print of Marimekko in a nod to the airline’s continued collaboration with the Finnish fashion and design house.

The A330 will begin flying from Helsinki to cities in Asia from the end of 2014, joining a sister aircraft painted with a different colour Unikko in 2012.

The partnership between Marimekko and Finnair began in 2012 with Marimekko textiles and tableware, using blue, green and grey colours to “tell the story of Finnish nature and recall the perspective of looking out from an aircraft window, flying high above the landscape.”

“Our two aircraft wearing the beloved Unikko livery are flying ambassadors of Finnish know-how, positivity and creativity” says Finnair CEO Pekka Vauramo.

 

Source : Australian Business Traveller