Finnair (Helsinki) today took delivery of its first new Airbus A350-941 OH-LWA (msn 018) as planned, becoming the first European airline to take delivery of the new type. The airline issued this statement:
The first of Finnair’s next-generation Airbus A350 XWB aircraft has been unveiled today at a special delivery ceremony at the Airbus delivery centre in Toulouse, France.
Finnair is the first European airline to fly the Airbus A350 XWB.
“This moment heralds a new and exciting chapter in Finnair’s 92 year history. The A350 is the future of flying and will give our passengers a completely new and enhanced travel experience,” said Finnair CEO, Pekka Vauramo.
“This is also a proud moment for all Finnair employees who have worked relentlessly on the Finnair A350 programme. From route planning to pilots and cabin crew, from technical services to marketing, this is the moment we have worked for. With the A350, we get the fleet that our strategy requires, and we can start building our growth,” Vauramo continued.
“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,” said Fabrice Brégier, Airbus President and CEO. “The A350’s unrivalled fuel efficiency and passenger comfort make it the perfect aircraft to spearhead Finnair’s Asian expansion.”
Above Photos: Finnair and Airbus.
Finnair intends to double its Asian traffic by 2020 from the 2010 baseline, and the A350 fleet investment is the backbone of this strategy. The company has ordered a total of 19 A350’s, making it the biggest investment in Finnair’s history. The first four aircraft are expected to arrive in the fleet in 2015, with another seven being delivered in 2016 and 2017. The complete order will be fulfilled by 2023.
The new A350 aircraft also plays a key role in Finnair’s cargo strategy, providing up to 50% more cargo capacity by 2020.
The A350’s first scheduled commercial flight, from Helsinki to Amsterdam and Oslo will be on October 9, 2015 as part of its crew familiarisation tour. The first Finnair Airbus A350 XWB will enter into long-haul service on November 21, 2015 on Finnair’s Helsinki-Shanghai route.
In other news, Finnair continues to expand its Asian traffic, opening two Asian destinations, Fukuoka in Japan and Guangzhou in China for the summer season 2016.
Finnair will open a direct route to Fukuoka in southern Japan in spring 2016, with three weekly frequencies. The service to Fukuoka makes Finnair the only European airline to operate to four different cities in Japan – Finnair currently offers daily connections to Tokyo Narita, Nagoya and Osaka.
Finnair will also open a direct route to China, and will fly direct from its Helsinki hub to Guangzhou in China with four weekly frequencies between May 6 and October 29, 2016.
Guangzhou is Finnair’s sixth destination in Greater China. Finnair has year-round services to Beijing, Chongqing, Hong Kong and Shanghai, and a summer service to Xi’an.
Both destinations will be served with Finnair’s Airbus A330 aircraft.
Copyright Photo: Eurospot/AirlinersGallery.com.
Finnair aircraft slide show: